StopQIP Group Files Suit Over California Quota Plan
As promised, StopQIP filed a lawsuit in California Superior Quota asking for the end to state’s dairy quota program. The suit was filed December 3.
QIP is California’s Quota Implementation Plan; StopQIP is an organization of about 30 California dairy farmers opposed to the program.
The StopQIP group had sent a letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in October, saying QIP was illegal and that the program be halted. CDFA rejected that request, but gave no legal reason for doing so.
In their suit, the StopQIP farmers allege CDFA never included QIP details in its “pooling plan” when it created the program nor did it hold hearings on the program, which the StopQIP plaintiffs allege is required by law.
Consequently, according to the suit: “Plaintiffs/Petitioners request an order from the Court declaring the QIP invalid and improper because the CDFA adopted the QIP in violation to the enabling legislation. Plaintiffs/Petitioners further request a peremptory writ of mandate ordering the CDFA to vacate the QIP and cease all QIP operations.”
The StopQIP group is also asking that the Court to order a halt to all collection and distributions of fee, determine QIP is invalid, illegal and void, and that the State of California pay the cost of the lawsuit and reasonable attorney fees.
StopQIP alleges California is collecting $12 million monthly to fund the program. All Grade A dairy farms have 32.5
The California dairy industry is in the midst of a second round of meetings with dairy farmers to resolve the issue. However, StopQIP farmers fear the issue could drag on for months, even years. And any attempt to buy out quota would still have to be funded by non-quota owning farmers, they say.
While quota value has dropped over the past year, California’s quota value is still estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
To read a copy of the lawsuit, click here.