New federal milk marketing will pay California dairies more

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A much-anticipated change in how California dairies get paid for their milk is expected to level the playing field with producers in other states.

A new federal milk marketing order will pay California dairy producers more than what they've received in the past.

Dairy operators say they've been working at a disadvantage for years.

The sight of cows being loaded up and shipped out following the closure of a Valley dairy became too familiar in the past decade.

Low milk prices and rising production costs caused many dairies to struggle.

United Western Dairymen CEO Anja Raudabaugh said, "There have been 230 dairy farms that had disappeared in California over the last five years alone, which is a decline of about 15%."

The new federal marketing order is expected to give dairy producers a boost in the hundred-weight price they get for their milk.

California Dairies Incorporated expects the price to go up between 40 and 90 cents when the change takes effect in November.

Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) says of the increase, "40 cents per hundred-weight is a lot of money, and it's enough money to make a real difference on their farms."

Valadao has long pushed for changes in the complicated pricing process, "It got to the point where California is actually 47th I think in the nation right now in lowest milk prices."

Industry experts say dairy producers in other states have made as much as two dollars more per hundred-weight in previous years, so local dairy operators are looking forward to the federal pricing change.
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