Press Releases

USDA Announces Recommended Decision Regarding FMMO

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Washignton, February 14, 2017 | Anna R. Vetter ((202) 815-1685) | comments
On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service released their Recommended Decision supporting the establishment of a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO).
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WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service released their Recommended Decision supporting the establishment of a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO).

Under current California dairy pricing structures, dairy producers face an unfair disadvantage in the federal market place. Many California dairy producers have expressed interest in entering the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs), a dairy pricing mechanism, which would allow California dairy to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the United States.

In response to constituent concerns, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) introduced bipartisan legislation addressing California's struggling dairy industry in March 2013. H.R. 1396; the California Federal Milk Marketing Order Act allows California dairy producers to petition the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to join the Federal Milk Marketing Order.

During the drafting of the 2013 Farm Bill, Congressman Valadao worked directly with Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (OK-03) and other Members of the House Agriculture Committee to ensure inclusion of his FMMO legislation in the 2013 Farm Bill.

In response to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service decision, Congressman Valadao stated, “As California’s largest agriculture industry, dairy production contributes greatly to the economy of our state as well as the regional economy of the Central Valley. Under the current pricing system, dairies throughout the state have closed down, resulting in lost revenue and jobs." He continued, “The inclusion of my legislation in the 2013 Farm Bill has allowed California dairy producers to have a say regarding their pricing system.”

In conjunction with the release of the Recommended Decision, a public comment period was announced. Beginning today, Tuesday, February 14, 2017 and concluding following a public meeting scheduled for February 22, 2017 in Clovis, California, the public may submit comments and questions about how the FMMO would operate to USDA for consideration. For those unable to attend the meeting, questions can be submitted via email until February 16, 2017.

Following the public comment period, USDA must submit a Final Recommendation. Should the USDA recommend a new FMMO, affected producers will be eligible to vote through their cooperatives bloc voting for members. In order to implement the Order, two thirds of producers must vote in support.

The complete USDA Recommended Decision, "Milk in California; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions on Proposal To Establish a Federal Milk Marketing Order" can be found here.

Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.

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