Back in October, an organization representing a group of California dairy farmers issued a letter calling for the termination of the state’s dairy quota program. The STOP QIP group has been advocating for the removal of the Quota Implantation Plan and the fee collection and redistribution that occurs under the program. The letter was addressed to California’s Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross, who denied the request to end the program outright without input from the entire industry.
“I have always believed in and supported the California dairy industry’s right of self-determination in all matters impacting their industry,” Ross noted in a response letter. “To do what you ask now, without a clear message from the industry [that] this is what they want, goes against my commitment to them that they will decide their fate.”
The impact of the QIP became overtly apparent once the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FFMO) went into effect in California. While the dairy quota program has not changed under the FMMO, the itemized deductions that are coming from milk checks now make the impact of QIP very clear for producers. The issue is creating a rift between industry members who support the program and those who wish to see it eliminated. The STOP QIP organization has made the claim that the QIP has no regulatory or lawful reason to exist.
“STOP QIP has determined that the CDFA’s current enforcement of QIP/QAP is without legal basis,” the letter from STOP QIP asserted. “Since the QIP was neither a lawful amendment to the pooling plan nor adopted under § 62716 following the required hearing, the QIP is not a regulation and has no legal existence. It cannot and should not be enforced by CDFA.”
Several different options are being considered by dairy farmers as to what the next course of action should be in relation to the program. A series of meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks to allow industry members to discuss the most appropriate possibilities for moving forward.