California milk bottle cap.
October 9, 2017

California Dairy Farmers Get Quota Ballots

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) mailed out 1,054 white 9” x 13” envelopes last Friday containing ballots on the state’s new dairy Quota Implementation Plan.

The new quota plan needs to be implemented if a Federal Milk Marketing Order is implemented in California and producers wish to continue the quota program. Under the current state Order, milk pricing and the quota plan are both administered by CDFA. If a Federal Order is enacted, the Quota Implementation Plan allows CDFA to continue to administer the quota plan, though quota deductions will be made directly from producer milk checks rather than being deducted from the pricing pool. Details on the plan can be found here.

The 1,054 ballots represent the number of eligible producer voters, notes Geoff Vanden Heuvel, an economic consultant with the California Milk Producers Council. “The referendum rules require that 51% of the eligible voters actually vote,” he says. That means that 538 ballots need to be cast for the referendum to be valid, he adds.

Note: Operations with multiple dairies under the same ownership will have their milk volumes combined but these operations receive only one vote. Then, of the ballots returned, 51% of the votes representing 65% of the voting milk volume must vote ‘yes’ for the referendum to pass, or 65% of the votes cast representing 51% of the voting milk need to vote yet for the referendum to pass, Vanden Heuvel explains.

Three producer meetings will be held over the next few weeks to describe in more detail the Quota Implementation Plan:

• October 16, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, 1201 L Street, Modesto, 10am

• November 6, Chino, Chino Fairgrounds, 5410 Edison Avenue, Chino, 10:30am

• November 7, Tulare, Heritage Complex, 4450 S. Laspina Ave, Tulare, Conference Dining Room, 10am

The deadline for returning ballots is December 4. Vanden Heuvel urges California producers to vote as soon as possible. “Don’t wait…get your ballot in right away before you forget about it and it gets buried under other paperwork on your desk,” he says.