Michigan residents who have purchased milk or milk products since 2003 may be entitled to up to $20 thanks to a class action settlement.

Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia are included in the $52 million settlement over price fixing of milk and milk products, including half-and-half, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese and yogurt.

Depending on the number of products and the number of submitted claims, individuals may receive between $10 and $20; entities or small businesses may receive between $140 and $560.

To be eligible, the products must have been purchased from a grocery store or other retail venue, and must not have been purchased for resale. No proof of purchase is necessary to be eligible.

The case accused dairy farmers of prematurely slaughtering their cattle and reducing herd sizes in order to maintain higher product prices.

Half a million cows were slaughtered after 3,000 farms were bought out. The suit claims that the National Milk Producers Federation bought out herds of cattle, primarily from small farms, and slaughtered them early for cheap ground beef, thus limiting the supply of raw milk and driving up prices.

The defendants were the National Milk Producers Federation. Large cooperatives such as Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc. and Agri-Mark Inc. were also involved as well.

The defendants deny the allegations that they conspired to fix the prices of dairy products but decided to settle to avoid a trial.

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