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California Dairy Farmers Seeking To Be Part Of Federal Milk Pricing System

Photo / California Department Food and Agriculture

Photo / California Department Food and Agriculture

California produces more milk than any other state in the nation, about one-fifth of the total.

But California dairy farmers say the state's pricing system is not as efficient as the federal system in keeping pace with market conditions.

Attempts to change the California system in the courts and in the legislature have failed.

Western United Dairymen is a trade organization representing most of the milk producers in California.

CEO Anja Raudabaugh says California's dairies have lost $1.5 billion since 2010 because of state regulatory practices.

"It's been a really increasing difficult for California dairies to do business," says Raudabaugh. "The failure of California regulations to establish minimum prices for California producers."

Hearings are scheduled next month for California milk producers to present their case to the USDA for inclusion in the federal system.

Raudabaugh says the process might take years.

She says if the change is approved cheese prices might go up, but milk prices would not change significantly.

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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