On May 8, CDFA announced a re-scheduled a hearing to consider the Stop QIP petition to immediately terminate the California quota program under Chapter 3.5 of the Food & Agriculture code. The hearing was originally scheduled in late March and then April before the COVID-19 pandemic forced another postponement. The hearing will be held on June 9 and 10, only by online webinar and teleconference.
The hearing is being called because a petition with the required number of signatures was submitted to CDFA, organized by the Stop QIP group which claims the Quota Program was implemented incorrectly and therefore illegally at the time when the California Federal Milk Marketing Order went into effect.
An administrative law judge will preside over the hearing and the public can attend and submit in person comments as well as written testimony and exhibits. As a result of the hearing, the presiding judge will recommend to the Secretary whether a producer referendum should be held or not.
According to the organization United Dairy Families of California, a result could be that the Quota Program could be voted out on what they term a “technicality.” The group says in an email to its supporters, “We do not think this is fair to the industry and takes away producers’ voices and actual opinions.”
This issue is also subject to a lawsuit by the Stop QIP group against CDFA.