The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN
After careful consideration of the pleadings, testimony, memoranda and arguments of counsel, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
1. Plaintiffs, Lester C. Jones and William T. Fulton, are producers of milk. Lester C. Jones sells his milk to a handler regulated under Federal Order No. 4 (7 C.F.R. 1004). William T. Fulton sells his milk to a handler regulated under Federal Order No. 2 (7 C.F.R. 1002).
2. Plaintiffs, Inter-State Milk Producers' Cooperative, Lehigh Valley Cooperative Farmers, Maryland Cooperative Milk Producers, Inc., Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers and Capitol Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc., are associations of producers marketing the milk of their members in Federal Orders 2 or 4 or in both Orders 2 and 4. Each cooperative is a qualified cooperative organization with full authority to act pursuant to law.
3. Defendant is the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States.
4. Jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1337.
6. Pursuant to authority under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Secretary of Agriculture has promulgated Federal Order 2 to regulate the marketing of milk in North Jersey and the New York Metropolitan Area and other areas not relevant hereto; and Federal Order 4 to regulate the marketing of milk in South Jersey and the Philadelphia Metropolitan area and other areas not relevant hereto.
7. Prior to the amendment of Federal Order 2, the legality of which is the issue in this action, the basic Class I price in Federal Order 2 was the basic formula price (7 C.F.R. 1002.50), plus an add-on of $2.40 (7 C.F.R. 1002.50a).
8. The basic Class I price in Federal Order 4 is the basic formula price (7 C.F.R. 1004.51) plus an add-on of $2.78 (7 C.F.R. 1004.50).
9. Under each Order the aggregate amount of milk used monthly in each of the classes by all handlers under the Order is determined, and then multiplied by the applicable class prices. The total is then divided by the total number of pounds of milk in both classes. The resulting number (subject to certain adjustments) is the uniform price.
10. Each producer (or if a member of a qualified cooperative, the cooperative) is entitled to receive this uniform price (subject to certain adjustments) for the pounds of milk delivered by him to handlers under the respective Orders, regardless of the use made of the milk by the particular handler to whom the producer sold his milk. The handler however pays for the milk delivered to him based on his class use; and any difference between the prices so payable and the uniform price paid to the producers delivering milk to him, is adjusted through a fund -- the Producer Settlement Fund -- maintained under the particular order.
11. On January 9, 1976, the Secretary of Agriculture caused to be issued a notice of hearing for Federal Order 2 which notice was published in the Federal Register, January 14, 1976, Volume 41, No. 9 at pages 2092 and 2093. The notice, insofar as it is relevant to issues herein considered, contained proposals for ...