Inspections are a routine and important part of the dairy industry, and in California dairy inspections are costing producers a lot more. Because of higher expenses and a new state surcharge, public health officials have asked some counties to boost inspection fees by nearly 50 percent, according to the Fresno Bee.
One county deep in the heart of dairy country said "no."
Instead, Fresno County leaders settled on increasing fees by 18 percent, a far cry from the 50 percent requested.
"We soon won't have to do any inspections because we won't have any dairies," Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case told the Fresno Bee, noting that higher fees could have been the final straw for an industry that has already taken several blows.
Last week, the county Supervisors voted 4-1 to raise inspection fees from $131 to $155 per month. The health officials wanted to these fees to jump to $192. The county will cover the inspection costs using funds from the Department of Public Health. These funds already cover nearly half of the dairy inspection costs.
California is still the country’s leading milk-producing state, but a trifecta of high feed cost, not enough time to recover from the disastrous year of 2009, and the state’s milk-pricing system has combined to make it rough on farmers. Last year, more than 100 Golden State dairies shut their doors for good.
Producers have already been fighting an uphill battle against the state’s milk-pricing system, which has even driven some dairies to leave for other states such as Colorado and South Dakota. Click here for more.