History and Background
A Maine Milk Control Law was enacted in 1935 by the 87th Legislature to eliminate a number of serious problems confronting the dairy industry and the consuming public. Glaring conditions necessitating this corrective action included price wars, farmers failing to receive payment for milk deliveries, dealer bankruptcies, consumers receiving low quality milk, etc.
Under the law a Maine Milk Commission was created to arbitrate differences, establish minimum prices in designated areas after proper hearings and exercise general supervision over the milk industry. Its basic function was, and still is, to see that there will be a plentiful supply of pure, wholesome milk available at all times, in all places, at reasonable prices.
At present the Maine Milk Commission is comprised of five members, four of whom are appointed by the Governor and shall serve a term of 4 years. Within its membership shall be the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, ex-officio and the remaining four members shall have no official business or professional connection or relation with any segment of the dairy industry.
The Maine Milk Commission is financed by a $0.05 per hundredweight fee on milk paid by licensed dealers. The Commission receives no general fund tax monies.
Among the specified powers granted by the Legislature, the Commission has the authority to set minimum prices paid to producers as well as minimum retail and wholesale milk prices. The Milk Commission is authorized to audit dealers' books and to determine the utilization of all milk purchased.