California’s dairy quota saga continues after an administrative law judge issued a decision regarding one of the actions involving the Quota Implementation Plan (QIP). The Stop QIP group had filed a petition seeking a referendum to suspend Chapter 3.5 of the California Food and Agriculture Code, effectively terminating QIP. After two days of virtual hearings back in June, Administrative Law Judge Timothy Aspinwall recently issued his decision.
“The administrative law judge sided with the fact that if there’s to be a change then it should follow the same method that was used to put it in place. So, he recommended the Secretary deny the referendum,” said Annie AcMoody, Economist for Western United Dairies. “At this point she has not said whether she will or not, but that’s where we’re standing on that issue.”
In a separate but similar action, the Stop QIP group also filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). The suit alleged that CDFA did not implement the QIP properly and was therefore legally invalid. “The judge sided with CDFA in saying they were in their right to implement QIP the way they did,” AcMoody explained.
The dairy quota saga also includes the United Dairy Farmers of California (UDFC) group that has developed another plan for the QIP. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross recently qualified the UDFC petition to phase out the quota program as having enough signatures to warrant a hearing.
“Kind of like the Chapter 3.5 hearing we had, this one is going to be on the United Dairy Families of California’s petition which is asking for a sunset of quota in five years. So, there’s a third piece that’s about to get started here in the next few weeks,” said AcMoody. “There’s a lot of moving pieces when it comes to quota these days.”