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Dairy Quota Questions Linger as Repeal Process Continues

Brian German Dairy & Livestock, Industry

Industry members are still waiting to see what will come of California’s dairy quota as groups continue to push for its repeal.  There are two separate groups both working towards making changes to the Quota Implementation Program (QIP), with one effort led by United Dairy Families of California (UDFC) and the other led by Stop QIP.  After months of hearing comments from the industry, UDFC unveiled its proposal to phase out the quota program at a meeting at the World Ag Expo.

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“The proposal was submitted to Secretary Ross after the meeting and she responded back asking for signatures if the UDFC wants this go to a hearing and a referendum,” said Annie AcMoody, Dairy Economist with Western United Dairies. “UDFC is going to have meetings in the next few weeks.  I’m not sure if they’re going to be gathering signatures or not but that would be the next step in their process if they want this proposal to go for a hearing with Secretary Ross.”

The UDFC plan calls for phasing out the quota system over a five-year period, while also providing a cumulative payment to be distributed over 60 months to ensure quota holders recover most of their investment.  The Stop QIP effort, on the other hand, is working towards the immediate end to the quota system, under the assertion that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) does not have the authority to administer the program.

“They’ve taken two approaches to try to get to that objective.  The first one is they submitted a lawsuit,” said AcMoody.  “What they’re requesting is for CDFA to stop implementing the QIP.  They also submitted a petition through CDFA about a month ago, requesting a similar agenda to bring this to hearing and referendum to end the QIP program also.”

A number of dairy industry members have been supportive of either of the efforts to address the dairy quota system.  The support for either the UDFC plan to phase out the program, or the Stop QIP effort to end the program outright has been largely divided between quota and non-quota holders.  However, there has been support from those with and without quota to phase out the program so as to moderate the impact it will have on the dairy system.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West