California Will Transition to Federal Milk Marketing Order

Geoff Vanden Heuvel

The author, a dairyman in Chino, Calif., is a board member and economics consultant for the Milk Producers Council.  This piece appears in the MPC newsletter dated May 4 and is used here with permission.

While the formal closing of the election period for California producers to vote on becoming part of the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) did not end until May 5, very reliable sources have indicated that the governing boards of the three major California cooperatives have all voted “yes” in the FMMO election. Since these three cooperatives are voting on behalf of all of their members, and since collectively these three cooperatives represent over 75% of the producers in California, it is safe to say that the election has resulted in approval and California will become the 11th Federal Milk Marketing Order in the United States.

When the USDA officials were out a few weeks ago, they said that if the election was successful they were committed to a November 1, 2018 start date for the Order. That is less than six months away and a lot has to be accomplished during that time for a successful transition from the California State Order to the FMMO.

Congratulations to our producer leaders on the cooperative boards who had to make this weighty decision essentially on behalf of all of us. It is a huge responsibility and I know they took it very seriously. It is a new day. Let us pray that God will continue to watch over us as an industry and provide us the grace we need to make for a better future.

Editor’s note:  USDA officials have said that the final vote would not be calculated for a week after May 5 to allow postmarked ballots to arrive.  Then, when the vote is determined, and assuming approval, the announcement and the order would be posted in the Federal registry, likely around June 1st. That will be USDA’s first public notification of the official result.