Members of the California Dairy Task Force met this week in Sacramento in an attempt to revitalize the dairy industry in the Golden State. The task force is an informal group of dairy producers, cooperatives and processors established by Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross.
Several issues were discussed including the quota system, investment decisions, risk management and alternative pricing to the Class 4 markets.
“From the time the task force started until now, we have seen a dramatic increase in interest to go towards a California federal order,” Rob Vandenheuvel, GM of the Milk Producers Council, told DairyLine.
Dairymen are still waiting on details regarding a federal order. The cooperatives have been working diligently in putting together a draft order to be submitted to USDA. The federal order process is lengthy and there was some discussion by task force members about what can be done in the interim.
“Federal order has the biggest momentum in terms of moving forward with a long term plan,” Vandenheuvel said. “But there are a lot of unanswered questions.”
The Co-ops have been clear that a quota program will continue to be administered, but the logistics still need to be resolved. Other issues that still need to be worked out include pooling and transportation.
“The things we know is that the California system is not working,” Vandenheuvel said. “It’s not being properly administered. There is a lot of interest going with the federal order because most of these dairymen have family, friends, and colleagues that operate in federal orders all over the country, and they seem to work fairly well in managing milk pricing and pooling revenues.”
Meanwhile, the four working groups of the California Dairy Task Force will continue to work in the short term – all the while recognizing the federal order process is underway. To listen to the podcast, log on to www.dairyline.com.