3. How long would it take to implement a new Federal order for California?
Changing from a State-operated program to a Federal order would be a significant shift. While there are similarities between the systems, sufficient time needs to be provided for an orderly transition. USDA will work with the industry and California Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure timely implementation.
4. Would a California order automatically adopt the current Federal milk order price formulas?
Federal milk order pricing formulas are identical in all Federal orders. We anticipate that a California order would adopt the same pricing formulas. However, an interested party can propose an alternative milk pricing scheme for California. If an alternative pricing scheme is proposed for California, then the proponents would need to provide economic justification at the hearing as to why the Department should adopt the alternative. Currently, six Federal milk orders operate under a multiple component pricing system, while four orders operate under a skim and fat only system.
5. What are the differences between the FMMO price formulas and the California price formulas?
6. How does a producer referendum operate in the Federal milk order program?
Establishing a new Federal milk order or changing an existing order must be approved by dairy farmers through a voting process called a referendum. Of those participating in a referendum, either two-thirds of the dairy farmers voting or producers representing two-thirds of the milk produced during a designated month must approve the issuance of a new Federal order or an amendment to an existing order.
7. If my cooperative decides to bloc vote, can I still request my own individual ballot?
No, Federal orders do not allow for modified bloc voting. Therefore, if a cooperative decides to bloc vote, individual ballots will not be mailed to its members. The cooperative has the option to not bloc vote and request ballots be sent to all its members.
8. Who will be allowed to participate in a California producer referendum?
Any dairy farmer producing milk and associated with the proposed order during a certain representative month (typically the month the hearing is held) would be allowed to vote in a referendum. Each dairy farmer gets one vote, even if they belong to more than one cooperative or own more than one farm.
9. Will California fluid milk fortification standards still exist if California joins the Federal order system?