San Juan, Nov 9 (EFEUSA).- Puerto Rican cattlemen hailed the suspension, ordered by a federal judge, of the accord reached between the local government and milk processors that these companies could pay producers less for their milk and thus increase their own profit margins.

The president of the Puerto Rico Association of Stockbreeders, Juan Carlos Rivera, told Efe Saturday that he felt satisfied at the decision by Judge Daniel Dominguez to suspend a ruling that meant processors would pay cattle ranchers 14 cents less per liter of milk.

The court decision will be revised when results are known of a study of prices paid at each step along the chain of milk production and sales.

Rivera said that what the judge suspended was the provision that milk processors would pay 14 cents less per liter, a cutback designed to compensate for historical losses alleged by processors Suiza Dairy and Vaqueria Tres Monjitas, which in 2004 filed a complaint in court.

The processors asked that their profit margins be increased because without such a measure they might not be able to stay in business.

The lack of an agreement for almost a decade between processors and the government was resolved with a judicial ruling last Thursday that added 15 cents a quart to the price to the consumer.

But the idea of a price hike to the consumer sparked such outrage among the general public that the local government was forced to negotiate an accord with the milk processors allowing them to pay less for milk.

Which in turn caused outrage among the cattlemen. EFE