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(1) Each pool producer must be paid twice each month by the appropriate pool handler(s) for the pool milk received or marketed from such pool producer during the month as follows:

(a) A partial or advance payment approximately equal to the value of the pool milk marketed during the first two weeks of the month, less one-half of the approximate monthly deductions, must be paid to the pool producer, or the pool producer's authorized agent, not later than 30 days after the first day of each month. Such payment need not be accompanied by an itemized statement.

(b) Payments must be made to each pool producer or the pool producer's authorized agent, not later than 15 days after the end of the month that the pool producer's milk was received. This payment must be based on the appropriate quota price and excess price as adjusted for the weighted average butterfat content, and subject to deductions for partial payments under (1)(a) and deductions authorized under (1)(c). The payment must be accompanied by a statement to each pool producer setting forth the information required in (1)(d).

(c) Deductions of any kind (other than assessments that are required under 81-23-105 and 81-23-202, MCA, license fees, mandatory assessments, hauling fees, advance payments made pursuant to this section, adjustments to implement milk price forward contracts, and audit adjustments) from payments due a pool producer may be made only upon written authorization from a pool producer, or, in the case where a pool producer is a member of a cooperative, upon formal resolution of the cooperative directors at a regular business meeting. A copy of the authorization must be retained by the pool handler as part of its permanent records.

(d) Payments provided for in this section must be accompanied by a statement to each pool producer showing each of the following items for the prior month:

(i) name and address of the pool handler issuing the statement;

(ii) date of statement;

(iii) period for which the statement is rendered;

(iv) name of the pool producer for whom the statement is intended;

(v) the date, weight, and butterfat test result for each receipt of milk during the month;

(vi) the total pounds of milk and weighted average butterfat test of milk received from the pool producer for the month for which the statement is rendered;

(vii) weight of milk, butterfat, and skim received that is within the pool producer's quota;

(viii) weight of milk, butterfat, and skim received that is in excess of the pool producer's quota;

(ix) quota butterfat price (to seven decimal places) and quota skim price (to seven decimal places);

(x) excess butterfat price (to seven decimal places) and excess skim price (to seven decimal places);

(xi) minimum payment required by the bureau for quota and excess milk received;

(xii) milk price forward contract adjustment, if applicable;

(xiii) amounts paid as premiums or bonuses;

(xiv) itemization of deductions for advance payments, hauling, assessments, licenses, and authorized deductions;

(xv) total deductions;

(xvi) audit adjustments; and

(xvii) net amount due and paid.

(e) On or before the 15th day of each month, each pool handler must submit to the bureau a copy of the statements described in (1)(d) that were provided to each pool producer for the prior month's receipts.

(2) The bureau will periodically audit the books and records of pool handlers to verify the utilization of all milk reported pursuant to ARM 32.24.512. The audits may examine whether there has been proper accounting for and payment of the amount owed to individual pool producers from whom the pool handler received milk. Audits may also examine whether correct payment has occurred for amounts owed between each pool handler and the pool settlement fund and amounts owed between pool handlers for sales of milk between pool handlers.

(a) Upon completion of each audit, the bureau will furnish each pool handler with an audit summary, commentary regarding audit findings, and prescribed adjustments, if any, for each month audited.

(b) Within ten business days of the date the bureau sent the audit summary to the pool handler, the pool handler must communicate in writing to the bureau any disagreement with the audit findings or prescribed adjustments.

(c) Audit adjustments will be incorporated into the following month's pooling process if no disagreements are communicated during the review period or if all disagreements or inquiries are resolved.

(d) If the audit determines that pool producers were overpaid, pool handlers may elect to spread the prescribed audit adjustments over the following three months through deductions to the final payments for those months.

(e) If a pool handler communicates in writing to the bureau as provided in (2)(b), the review period will be extended while the bureau considers the pool handler's objections. Within ten days after the bureau sends notice to the pool handler of its decision, the pool handler may file written application for appearance before the board to review the decision of the bureau. Audit adjustments will be stayed until the review by the board is completed. After review, the board will issue an order resolving the disagreement.


History: 81-23-104, 81-23-302, 81-23-303, MCA; IMP, 81-23-302, 81-23-303, MCA; NEW, 1990 MAR p. 931, Eff. 6/1/90; AMD, 1995 MAR p. 470, Eff. 3/31/95; TRANS, from Commerce, 1996 MAR p. 456; AMD, 2017 MAR p. 1151, Eff. 8/1/17; AMD, 2021 MAR p. 763, Eff. 7/1/21.

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