WUD Responds To Assembly Vote On 'Happy Cows' Commercial

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Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh provided the following statement in response to the Assembly's passage of AB 1778 requiring that California state agencies, commissions or departments shoot commercials inside the Golden State if they are promoting California products with public funds:

"The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has a fiscal responsibility to the state's dairy families who fund the promotional campaign behind Real California Milk and dairy products, including the "Happy Cows" television commercials. It is important to note that no taxpayer money is used for these campaigns - the state's dairy families fund this advertising. Last year a decision was made (and approved by the California Department of Food & Agriculture) to film a portion of the "Auditions" campaign in New Zealand in order to save our struggling dairy producers hundreds of thousands of dollars in production costs. This campaign shows cows from all over the world auditioning to become California cows. No California cows or settings were filmed overseas. The shoot was directed and produced by a California-based production company and the New Zealand portion amounted to just four days of overseas filming, the equivalent of a location shoot, while an additional six-to-eight weeks of post-production work for each of the 10 spots remained in California. In fact, 90 percent of the CMAB's total advertising production budget was invested in California resources last year.

California's dairy producers are an essential part of the state's economy, responsible for more than 443,000 California jobs both on the farm and beyond. California lost over 11 percent of its family dairy farms in the past two years due to the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. The CMAB's mission is to help promote California dairy products across the country and throughout the world to allow the more than 1,700 dairy families to produce quality California milk and pass their farming heritage on to future generations.

Passing a bill that serves one special interest group will not solve the state's economic woes, especially when it places an enormous cost burden on the state's entire dairy industry. The CMAB is responsible for helping keep 1,700 dairy families, and the 443,000 jobs we create, afloat in this devastating economy, without any taxpayers' funds supporting this effort. The CMAB should have the right to choose the best, most creative and most cost-efficient production resources they can find to maximize the dairy producers' hard earned dollars to keep demand for the state's dairy industry alive. "

WUD is a voluntary membership organization representing more than 60% of the milk produced in California. Membership benefits include resources in labor law, environmental regulations and pricing issues. Members decide the direction of state and federal legislative efforts affecting the dairy industry.


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