The California Department of Food and Agriculture has announced it will hold a public hearing to consider amendments to its milk pricing formula.

The hearing will be held Sept. 12 at 8 a.m. in Sacramento, Calif. The hearing will remain open until all testimony has been received and will be continued at 8 a.m. the following day at the same location if necessary. Click here to read the petition new release.

The petition for the hearing was submitted on July 22 by a group of producer organizations, including California Dairies, Inc., Milk Producers Council, California Dairy Campaign, and Western United Dairymen. The petition proposed a modification to the sliding scale used to determine a dry whey factor in the Class 4b milk pricing formula and to replace the temporary rice adjustment currently in place.  

“There continues to be a wide gap between California’s Class 4b price and the regulated prices for comparable milk sold around the country. Since the May 2012 hearing on the Class 4b formula, the gap between the Federal Order Class III and California Class 4b prices has averaged $1.66 per hundredweight. That gap reached $2.36 per hundredweight in December 2012 and rose back above the $2 level at $2.11 per hundredweight in June 2013,” the hearing petition said.   

The state’s 4b milk pricing formula divided the state’s dairymen and cheese-makers, though in early July the two industries called a truce and compromised on a proposal.

In the compromise, cheese-makers will pay an extra 46 cents per hundredweight. However, it is a far cry from what Western United Dairymen and its allies originally sought. Processors point that while they are willing to help out dairy farmers, they aren’t willing to put themselves at a disadvantage with other dairy states. Read, “Truce in California’s milk price war.”