California dairy farmers would benefit from joining the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO), according to the results of a dairy cooperative-sponsored study — at least, a “properly-written” one. The five-month-long study was commissioned by California Dairies Inc. (CDI), Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) and Land O’Lakes Inc. (LOL) and indicates that California dairies would benefit from the higher farm gate prices that the FMMO’s regulatory structure would provide.

The three cooperatives, representing approximately 80 percent of the milk produced in California, collectively funded the comprehensive modeling study to examine the issues and benefits of replacing the California state milk marketing order with its own FMMO.The study was conducted by Dr. Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dr. Chuck Nicholson of Penn State University.

After a thorough review of the study results including possible consequences and opportunities, the three cooperatives agreed to continue working toward a change in the regulatory structure. Staff from the three cooperatives will begin to draft federal order language to initiate the process. In addition, CDI, DFA and LOL leaders will be holding a series of explanatory sessions for their members to share the results and receive input on how best to move forward on possible implementation.