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Posts Tagged ‘california’

The Wheels On The Bus GO Round and Round…..

Yep, we are back at it. Leaving our farms, our jobs, to fight yet again for a fair price. (Thank you to Western United Dairymen and Western Milling for making this bus happen). They realize that the numbers speak volumes and show just how important this is to us dairy farmers.

Secretary of Ag. Karen Ross refused to help…400 dairy families are gone. Assembly Member Richard Pan (9th District) introduced a bill to help California Dairy Farmers.

“Assembly Agriculture Committee set to debate Assembly Bill 31 – – California is on course to losing 100 dairies each year. Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) has proposed new legislation to remedy an unfair cost-setting scheme that threatens to force hundreds of California’s local, family-run dairies to shut down. Assembly Bill 31 will allow the state Agriculture Secretary to change a flawed dairy cost structure that now allows cheese makers to pay far less for milk in California than in other states. “This legislation will fix an unfair set of rules that allows cheese producers to enjoy comfortable profits while dairy farmers risk losing everything,” said Gary Conover, Director of Government Relations for Western United Dairymen. “AB31 will level the playing field for dairy farmers, protect California’s spot as the nation’s top milk producer, and preserve our rich history of supporting family-run farms”

THANK YOU Assemblyman PAN….I appreciate your effort. I PRAY we get this much needed relief. 

YES on AB31 video -Ray Souza

Local supporters of dairy bill heading to Sacramento (click for full story)

 

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Well the Dairy Goddess survived the Fresno Food Expo. It was a great success

Imageand a wonderful way to promote our business and to make some new contacts. I had an opportunity to do  my first radio interview with Chis Daniels at KMJ Talk Radio and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the experience. I also had an opportunity to pre-register to participate in next years Fresno Food Expo. It will be here again before you know it!

One thing I have always wanted to do is California’s Artisan Cheese Festival.  It is going to be on March 22-24 in Petaluma, CA. I am a member of the Guild but haven’t had the time to take and enjoy it’s benefits. This year is going to pass without me attending yet again, but I am sharing it with you so that you might go and enjoy all of the fabulous cheeses. I am sure it is like going to cheese heaven.

The Artisan Cheese Festival is the United States’ premier cheese and wine event and will be taking place at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma as well as various area farms. From cheese-making seminars and beer and cheese pairings, to tasting competitions and and farm tours, this lively weekend will feature top artisan cheese experts, authors, chefs and winemakers from all over Marin and Sonoma counties. There are several new and exciting additions to the lineup this year, including a meet the cheesemakers reception and a Farm Tour that takes guests to LaFranchi Ranch and Keller Estate Winery which features a sit-down three course lunch with guest chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef for Bon Appetit at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Throughout the weekend guests will have the opportunity to experience limited-production, rare artisan cheeses and learn about the art of making cheese, while supporting local and sustainable farmers and cheesemakers in California.

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My dear readers I want to apologize at my blunder regarding our very complicated / very confusing pricing system that dairy farmers have to deal with.

In my angst, hurt, frustration, tears, and disgust I made a mistake in my previous blog post. 

Instead of receiving the token .25 cents per 100 gallons of milk for 3 months. It should be .25 cents per 100 weight (CWT). 100 CWT is 11.6 gallons. (This correction does not minimize the slap that CDFA gave to California dairy farmers, by awarding their slight token of appeasement) but I did want to be clear to my readers whom I hold so dear.

Again, my apologies. It is clear that I am not a professional writer. Though, there is no doubt that this blog comes from my heart and all of the emotions it holds.

Sorry for the confusion.  

Barbara Martin / Dairy Goddess

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Well yesterday we received the decision regarding the emergency CDFA hearing that was held on 12/21/12 (note, on the day of the hearing, Secretary Ross was not even there, while the room was filled with hard working dairy farmers that left their farms at 3 am to make their importance of this issue known. She obviously had more important things to do on that Friday before Christmas).

We went there, pleading that California dairy farmers receive some much needed relief. We, dairy farmers in California receive $2.00 per 100 gallons of milk less than the rest of the nation. We have the highest regulations and costs. In a nutshell it costs us more to feed our animals than what we are getting paid. (We can all thank corn being produced and mandated for Ethanol (thank them also for your higher grocery bill). This corn to ethanol is a joke and more political corruption. It is not efficient, but too many wealthy, very powerful lobbying has corrupted their mindset and throw common sense out the door. 

The CDFA has it’s own cost of production costs that show this and is officially reported and published.

The cheese-makers here in California cry they will not survive if we are given any such relief. It cost them too much money to deal with their whey (the left over after cheese is made). It is a known fact that most of the cheese-makers in CA are making record profits that includes processing that valuable whey protein. They stand behind the couple that do not process it and say if they pay more they will be in dire straights. Their greed eventually will bite them as if things don’t change they will have to fight for what milk might be left in this state. They are worried about paying now? Wait till there is not enough dairies to provide milk to go around. 

The frustrating part of this is that all of the other states cheese-makers are managing and profiting. I believe, ever stronger, that we need to dump our state system and join the Federal Order. It might not be any better, but it could not get much worse. Besides I would no longer be part of this greedy, regulated, state system that can not even read their own data that shows that dairies are closing weekly. Four hundred dairy families gone. It is obvious CDFA can care less. So why stay in such a system that favors only one side. At least we would be on the same playing field as the dairy farmers in the nation.

