Girl pouring milk into glass.
January 22, 2019

Federal Order Prices Adds 27 to 77¢ to California Milk Checks

Top Story  |   |  By: Jim Dickrell

The Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) in California is adding anywhere from 27¢ to 77¢/cwt to Golden State dairy farmer milk checks in December, depending on their location.


Farmers in and around the Los Angeles areas will see the larger amount. Those in the Central Valley, where most cows and dairies are located, will see the lower amount, reports Geoff Vanden Heuvel, director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs for the California Milk Producers Council.


The actual prices range from $14.53 in Los Angeles to $14.03/cwt in Tulare. This is a net price after the quota assessment is deducted, which is about 38¢/cwt. (The actual amount of quota assessment is based on the total pounds of solids nonfat a producer ships. High-component herds would likely pay more, low-component herds less.)


Those quota assessments are already causing controversy, with nearly 200 petitions submitted to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to end the program. CDFA has determined that if 25% of California dairy farmers submit a valid petition within 90 days, the Quota Producer Review Board “shall review the merits of the petition in one or more public meetings, adopt findings, and make a recommendation to the Secretary [of Agriculture].”


With the new FMMO, the amount of the quota assessment deducted each month is reported on farmer milk checks for the first time. When the California administered the state order, it deducted the assessments internally and did not report actual amounts. For a dairy milking 1,000 cows per month shipping 2 million pounds of milk, the quota deduction could amount to a $7,600. Those owning quota then get a payment of $1.43 to $1.70/cwt, depending on where the dairy is located within the stated and how much quota they own.