The USDA will head to the Clovis area on Wednesday, February 22, to follow up on the California dairy proposal it released earlier this month. That proposal was the recommendation of a federal milk marketing order, which would incorporate all of California. California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross said Wednesday’s session is an important part of the process.
“They had to make some assumptions,” she explained. “So, they had to hold a forum where they could explain some of the assumptions that they used. It’s not like there’s going to be a lot of going back and forth. It’s to really understand how they got to some of the conclusions they did for the proposal that they put out there.”
The meeting is one more step in the process of getting California on a federal milk marketing order, and it’s not the last.
“The session will tee off probably a 45-day comment period,” Ross explained. “People who see things that they think work, don’t work, need to be corrected, they’ll send that back to USDA and then who knows how long it will take them to incorporate that to make any adjustments before they roll out what we would anticipate will be the final proposal. That will be the one that will go to the vote of the producer community.”
California is the nation’s top milk-producing state, accounting for 20 percent of all U.S. milk production. Dairy in the state is currently regulated by a state marketing order under the CDFA. Ross said there are steps her department is taking as well.
“We at CFDA are in the process of doing our analysis to better understand the authorities we have because there are a couple of big issues that they punted back to California,” Ross said. “We still don’t have a complete analysis of how to make these work together. We don’t know if it would require statutory changes at the state level or if there are administrative changes. We are still going through our analysis and we won’t have that available for a few more weeks at least.”
Wednesday’s public session is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
For more on the dairy proposal, click here.