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New Hampshire residents can file for payment in dairy antitrust settlement

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Monitor staff
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Residents of New Hampshire, 14 other states and the District of Columbia can now file a claim for part of a $52 million dairy anti-trust settlement.

The settlement was reached earlier this month in a federal class-action lawsuit alleging that National Milk Producers Federation, through its voluntary farmer-funded national program, Cooperatives Working Together, artificially limited raw milk production by paying farmers to send more than 500,000 cows to be slaughtered prematurely.

The “herd retirement program” stipulated that farmers send a herd for slaughter and not produce dairy for a year in exchange for payment. This was one attempt to combat dairy farmers’ struggle with fluctuating milk prices.

The suit alleges that as a result of CWT’s program running between 2003 and 2010, there was a cumulative increase in milk price revenue of $9.55 billion. This, the suit claims, unfairly caused indirect consumers – grocery store customers – to pay for dairy products at unsustainable prices.

Animal welfare organization Compassion Over Killing spearheaded the original research into CWT, and Hagens Berman law firm filed the class action lawsuit in 2014.

As a result of the settlement, CWT – which includes Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’ Lakes, Dairylea Cooperative and Agrimark – is providing $52 million. The money will be divided among the 18 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, plus anyone in New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and 14 other states who files a claim.

Anyone who has purchased dairy products not intended for resale (such as in a grocery store) in those states since 2003 is eligible to file a claim up until Jan. 31, 2017. Claims can be filled out online at boughtmilk.com.