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California’s Dairy Task Force Holds First Meeting, Members Announced

October 26, 2012

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Group meets to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry. State ag secretary is “impressed by the progress made.”

Source: Western United Dairymen Weekly Update

California’s newly formed 28-member Dairy Future Task Force -- composed of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives -- held its first meeting this week to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross announced the panel’s creation earlier this summer, after hearing a petition by producer groups to adjust the state’s whey factor in Class 4b minimum milk pricing formula. The action came in the face of skyrocketing drought-related feed costs, forcing many producers into bankruptcy.


California Dairy Future Task Force members
David Ahlem, Hilmar
Joey Airoso, Tipton
Joe Augusto, Visalia
Tom Barcellos, Tipton
Marcus Benedetti, Petaluma
Ben Curti, Tulare
Rochelle De Groot, Hanford
Joe DeHoog, Ontario
Lucas Deniz, Petaluma
Eric Erba, Visalia
Frank Fereira, Red Bluff
Mike Gallo, Atwater
Dino Giacomazzi, Hanford
Dominic Grossi, Novato
Scott Hofferber, San Bernardino
Dennis Leonardi, Ferndale
Steve Maddox, Riverdale
J.T. Maldonado, Hanford
Tony Mendes, Riverdale
George Mertens, Sonoma
Rick Michel, Waterford
John Oostdam, San Jacinto
Brian Pacheco, Kerman
Ray Souza, Turlock
Sue Taylor, Denver
Arlan Van Leeuwen, Oakdale
Sybrand Vander Dussen, Chino
Simon Vander Woude, Merced

Secretary Ross issued a statement following the task force’s meeting: “The Dairy Future Task Force is made up of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives asked to come together to find common ground upon which they can build a new, more stable and contemporary path for the dairy industry. The first session, held October 23-24, provided an opportunity to agree on a common fact base and develop a sense of what the group wants to accomplish in the coming months. The task force achieved alignment around a shared vision for the future of the California dairy industry, which is a significant accomplishment and a key step toward long-term success. The initial session was designed to set the stage for the group to identify and build strategic pillars that will result in a robust, profitable, demand-driven dairy industry. I was impressed by the progress made and look forward to continuing this important work. I commend the group’s members for embracing their task and the difficult but critical discussions it entails.

“Based on the discussion of concepts for potential short-term solutions, CDFA anticipates receiving a petition shortly and will evaluate it on an expedited basis. I very much look forward to working with the talented and passionate producers and processors who are willing to provide leadership to this very important sector of the agricultural community.”

In a background statement issued by CDFA, the department said the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) will have administrative oversight of the task force. Meetings will not be open to the public to “eliminate public posturing, hyperbole, and positioning for political gain.”

According to the background information, task force members were invited as individuals–not as representatives of associations or other organizations. There will be “significant public vetting of various stages of the task force’s work, which will strive to create consensus around short- and long-term solutions.”

The CDFA noted that several years ago CMAB commissioned a study which provided concepts for long-term sustainability and industry growth for the California dairy industry. That report, by global management consultant McKinsey and Company, is serving as a foundation for discussions on long-term solutions.

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RELATED TOPICS: Dairy, Policy

 
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