Four meetings were held throughout the state on July 30, 31 and Aug. 1 as part of a process organized by United Dairy Families of California (UDFC) to discuss quota. A total of 376 people – mostly dairy producers – attended the meetings which were part of phase 1 of the quota review process. The meetings were part of that step as they conveyed information to the audience.
Dino Giacomazzi, a leader in UDFC, provided background on that process and introduced Dr. Marin Bozic, a dairy economist from the University of Minnesota, who has been hired to oversee the process between now and November. Dr. Bozic was instrumental in developing the Dairy Revenue Protection program offered by Farm Bureau. He is working with Matthew Gould, a market analyst for several dairy companies.
A review of the history of milk marketing in California was helpful but group discussions followed, a level of interaction many producers appreciated. Craig Gordon, a leader in the Stop QIP group, said that while he doesn’t believe in paying quota holders, he was supportive of this effort and pleased with the lack of animosity in the meetings.
This optimism was shared by many. Arlin Van Gronigen, a UDFC dairy producer member, said he was “really encouraged to see a great turnout.” Producer Jim Vieira, a producer from Turlock who wants to end quota, said, “The mood has changed. At least now people are talking. On both sides they are realizing the impact.”
In his presentation (click here) Dr. Bozic said now is the time for producers to reach consensus because neither those who support quota or those who oppose it are sure that they can obtain a super-majority for either position. This uncertainty creates the opportunity for industry agreement.
Phase 2 which focuses on producer ideas and feedback is up next in September in another round of meetings.
Comments from Geoff Vanden Heuvel, director of regulatory and economic affairs for the Milk Producers Council