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Hearing set on milk prices


California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross has called a hearing to consider temporary increases in the minimum price of all classes of milk.


The hearing is set for 7 a.m. Dec. 21 in the department auditorium, 1220 N. St., Sacramento.


The hearing will consider proposed amendments using the following format:


* Class I milk fat.


* Class I milk solids-not-fat.


* Class I milk fluid carrier.


* Class II and III milk fat and milk solids-not-fat.


* Class 4a and 4b milk fat and milk solids-not-fat.


The hearing announcement was made Dec. 6 following the department's denial of a petition for a hearing to modify Class 4b prices by California Dairy Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O'Lakes.


The co-ops had proposed increasing the value of dry whey in the pricing formula for 4b, milk used to make cheese.


The co-ops had resubmitted their original Oct. 30 petition on Dec. 3 after having been denied a hearing on the basis their petition failed to set forth the secretary's authority to take the action requested.


The hearing was again denied on Dec. 6.


"The department has determined that the modification of one component of one class of milk -- the dry whey factor -- is an inappropriate mechanism to address the financial challenges of California dairy producers," the department stated Dec. 6 in a letter to the co-ops.


"The secretary is therefore calling a hearing on her own motion to consider whether market conditions support short-term price adjustments in the price of all classes of milk," the letter stated.


-- Carol Ryan Dumas



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