The Washington Post has a great front-page article on the milk cartel and how they crushed a competitor. Titled "Dairy Industry Crushed Innovator who Bested Price-Control System," it lays everything out from the law and its history to how the system really works e.g. campaign contributions, Innovator: $172,900, Dairy Industry: $7,577,409.
In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.
maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and
selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition,
exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has
controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects
were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at
supermarkets and warehouse stores.
That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along
with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga’s
initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars
on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers,
including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and
essentially ending Hettinga’s experiment — all without a single
Read the whole thing.