California Dairy Campaign (CDC) President Joe Augusto and California Farmers Union (CFU) President Joaquin Contente called on Congress to pass the “California Milk Marketing Order Act” introduced March 21 by Representatives Jim Costa, D-16, and David Valadao, R-21. The legislation would enable California to join the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system while continuing its state quota system.
“Last year California lost 105 dairy operations across the state amounting to a greater number of closures than occurred during the devastating price collapse of 2009,” stated CDC President Augusto. “The price paid to California dairy producers continues to be significantly below prices paid in the federal order and as a result, far fewer dairy operations exist in our state today and many more are struggling to remain in business.
“The only way to restore some equity for dairy producers in our state is by joining the federal milk marketing order system,” Augusto concluded.
“According to state data, it costs more than $20 per hundredweight to produce milk in California and yet prices paid to producers in January amounted to just $16.60 per hundredweight,” added CFU President Contente. “We have collected hundreds of signatures from producers around the state in support of legislation to enable California to join the federal order and retain our state quota system. By joining the federal order system, we can bring our prices into alignment with prices paid to producers in the federal orders and improve the outlook for dairies in our state.”
California’s Class 4b or cheese price continues to be well below the comparable federal milk marketing order (FMMO) Class III cheese price, amounting to a $2.30 per hundredweight difference in January of 2013. The accumulated losses to producers due to the inequity in the California state pricing system now total more than $800 million since January 2007.
Comprised of more than 1400 farmer and rancher members, CFU advocates policies at the state and national levels on behalf of its membership throughout California. The California Dairy Campaign (CDC) is a grassroots organization of dairy farmers who are working to encourage lawmakers and the dairy industry to be more responsive to the needs of the family dairy farm in California.
CDC is a member organization of CFU which is a state chapter of National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU represents more than 250,000 members nationwide.