Section 13B: Dealer payments into Milk Producers Security Fund
Section 13B. (a) The dealer of milk in the commonwealth who first received milk from Massachusetts producers, shall pay on or before the due date of payment to the producers, the amount of 5 cents per 100 weight on the volume of all the milk purchased from the producers and the payments shall be deposited with the state treasurer in the Milk Producers Security Fund established by section 48 of chapter 10. Payment as provided in this section shall be made for all milk shipped to a dealer by a producer who is not a member of a cooperative association which guarantees payment where there is a default in the payment for milk. Payment shall be deducted by the dealer from monies owed by the dealer to the producers in the amount of 5 cents per 100 weight.
(b) The commissioner may suspend the collection of payments made under subsection (a) from time to time as the commissioner determines to be in the best interests of the producers affected by this section and section 13A; provided, that the balance of the fund shall not be less than $1,000,000; and provided further, that the commissioner shall consider the quantity of milk covered by the fund and the current price levels for milk when making the determination. The commissioner shall provide 30 days written notice of any suspension or reinstatement of payments into the fund to the house and senate committees on ways and means and to all dealers and producers affected.
(c) Notwithstanding section 13A, a milk producer who pays into the fund under subsection (a) may, after the milk producer's application is approved by the commissioner, be reimbursed up to an amount equal to the monies paid by the applicant into the fund minus any funds previously distributed to said applicant plus a pro rata share of the interest earned by the fund. The commissioner shall establish criteria for the approval of the applications, the criteria shall include, but shall not be limited to: whether the milk producer continues to produce milk; whether the milk producer has joined a cooperative association; and other criteria the commissioner deems relevant. The commissioner shall not authorize a reimbursement if payment of that reimbursement would result in the balance of the fund falling below $1,000,000. Upon approval of an application, the commissioner shall certify the amount due to the milk producer and transmit the certified amount for payment to the state treasurer under section 48 of chapter 10.