CDC: CDFA decision demonstrates inequity of California dairy pricing system

Organization calls for California to join Federal Milk Marketing Order System 

According to California Dairy Campaign (CDC) President Joe Augusto, the hearing decision announced by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross demonstrates that the California milk pricing system is not equitable to the state’s dairy producers. CDFA Secretary Ross announced today that the department would extend the temporary overall price relief of 12.5¢/cwt. through June 30, 2014, but the increase did not approach the amount called for by producer organizations during the September 12 hearing. 

“Today’s decision once again makes it clear that the only way to restore equity to milk pricing in California is by joining the federal milk marketing order system,” said Augusto. “On average dairy producer prices in California have been $1.05 lower than prices paid in the federal order causing the average sized dairy in our state to be paid nearly $600,000 less than the same sized dairy in the federal order system since January 2011. Despite the wide gap between California dairy producer prices and prices paid in other states, CDFA agreed to a minimal increase that does not come close to bringing our state prices in line with other states,” he concluded. 

CDC Executive Director Lynne McBride testified along with CDC members during the Sept. 12 CDFA hearing, calling for an increase in the 4b or cheese milk price to bring it closer to prices paid in other states. CDC joined California Dairies Inc., Milk Producers Council and Western United Dairymen in calling for an increase in the 4b price in the amount of 46/cwt. and an increase in the whey factor value from 75¢ to $1.00/cwt. 

“The results of this CDFA hearing and the many dairy pricing hearings held since the gap between California and federal order prices began to widen, demonstrate that our state milk pricing system simply is not fair to dairy producers in our state,” explained CDC Executive Director Lynne McBride. “The only viable way to bring our state dairy producer prices in line with prices paid across the country is by joining the federal milk marketing order system,” she concluded. 

The California Dairy Campaign (CDC) is a grassroots organization of dairy farmers who are working to encourage lawmakers and the dairy industry to be more responsive to the needs of the family dairy farm in California. The CDC is a member organization of the California Farmers Union (CFU), which represents more than 1300 family farmers and ranchers of all commodities throughout California. CFU is the state chapter of National Farmers Union, which represents more than 250,000 farmers nationwide.