The cheese-makers have some sick-corrupt control over the CDFA. It is a dark and demented cloud. They do not appreciate the valuable economic impact we have provided and treat us as an uneducated pebble in their shoe. They believe they are saving us from ourselves and protecting us from our habitual over production.  

So, in a nutshell (rounding it off)…we asked for $1.00 per hundred gallons of milk extra from the processors for 6 months of relief. We received .25cents per hundred gallons of milk for 3 months.

A true slap in our face and more proof of this unhealthy alliance between the state and processors. Though, I hope the CDFA doesn’t think that they “won” (they do have more points) but please know we have only just begun. You are dealing with a new generation of dairy farmers.

I no longer support this “TASK FARCE” trying to get producers and processors on the same page. This here proves they can not even agree to give us temporary relief when we need it the most. They see that we are short on milk. What makes us think they will work with us ever if they go against us now?

We need to demand change and continue to fight for what is right and FAIR! We need our co-ops to stand together with us and start taking control.

 

CDFA announces temporary 25 cent hike for four months

The CDFA today released its much anticipated announcement on the Dec. 21, 2012 milk pricing hearing, saying it would temporarily increase Class 1,2,3, 4a and 4b prices by approximately $0.251/cwt for the period of Feb. 1 to May 31, 2013. The announcement by Candace gates, chief of the Dairy Marketing Branch, provided these details:
•    Increasing the Class 1 price approximately $0.05/cwt by adding:• $0.0006 per pound to the milk fat price.• $0.0045 per pound to the milk solids-not-fat price. • $0.0001 per pound to the milk fluid carrier price.
•    Increasing the Class 2 and 3 prices approximately $0.10/cwt by adding:• $0.0082 per pound to both the milk fat and milk solids-not-fat prices
•    Increasing the Class 4a and 4b prices approximately $0.30/cwt by adding:• $0.0246 per pound to both the milk fat and milk solids-not-fat prices.

The Hearing Determinations, Panel Report, Stabilization Plans and a more detailed explanation of the department’s decision can be found on the Dairy Marketing website www.cdfa.ca.gov/dairy  by clicking on the Hearing Matrix. Jan. 22, 2013 CDFA Notice 

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I have just gotten back from Sacramento. Karen Ross had called a hearing to raise all Class Milk prices for up to 6 month to help dairy farmers through this terrible crisis. Mind you getting to a meeting in Sacramento at 7 am on the Friday before Christmas was no easy task.

I was proud to see many dairy farmers there. There were also plenty of processors there to fight it. Their lack of empathy toward our dairy crisis is disturbing. 

I have been up since 230 am so I will post my testimony for you to read. There was a lot of very good producer testimony and I do hope that we were heard.

 

I am here today urging you to increase the pay price that dairy farmers receive.
We have been receiving nearly $2.OO less per hundred weight than the rest of the 
United States for far too long. Along with that we have the highest costs and 
the highest regulations as well as providing the highest quality of milk.

300 dairy families gone along with another 100 this year.

We have been pleading and petitioning for a year all to be denied and delayed. 
All the while many dairy families have lost or  are losing their generational 
farms and culling generational herds.  We hear from processors that we need to 
become more efficient . I can guarantee you this ... The dairy farmers that are 
still in business today have become efficient or else they would not be in 
business today. I would only hope that our government would become as efficient 
as  us dairy farmers...we would not be on the fiscal cliff we are standing on 
right now.

Have any of you ever here seen a dairy farmer walk around his dairy after the 
cows have left for slaughter? It is heart breaking...it is a memory that will 
never leave me. I pray that no more dairy families have to take that walk.

Those of us still here are fighting for our lives.  Yet, as we fight for our 
lives our main concern is to feed and care for our cows. Everything we do 
revolves around our animals that is pressure that you will never understand. 
Getting the cows fed and feeling relived, only, then to have the burden of 
figuring out how you are going to cover your other bills like payroll, 
electric,fuel,insurance, environmental regulation fees and God help us if we 
have a blown tire on the tractor or a pump goes out. I do not wish the stress 
and pressure on any of you. Though I would like for you to walk in my shoes for 
a day...

We dairy families rallied on the Capitol steps in September and October . Only 
to be treated as a minor nuisance.  It was disheartening for so many but I am 
extremely proud that,  finally, California dairy farmers And 3 of our major 
co-ops stood together. 

I am disappointed in the actions of Secretary Ross and the CDFA. I would never 
expect you to work and not receive a fair wage for what you do. Yet you have sat 
back and watched the demise of so many dairy families knowing that we were 
receiving so much less than the rest of the nation. Shame on you CDFA for 
waiting so long and hoping it would fix itself as it has done in the past. Shame 
on you for not appreciating the California dairy families and all they have 
contributed to California.

In March of this year was the first I heard of the forming of a task force to 
fix our industry for the long term. I pray for its success.  As predicted,  It 
had not started off to be very fruitful. The one plus I see from there meeting 
is that Sec Ross could see for herself the true line in the sand between 
producers and processors.

There is a dark, sinister cloud that looms in our industry. I hope that we can 
work to change our system for a healthy dairy industry in the future and to rid 
the dark forces that shadow it.

Here we are at years end asking yet again, to be given some type of relief as a 
result of this hearing. I urge you to act swiftly. We are hanging on by a thread 
and for too many it is already too late.


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