During the period between 1945 and 1991 the dairy sector was regulated by the State. The price standardization imposed by the government, conducted many times aiming to facilitate adjustments in economy, had serious consequences right after the end of said intervention. The present study tried to understand the process which outlined the conformation of the current institutional structure in this complex, the causes of its maintenance, and the immediate trends which may be envisaged in short and medium terms. There is an absence of public policies devised to account for the incoherences detected in the dairy complex which originate to a large extent in the deliberate loss of the power of regulation by the State and in the liberal orientation taken in the end of the 80s. With the end of the State regulation new mechanisms of support and financing emerged, but those do not go directly under the State actors appreciation. However, the dynamics of the productive restructuring is not yet over. A new phase may be replacing the former, and the actors in the dairy agri-food complex once again should look for solutions for the situations which generate uncertainty and changes, originated in the search for higher competitiveness and professionalization since those proved vital for the permanence of such actors in the formal productive activity.