Time runs out on California reform plan

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click image to zoomCDFA Secretary Karen RossCDFA Secretary Karen Ross Time has run out on efforts to reform California’s milk pricing system this year. Legislation (AB 2730) introduced late last week will not be pursued this legislative session, according to state officials.

The bill, put forward by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross and sponsored by Assembly Member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and State Sen. Christine Galgiani (D-Stockton), would have moved California's Class 4 milk away from minimum pricing formulas toward “self-regulating marketing practices.” (Read California considers Class 4 milk pricing changes.)

However, in a statement issued Aug. 27, Ross said not enough progress had been made since the reform framework took shape earlier this month.

“I established the Dairy Future Task Force to see if we could find commonality amongst two sides that have been separated for quite some time,” she said. “Through this process, a framework came together that would have meant substantial financial relief for producers and flexibility to processors that would have benefited the whole industry. While the timing was not ideal, I was compelled to see if we could get something done this year. Since the Aug. 13 Task Force meeting, a tremendous amount of progress has been made, but not enough.  So we will not be pursuing reform legislation this year.” 

Calgiani, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she remained “committed to remain engaged until a solution is found that will establish a fair and equitable milk pricing system in California.”

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