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Legislators Want California to Join Federal Milk Marketing System

Mar 27, 2013

Milk pricing in California could see a major change if a bill introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives garners support from other legislators and gains traction among dairy producers.

The California Federal Milk Marketing Order Act would allow California dairy producers to petition the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to be considered to join the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. The petition would need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of California producers to move forward.

Representative David Valadao (R-CA), a freshman House member and dairy producer from California's Central Valley, introduced the bill along with five co-sponsors: Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Although California is the top milk-producing state in the country, its prices are set using different formulas than those areas operating under federal marketing orders. Currently, state milk prices are set by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The bill would designate the state of California as a separate order under the federal system. It would allow the California order the “right to reblend and distribute order receipts to recognize quota value,” permitting the state order to retain California’s quota system, which grants producers who own “quota” to receive a higher value for a specified portion of their milk. 

The bill is derived from similar language that was passed as part of the 1996 Farm Bill but was never utilized.  

For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior group vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at


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