published on February 9, 2017 - 10:27 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
A nearly four-year-long saga to change the price structure of California milk has reached a key milestone with the anticipated publish date next week of a rule creating a federal milk marketing order for the Golden State.


The rule would apply to the more than 1,400 dairy farms that operate under a statewide milk pricing plan that many dairymen complain has squeezed the profits out of their operations.

California is the only major dairy state that operates under a statewide pricing plan, which is set by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Other states operate under a federal system.

Modesto-based Western United Dairymen sent a notice to its members Thursday afternoon linking to the “unpublished” recommended decision for the Federal Register that would establish a California federal milk marketing order.

The decision is expected to be officially published Feb. 14, with a public meeting scheduled for Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building to explain how the marketing order would operate and to solicit comments for consideration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Written exceptions to the proposal have to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture within 90 days of the official publication in the Federal Register.

It was back in 2013 when California Dairies of Visalia began working with Land O’Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America on draft language to petition for a federal order. The three dairy cooperatives account for 80 percent of the milk produced in the state.

The petition was submitted to the feds at the beginning of 2015. Forty days of testimony on the proposal ended in December 2015. After next week’s issue of the proposed rule, and a comment period, a majority vote of California milk producers will be needed to implement the marketing order.

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