Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

I have a question for your column: In visiting a local drugstore in Fargo recently, I saw signs saying they could not honor the sales price for milk posted in their corporation’s national ad because North Dakota does not allow milk to be sold below a certain price.

I have also noticed coupons for some dairy items cannot be redeemed in North Dakota. What is the rationale behind these restrictions and how did they come into place?

Thanks,

Heather Mitzel

Fargo

Thanks for writing! As far as milk not being sold below a certain price, here is some background on what North Dakota state law (4-18.1-07) says:

“The (North Dakota Milk Marketing) board shall establish for each marketing area the uniform minimum prices to be paid by processors to dairy farmers for raw milk …

“In establishing or changing minimum prices to be paid by processors to dairy farmers for raw milk in each marketing area, the board shall take into consideration the following factors applicable to such area: the available supply of raw milk, the adequacy of the reserve supply of raw milk available to processors, the balance between production and consumption, the cost of dairy feed, farm wage rates and such other factors as will effectuate the purposes and policies of this chapter.

“All such minimum prices must be those which will be beneficial to the public interest, protect the dairy farmers, and ensure an adequate supply of pure and wholesome milk to the inhabitants of the state.

“For each marketing area, the board shall establish minimum prices for each of the following classifications of sales:

a. Sales of milk products by processors or distributors to retailers. Such minimum price for each item is applicable regardless of the location at which the retailer accepts delivery.

b. Sales of milk products by any person to consumers.

“For any marketing area, the board may establish the minimum prices for each of the following classifications of sales:

a. Sales of milk products by processors to distributors.

b. Sales of frozen dairy products by a processor, distributor or retailer to any person.

c. Sales of milk products by a processor to another processor or by a distributor to another distributor.

d. Sales of milk products or frozen dairy products not otherwise provided for in subsections 2 and 3.

The state Ag Department referred me to John Weisgerber of the North Dakota Milk Marketing Board to further answer your question. Here’s what he said:

“The only coupons we’ve seen where there is some kind of a note on there (prohibiting use) are yogurt coupons.

“In the past, we heard that some of the yogurt companies will have North Dakota, Nevada and Louisiana (as states where coupons) are not accepted.

“Generally, those firms hire a law firm to research the different states.

“We’ve told them they (coupons) could be used. Somehow, when the message goes from the law firm that did the research to the company that’s printing the coupon, the information doesn’t get there right.”

“We’re working with those law firms that do the research to get the answer to the company or the marketing end of the company to get the correct information to them.”

In the meantime, Weisgerber said anyone with questions about dairy coupon use can call the North Dakota Milk Marketing Board at (701) 328-9588.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

One thought on “Today’s Ask Your Government

  1. In some countries, especially those with small numbers of animals being milked, as well as harvesting the milk from an animal, the dairy may also process the milk into butter, cheese and yogurt, for example. This is a traditional method of producing specialist milk products, especially in Europe.*:

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