California cheese makers ‘respect’ CDFA milk price decision

DIC says economic conditions do not warrant higher milk prices since dairy income is up substantially; processors acting in good faith to pay more, but expanding market provides the biggest boost. 


The Dairy Institute of California, which represents California cheese makers, says it respects yesterday’s decision by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) not to increase the temporary milk price relief already in place for dairy farmers, but simply to extend it through June 2014. 

“After thoroughly reviewing the facts, Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross has correctly concluded that further increases to the temporary price relief already in place for California dairy farmers were not warranted,” said Rachel Kaldor, Executive Director of the Dairy Institute of California. “Secretary Ross was guided by the facts and we respect her decision. 

“The data shows very clearly that economic conditions for dairy farmers have improved substantially since last year,” said Kaldor. “In addition to significantly lower feed costs, dairy farmers are also benefitting substantially from an increased demand for cheese and other products. As a result, they’ve already collected $508 million more from processors during the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year. 

“In addition to lower feed costs, which will improve dairy farm margins by more than $200 million over the next 9 months, and $508 million more in farm revenue, dairy farmers have also received $46 million so far this year in emergency price relief approved earlier by CDFA,” said Kaldor. “By extending but not increasing this emergency price relief, dairy farmers will receive an estimated $37.5 million more through June 2014. 

“And while we weren’t able to reach a legislative agreement with producer groups for additional emergency price relief, cheese makers and other processors have been paying farmers millions in additional premiums for their milk — totaling an additional $122 million this past year above the regulated minimum price. 

“While producer groups have been demanding more from CDFA, dairy processors have been paying farmers millions more in premiums,” said Kaldor. “We’ve acted in good faith and honored our promise of support. 

“All told, dairy farmers are collecting more revenue right now than what they proposed at the last CDFA hearing,” said Kaldor. 

“Given the power of the market to add substantially to farmer prosperity, we should be working together to expand our global reach, instead of relying on an antiquated pricing system that stifles growth and limits revenue,” said Kaldor. “Together, we need to create a new market-driven system with high levels of investment and vigorous competition. 

“This is the future for all of us,” said Kaldor.