Hearing to Consider California Quota Proposal

Joel Hastings

A two-day virtual hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 so that producers and industry participants can testify on the petition submitted by the United Dairy Families of California to the Calif. Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA).

The petition calls for a producer vote on a plan that, if approved, would end the quota program on Mar. 1, 2025 with no payments to quota holders or any others. Also, it would immediately equalize the “Regional Quota Adjuster” to $1.43, regardless of the producer’s location reducing the quota assessment from all producers by about 2.5 cents per cwt.

According to knowledgeable observers, after the RQA adjustment, each pound of quota solids would generate $5 per month in revenue. During the 53 months between now and Mar. 1, 2025 that would be a total of $265.  Currently quota is selling for $150 per lb.

This plan was developed by a broad-based group of producers who called themselves the United Dairy Families of California. Through 2019, the group solicited ideas from all producers in a series of meetings, narrowed down the choice to those that had the most support and then retained Dr. Marin Bozic of the University of Minnesota and private analyst Matt Gould to recommend a specific plan.

The UDFC circulated a petition for signatures that were submitted to the secretary, asking for the hearing. The same administrative law judge who presided at an earlier hearing requested by the Stop QIP group – Judge Timothy Aspinwall – will preside at this hearing.

After considering all testimony and exhibits, he will provide a recommendation about a producer vote to CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. The decision is hers about actually holding a referendum, although from industry conversations, it appears likely that will happen.

The hearing will be held via Microsoft Teams software and details can be found here

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