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Meeting addresses component testing

Published on July 2, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on July 29, 2011 9:38PM

Processors want level playing field, sampling accuracy


Capital Press

The Idaho Department of Agriculture will hold its third meeting on July 6 to develop a rule that addresses accurate testing of milk components, lab oversight and auditing of processors' milk purchases.

Dairymen are paid on those components, such as butterfat and protein, which determine cheese yield and quality.

Development of a new rule was approved by the Idaho Legislature through HB152.

Tolerance levels and sampling accuracy are the two critical issues in the matter, said Bob Naerebout, executive director of Idaho Dairymen's Association.

"The sampling question is the biggest concern we're trying to resolve," he said. "There's a lot of money at stake."

There has to be calibration equilibrium across different testing equipment in different labs. If separate lab equipment can be calibrated to the market administrator's testing equipment, it would be fair for everyone, he said.

Those in the rulemaking process also have to agree on tolerances for fat and protein (plus or minus from zero), said Marv Patten, Dairy Bureau chief.

"Ultimately, we want to get as close as we can to be fair to the producer and the processor," he said.

Processors want three things out of the process, said Russ DeKruyf, procurement manager for Glanbia Foods.

They want all the labs to be on a level playing field and treated exactly the same with regard to ISDA oversight. They want labs to be measured against an ISDA published calibration standard that is commercially available to all labs. And they want tolerances to be within the capability of modern testing equipment specifications, he said.

The auditing side of the equation is pretty straightforward, Naerebout said. The state would have the authority to go in and audit processors' books.

The bottom line is that setting up oversight will help ensure fair and objective payment for both producers and processors, Patten said.

"We just want to be able to say there's oversight and accountability," Naerebout said.

Testing oversight and auditing of processors to make sure they were paying properly regarding components was lost in 2003 when Idaho lost its federal marketing order. Under the order, that oversight was performed by USDA.

For information, contact Marv Patten at marv.patten@agri.idaho.gov or 208-332-8550.

-- revised

Livestock rulemaking meetings

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture will hold rulemaking meetings on the following issues:

July 6, 10 a.m. - Component testing in milk

July 13, 9 a.m. - CAFO site advisory team

July 13, 1 p.m. - Animal waste management for poultry operation

July 14, 9 a.m. -- Nutrient management for poultry operations

All meetings will be held at the Department, 2270 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise. For information, contact John Bilderback at (208) 332-8541 or john.bilderback@agri.idaho.gov.


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