By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
Following a directive from California Assembly Ag Committee Chairman Susan Talamantes Eggman, California's Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross has scheduled a hearing May 20 on the state's milk pricing.
The hearing will consider proposed amendments to the Class 1, 2, 3, 4a, and 4b prices.
The department wants to continue to evaluate the impacts of the volatile corn market on dairy producers, said Steve Lyle, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The hearing will not consider changes to the whey value in class 4b, milk used to manufacture cheese, he said.
A change in the whey value in California's pricing formula has been a hot topic, and legislation on the issue was considered by the Assembly Ag Committee May 1.
CDFA temporarily increased milk prices in all classes following a December hearing, effective Feb 1 through May 31. Prices were increased by about 5 cents per hundredweight of milk for Class 1, about 10 cents each for Class 2 and 3, and about 30 cents each for Class 4a and 4b, bringing the combined increase to the state's blend price to 25 cents per hundredweight.
But that didn't help struggling dairymen much, and there was substantial evidence to support larger increases for 4b, said Rob Vandenheuvel, manager of Milk Producers Council.
Milk Producers Council and Western United Dairymen supported an increase of $1.25 per hundredweight for 4b. Other organizations sought an increase of $1 to $1.75, individual processors wanted no increase and Dairy Institute of California, which represents processors, supported a 10-cent increase, he said.
The hearing will be held on May 20 in the CDFA Auditorium, 1220 N St., Sacramento. The hearing will begin at 8 a.m. and will continue until all testimony has been received.
All interested parties can submit information prior to the close of the hearing. Such information can be submitted in person at the hearing, sent electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxed to (916) 900-5341
For information, contact Hyrum Eastman or Candace Gates at (916) 900-5014.