More than 30 California Dairy Campaign members have agreed that Congress should pass legislation to enable California to join the Federal Milk Marketing Order system.

“The recent decision by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) not to pay producers a fair price has made it clear that now is the time for our state to join the federal milk marketing order (FMMO) system,” said California Dairy Campaign President Joe Augusto.

“Dairy producers were unanimous in their support of a petition put before CDFA to raise producer prices so that they are in reasonable and sound relationship with those in surrounding states,” explained Augusto. “CDFA failed to adopt our petition, so it is evident that the only way to restore some equity in the system is by joining the FMMO,” he concluded.

“As Congress continues to debate the next farm bill, it is critical that dairy producers call on their federal lawmakers to include an amendment that would enable California to join the federal order system,” says California Dairy Campaign Executive Director Lynne McBride. “The only way that Congress will move forward with an amendment is if there is agreement among dairy producers and dairy cooperatives in California,” she explained. “It is critical that dairy producers call on their lawmakers and cooperative leaders to support an amendment so that California will have the ability to join the federal milk marketing order system,” she added.  

California’s Class 4b or cheese prices continues to be significantly below the comparable federal milk marketing order Class III cheese price, averaging $2 lower since 2011. The accumulated losses since January 2007, due to the fact that California producers receive a substantially lower prices than those paid to producers in the FMMO, have totaled more than a $800 million, according to a California Dairy Campaign press release.

The California Dairy Campaign is a grassroots organization of dairy farmers who are working to encourage lawmakers and the dairy industry to be more responsive to the needs of the family dairy farm in California. It is a member organization of the California Farmers Union which is a state chapter of National Farmers Union.