Opposition from California's dairy producers and several industry trade groups helped defeat a legislative proposal this week that would have changed the state's long-standing Gonsalves Milk Pooling Act.
The Assembly Agriculture Committee defeated the bill by a 4-3 vote with one abstention.
About 30 dairymen showed up at yesterday's hearing in the Capitol in Sacramento to testify and lend support for defeating the bill, Western United Dairymen reported.
SB 362's author, Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), requested and was granted reconsideration, making the measure a two-year bill and eligible to be heard again in the Assembly Ag Committee next year.
The measure would have allowed the state's five dairy producer-handlers and two raw-milk producers to exempt all milk they produce on their own dairies from pool obligations,
The milk pooling plan allows dairy producers to share revenues generated by milk sales in California. All processing plants, or pool handlers, pay the minimum prices for their milk purchases from dairy producers into a statewide revenue pool. The pool is then equitably shared among all dairy producers that ship their milk to the pool handlers.
Opponents to the bill said it would have allowed the five producer-handlers to increase their share of the market and cannibalize the Class 1, or fluid milk, revenues that all producers were meant to share. That would have resulted in reduced income and market access for the state's dairies.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at email@example.com.