CDC Urges CDFA to Increase Dairy Producer Prices
SACRAMENTO, CA (May 20, 2013) – California Dairy Campaign (CDC) Executive Director Lynne McBride testified yesterday before the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) calling for an increase in the 4b or cheese milk price to bring it closer to prices paid in other states.
“According to data from CDFA, California lost 105 dairies in 2012, more dairies than were lost in the devastating year that was 2009,” McBride testified. “Dairies that have been in operation for generations are continuing to close their doors due to the fact that prices paid to California dairy farmers are significantly below prices paid in other states,” she testified. In the last five years 400 dairies have exited across California.
“The need for a price adjustment is clear. Dairy operations cannot continue to sustain chronic losses while there is considerable profitability experienced further up the food chain,” McBride testified. During the hearing, CDC provided data that showed the widening gap between the price paid to dairy producers and the retail price for cheese.
CDC joined with dairy producer organizations and cooperatives calling for CDFA to increase the 4b or cheese price so that it reflects 80 percent of the whey value paid in the federal milk marketing order system. Under the California pricing system the price paid to producers for whey is capped, while in the federal orders it more closely tracks the market value for whey.
“Alignment with the federal order is the only way to end the inequity in our state pricing system,” McBride testified. CDC applauded the passage of the “California Milk Marketing Order Act” in the farm bill last week because it would enable California to retain its quote system under the federal milk marketing order system. The legislation was introduced by Representatives David Valadao, R-21, and Jim Costa, D-16, and cosponsored by all California members of the House Agriculture Committee.
The California Dairy Campaign (CDC) 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. The CDC is a member organization of the California Farmers Union (CFU), which represents more than 1400 family farmers and ranchers of all commodities throughout California. CFU is the state chapter of National Farmers Union, which represents more than 250,000 farmers nationwide.