Leaders of the California Dairy Campaign and the state Farmers Union gathered Aug. 22 to celebrate the implementation of a Federal Milk Marketing Order for California. Former dairyman and Holstein breeder Joe Vierra hosted the gathering at his farm near Livingston. Going into effect on Nov. 1, the FMMO is the culmination of an industry effort these organizations have supported since the mid-1990’s. It was back then that CDC hired the late dairy attorney Ben Yale to draft the early petition, language that was incorporated into the recent successful effort according to several of those in attendance.
According to George Merton, a producer and DFA leader from Sonoma, the acceptance by dairymen of the CA FMMO “shows the value of working together.”
Lynn McBride, CDC executive director, “Unless you stand up for yourselves, nothing will happen.”
A variety of topics were discussed including grant money available for manure systems from the state ag department. Mark Mcafee, organic producer from Fresno, presented the proposed revision of milk marketing in the U.S., the Sustainable Milk Inventory System Act. (See video link and link to the PDF)
Special guest was veteran Congressman Jim Costa who called the acceptance of the FMMO a success. He emphasized his longtime support for a strong, viable dairy industry in California and expressed his concern about the long run of low prices, with no end in sight.
Interestingly, he said that if the Farm Bill doesn’t pass this fall and instead a one-year extension is enacted that might allow for a supply management program to be included. He said he supported such an effort, as he did in the last farm bill.