Continuation of the state’s 48-year-old Class I producer pool quota system, which pays producers a $1.70 per hundredweight premium for their qualifying production, was an absolute “must have” when the state’s biggest cooperatives began drafting a joint FMMO proposal.
The plan that came back from USDA allows the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to continue operating a stand-alone producer-funded quota program. Details of exactly how that Quota Implementation Plan (QIP) will operate have been the subject of multiple meetings this year by a statewide Producer Review Board (PRB). The most recent one was September 12, at which CDFA shared and responded to input and amendments proposed by producer, processor, and affiliated industry groups. (Materials presented at the meeting can be seen here under the “September 12, 2017, meeting” heading.) As was the case during last year’s two-month-long public hearing to discuss various FMMO proposals, comments and suggestions submitted for the September 12 meeting tended to fall along producer and processor lines. Amendments were proposed in 29 areas and ranged from highly technical to simple wording changes. One, however, was unusual to say the least. More about that later.
CDFA agrees that some proposals merit further consideration. It also agrees that a new section that outlines specific details about assessments needed to fund CDFA program costs to administer the QIP should be discussed. But more than half of the suggestions generated one of two responses from CDFA:
- “No comment – prerogative of the Board whether they wish to discuss.”
- “California would have a state-specific stand-alone program, separate and independent of an FMMO, thus the nomenclature chosen by the PRB is appropriate.”
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017