USDA sets hearing to consider California Milk Marketing Order

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2015 - USDA will kick off a public hearing on Sept. 22 to consider setting up a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for California.

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The hearing, which is expected to last several weeks, will be held at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Clovis, a city in central California near Fresno. FFMOs are administered by USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) to promote orderly marketing of dairy products within specific regions. There are currently 11 such FFMOs.

USDA said it plans to hear testimony and receive evidence regarding four proposals for a FMMO in California, which produces about 20 percent of the nation's milk. The dairy industry in the state is currently regulated under a state marketing order.

The 2014 farm bill allows for a California FMMO that recognizes certain state-specific aspects of the current order, if recommended by USDA and approved by California dairy producers.

In February, AMS received a formal hearing request from California Dairies Inc., Land O Lakes Inc., and Dairy Farmers of America Inc. to establish a FMMO in California. AMS received additional proposals from the Dairy Institute of California, the California Producer Handlers Association, and Ponderosa Dairy. All of the proposals can be viewed at www.ams.usda.gov/CAOrder [3]. USDA says it has not taken a position on any of the proposals.

Parties interested in testifying should notify USDA upon arrival at the hearing. For a copy of the hearing notice and additional information, visit www.ams.usda.gov/CAOrder [5] or contact William Francis, director, Order Formulation and Enforcement Division, by mail at USDA/AMS/Dairy Program, Stop 0231-Room 2969-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0231; by phone at (202) 720-6274; or by e-mail at william.francis@ams.usda.gov.

The hearing will be overseen by an impartial administrative law judge. Anyone may testify.

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