Results from the referendum vote related to the Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) have been released by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The QIP referendum pertained to a sunset amendment that would have discontinued the program beginning on March 1, 2025. As a result of the vote, the QIP will remain intact for the time being. CEO of Western United Dairies (WUD), Anja Raudabaugh said that the vote was exceptionally close.
“The referendum to amend the quota program failed. So those voting in favor, trying to change the quota program, did not come through by less than a percent. Those voting to oppose the change came in at 50.75 percent, compared to those voting in favor of changing the program, which was 49.25 percent,” Raudabaugh explained. “So not even a percentage point separates those voting in favor versus opposition.”
Voting for the QIP referendum began back in March after a lengthy and contentious process to get to that point. The California Food and Agricultural Code contains specific criteria that must be met in order to change the quota program. Failure to meet the criteria will prevent any amendment from taking effect.
“In summary, 78.5 percent – which is a very, very high number of total number of producers of which there are 933 – cast their vote in this referendum,” said Raudabaugh. “So, the first criteria was satisfied. But when you break down the criteria of the volume, that’s where the referendum failed.”
The close results of the QIP referendum vote illustrate how controversial the sunset plan was within the dairy industry. Although WUD has no official opinion on the outcome of the referendum, Raudabaugh expects the conversation to continue among farmers. “I think that there is going to continue to be some anxiety around this program. It will be much harder now I think to change it on its face,” Raudabaugh noted.
Listen to the interview below.