Hearing scheduled for May 31 and June 1
by Leah Bigham
On March 16, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) scheduled a hearing to consider amendments to the Stabilization and Marking Plans for Market Milk in California.
The hearing, set to commence on May 31, 2012, was granted after California dairy producers had been denied a previous request. But unrelenting dairy organizations submitted petitions to the CDFA on March 2, 2012, highlighting the losses dairy producers will assume as a result of pricing discrepancies.
California Dairies, Inc., the Dairy Farmers of America-Western Council, Land O’ Lakes, Inc., the Security Milk Producers Association, the Milk Proucers Counicl, the California Dairy Campaign and the Alliance of Western Milk Producers (collectively, the “Coalition”), submitted a petition to Secretary Karen Ross.
Representing 64 percent of California producers, the Coalition proposed replacing the “current Class 4b milk pricing formula with a formula that results in prices that meet the statutory requirement of a reasonable and sound economic relationship to the national value of manufactured milk products.” The letter included a threefold outline explaining the propsal in futher detail and expressed urgency in the need for a hearing.
A detailed description of pricing inequities, their impact and the Coalition’s previous attempts to address them were also included.
In a second letter addressed to Candace Gates of the CDFA Dairy Marketing Branch, Western United Dairymen (WUD) echoed a proposal for “modifying the current sliding scale in the Class 4b formula to allow the whey factor to more closely reflect the whey value generated by the current Class III formula.” After acknowledging prior modifications to the Class 4b formula from June of last year, WUD concluded that they don’t “provide a fair or legally sufficient means of determining the whey value as part of the Formula.”
According to a notice from the CDFA, both of the proposals submitted by the Coalition and the WUD will be considered at the hearing as well as “any other whey valuation changes that are raised by alternative proposals received...”
Alternative Proposals must be submitted to the Department’s Dairy Marketing Branch by 4:00 p.m. on May 1, 2012 and can be submitted via mail, email or fax:
Mail: The Dairy Marketing Branch, 2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833
So far, the CDFA has received one additional proposal from California Dairies Inc. The proposal was received by the CDFA on March 19, and requested Secretary Ross amend the notice of public hearing to include Class 4a pricing formula.
When: May 31, 2012 and June 1, 2012
Where: Deparment Auditorium
1220 N. Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Time: Both hearing days will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Prior to the hearing, an educational public workshop will be available for parties interested in preparing for the hearing, and is scheduled for Tuesday May 15, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Copies of the following documents are available on the CDFA website and as plans proceed, further details will also be available.
Petition from the Coalition
Petition from Western United Dairymen
Notice of Hearing from CDFA (includes details about the upcoming hearing, submitting alternative proposals and the public workshop)
Hearing Proposal from California Dairies Inc.