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August 29, 2012

Did You Know?: Indiana Creamery License Division

Indiana Creamery License Division

Christy Coon, Indiana Creamery License Division manager, feeds cows at the Purdue Dairy, located off West 600 North in Tippecanoe County. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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For at least the past 80 years, Purdue has housed the state regulatory agency that ensures Indiana farmers are paid fairly for the quality of milk they produce.

Located in the Poultry Science Building on Russell Street, the Indiana Creamery License Division grants annual licenses to milk haulers, processing plants and testers, says Christy Coon, creamery license division manager. Per state law, creamery licenses are required for such proprietors to operate.

The licensure system ensures that haulers, plants and testers properly record the butterfat and protein contents of individual milk loads. Such samplings are used to determine a milk batch's quality, which dictates how much the farmer who produced it should be paid.

As the division's primary employee, Coon travels around the state to audit haulers, plants and testers three to four times each year to ensure they are testing milk samples accurately. She also processes the paperwork and data submitted when proprietors apply for new licenses or renewals.

"My main job is to guarantee accuracy and fairness in the weighing and sampling of milk. It's very important that we protect the rights of Indiana farmers by confirming that testing is done in a correct, consistent manner," Coon says.

A seven-member creamery examining board oversees the division; the board is composed of officials from various dairy production companies.

This year, the division granted 350 licenses to haulers, 84 to testers and 22 to processing plants. Haulers' licenses cost $10 annually. Testers' licenses cost $15, and plants' licenses cost up to $1,000, depending on the operation's size.

Milk haulers, processing plants and testers found in violation of their licensing terms -- potential violations include failing to test each batch of milk or sampling milk improperly -- are subject to punishment at the examining board's discretion. Noncompliant proprietors may be placed on probation; serious or repeat offenses may result in the revocation of a creamery license.

The division funds its activities through licensing fees and through the collection of a fee farmers pay each May. That fee costs 2.5 cents for each 100 pounds of milk farmers produce that month.

Because the state's creamery license legislation has been in place since at least the 1930s, Coon says she doesn't anticipate her job duties changing anytime soon.

"There will always be milk producers in Indiana," she says. "And as long as there are milk producers, haulers, processing plants and testers, there will be a need for creamery licenses."

 

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu