March 12, 2018

California Federal Order Process Back on Track

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The California Federal Milk Marketing Order is back on track, thanks to a court order that was issued Friday, March 9.

Recall that the California Federal Order was thrown into limbo February 6 due to an unrelated case before the Supreme Court, which questions whether Administrative Law Judges (ADL) are federal employees or appointees. If it is the latter, the judge who presided over the California Federal Order Hearing had not been appointed and therefore would have been unable to preside over the hearing.

Rather than wait for the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue assigned USDA’s Judicial Officer William Jensen to review and ratify the work done by ADL Jill Clifton, who presided over the California Federal Hearing in 2015.

Jensen was required to read thousands of pages of testimony and exhibits that were presented during the 40-day hearing in 2015. Some feared the review would take months. But on Friday, Judge Jensen ratified Clifton’s work. Read the order here.

“This means the process is back on track and we can expect a California FMMO to be released very soon,” says Geoff Vanden Heuvel, a California Milk Producer Council board member and economics consultant.