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Abstract

This report provides a primer on the complex pricing system that has evolved in the United States to deal with milk production, its assembly (collection), and its distribution to alternative users. All the various government and private institutions making up the system are expected to work together to ensure that the public gets the milk it wants, while dairy farmers get the economic returns needed to provide the milk. The major institutions are the Federal milk price support program and milk marketing orders, the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, State regulations, dairy cooperatives, and milk and dairy product futures and options markets. Our goal is to provide a primer on milk pricing that can serve as a steppingstone to other, more detailed works for those so inclined.

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