Underscoring continued support of their farmer-owners, the three largest dairy cooperatives in California submitted a joint proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), petitioning for milk producers in the state to begin operating under a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO). California Dairies, Inc. (CDI), Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) and Land O'Lakes, Inc. submitted the proposal this week.
Under existing regulations, California dairy farmers operate under statewide milk pricing plans. The majority of farmers in other states operate under a FMMO, which provides uniform dairy prices for milk based on market prices. Shifting to a FMMO for California supports the desire of these cooperatives' dairy farmers to receive more equitable, market-based milk prices.
Changes made to the California state order before 2011 resulted in California's dairy farm families enduring unsustainable pricing for their milk. Cooperative leaders from CDI, DFA and Land O'Lakes, Inc. began advocating for a FMMO to work with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to correct pricing disparity.
As the first step in the process, the proposal requests USDA to announce a regulatory hearing that will provide ample opportunity for other dairy industry organizations, companies and producers to provide input.