California Dairy Groups Agree to Work Together on Quota Program

After several months of very public disagreement about the future of the milk quota program in California, groups on both sides of the issue have agreed to work together to find common ground.  Stop Qip, the organization advocating an immediate end to quota, and the United Dairy Families of California, a group looking for consensus, issued a joint statement recently outlining a process to gather input and find a way forward. They were joined in that announcement by the three major milk cooperatives in the state, California Dairies, Inc., Land O’ Lakes, Inc., and DFA – Dairy Farmer of America.

The groups will be assisted by University of Minnesota dairy economist Dr. Marin Bozic and dairy market analyst Matt Gould of Philadelphia, Pa., who will analyze the economic impact of various proposed ideas.

A series of meetings is set for next week (see below) in which dairymen and others in the industry will be able to offer their thoughts and recommendations.  The next phase will be for dairy producer feedback.  And the final phase will be the analysis of the economic and legal issues around the proposed changes and, they hope, dairy producer agreement.

A little over half of California’s some 1100 producers own some quota which entitles the producer to a higher price for the amount of milk covered… the total representing about 23% of the state’s milk supply.  But 500 producers own none at all.

The program was originally established in the late 1960’s under a state order because producers wanted some stability in the marketing and pricing of their milk.  Now that the Federal Milk Marketing Order has been put in place, the state’s cost of administering the quota program is readily seen on producer checks, representing a deduction of about 38 cents / cwt on all milk produced, with most of those funds going to the quota holders.  Even though the state announced a reduction in amount of the deduction, there are those who advocate an immediate end to the program.  Those who hold quota are concerned about losing the higher price for their milk and the reduction of an asset – quota – which is a plus on their balance sheets.

The meeting schedule is:

Tues., July 30 – Embassy Suites, Ontario from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Wed., July 31 – Heritage Complex, Tulare from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Wed., July 31 – Turlock  Ballroom, Turlock from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 1 – Washoe House, Petaluma from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

 

The organizers say meeting space is limited, so all participants are strongly encouraged to register as soon as possible at www.dairyfamilies.org/events.

 

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