Sure, we’re a long ways from U.S. population centers of the East Coast. Wisconsin’s got us beat on that. But we have a pretty optimal geographic advantage in selling to Mexico or our overseas markets to the West. How is it that cheese manufacturers in Washington, Oregon, or Arizona are able to operate in FMMOs, subject to those pricing regulations? What is it about our California manufacturers that make them so vulnerable that they need a huge “State-sponsored discount” on the milk they buy, or else they could be forced to close up shop and move somewhere else? (And of course, what price do we think they would be paying for their milk somewhere else?)
Through all the analysis that we will undoubtedly hear in the months to come, remember this key reality: In order for the California dairy industry to have a sustainable future, our dairymen need to receive a price for their milk that is: (1) profitable; and (2) in reasonable alignment with what our out-of-state competition receives for the comparable milk they produce. California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is capable of facilitating these needs – in fact, they are directed by law to do so. But as we have unfortunately seen, they have been unwilling to make the necessary changes, resulting in this critical effort to develop a California FMMO.
We must never lose sight of these realities.