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first_imgNortheast Dairy Farmers reached a settlement agreement with Dean Foods Company in their class action antitrust lawsuit against Dean, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Dairy Marketing Services (DMS). The agreement will include $30 million in monetary damages and injunctive relief that calls for Dean to purchase a portion of its raw milk from multiple Northeast sources.”This is a major win for dairy farmers in the Northeast who have been squeezed by monopolization and price-fixing,” said Benjamin Brown, an attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which represents the plaintiff dairy farmers. “We are pleased that Dean Foods is working with plaintiffs to put this practice behind them.”The lawsuit — Alice H. Allen, et al. vs. Dairy Farmers of America — is far from resolved, however, added Kit A. Pierson of Cohen Milstein.”The case is continuing against the remaining defendants, Dairy Farmers of America and its marketing affiliate Dairy Marketing Services,” explained Pierson. “Still at issue are charges that the DFA — the nation’s largest cooperative — monopolized a level of distribution of fluid milk in the Northeast and forced dairy farmers to join DFA or its marketing affiliate DMS to survive.”DFA and DMS have been named in the suit for engaging in monopolization, price-fixing, and other anticompetitive conduct.”The fact that Dean has agreed to purchase raw milk from multiple sources is a big step in the right direction,” said Robert Abrams of Howrey, LLP, which also represents the plaintiff dairy farmers. “What dairy farmers want is a choice between different bottlers. They have been living in a world that is monopolized and they pay the prices that are offered to them or they don’t sell milk. What we want is choice and competition.”The next step is for the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont — where the lawsuit was filed in August 2009 — to grant preliminary approval of the settlement agreement. Notice will then go out to the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Northeast dairy farmers who could be eligible to file a claim for monetary damages.Abrams added, “We are pleased that a settlement with Dean has been reached and look forward to a timely court approval.”For more information, visit www.cohenmilstein.com(link is external).SOURCE Northeast Dairy Farmers WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire/last_img read more

first_imgPORTLAND — Hemp is about to get the nod from the federal government that marijuana, its cannabis plant cousin, craves.A provision of the farm bill that received final approval in Congress on Wednesday removes hemp from the list of federally controlled substances and treats the low-THC version of the cannabis plant like any other agricultural crop. THC is the cannabis compound that gives pot its high.President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law next week.The change sets the stage for greater expansion in an industry already seeing explosive growth because of growing demand for cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp that many see as a way to better health.Federal legalization could triple the overall hemp market to $2.5 billion by 2022, with $1.3 billion of those sales from hemp-derived CBD products, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research firm.“It’s a huge deal because it’s a domino effect. Banks can get involved now and if banks get involved, then credit card processors get involved — and if that happens, then big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart get into it,” said Sean Murphy, a New Frontier data analyst who’s tracked the industry since its infancy in 2015. “All these big players are going to come in.”Hemp, like marijuana, already is legal in some states. Approval at the national level brings a host of benefits that the pot industry has yet to see.last_img read more