The Milk Producers Council (MPC) and Western United Dairymen (WUD) continue to misrepresent the contents of a July 8 letter from Dairy Institute lobbyist Joe Lang to Dr. Richard Pan, author of AB 1038. (See Hoard's Dairyman Intel item "A milk price deal made - and broken" published on November 4, 2013.)

The letter plainly states that Dairy Institute would agree to hearings to provide additional revenue to producers only "if economic conditions warrant" - a key point Milk Producers Council and Western United Dairymen refuse to admit.

Three days later, on July 11, moments before a hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee, Joe Lang met with George Soares, the designated lobbyist for the producer groups. Mr. Soares insisted that the July 10 version of AB 1038 be stripped of the phrase "to the extent economic conditions warrant," calling it "a deal breaker."

Because this was a crucial provision for us, Mr. Soares ended any chance of our agreement by insisting that the "economic conditions" language be removed from the bill, which the Senate Agriculture Committee did on July 11.

The Dairy Institute offered to continue discussions with producers, but no producer group responded. Producers then filed their petition with CDFA on July 22 without asking the Dairy Institute to join them.

At the September 12 hearing, the Dairy Institute presented data showing that improving economic conditions did not warrant additional price increases.

Instead of continuing to misrepresent the facts, MPC and WUD need to face up to what really occurred. By rejecting our language as "a deal breaker," they derailed any chance of an agreement, not us. They have only themselves to blame.

- Rachel Kaldor, Executive Director, Dairy Institute of California

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