Task force to find solutions for state’s dairy industry
September 5, 2012
• Tasked with solving a perfect storm of problems
• ‘I know first-hand the anxiety and stress these uncertain times cause’
Thirty-two California dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors are being asked to serve on a task force to evaluate the future of the state’s dairy industry.
Largest in the nation in terms of milk volume, the state’s dairy industry is beset by a “perfect storm of economic challenges,” says California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross.
She says the task force she is appointing will look for a more sustainable marketplace.
Many dairies suffered steep financial losses as a result of the economic collapse in 2008 and 2009 and before recovery was complete, a nationwide drought struck this year, driving up feed prices and causing significant new problems, Ms. Ross says.
“This belies the encouraging news released late last week that California gross farm receipts reached an all-time record of $43.5 billion in 2011, including a 30 percent increase in dairy. This gross revenue does not account for dramatic increases in input costs such as feed – an area where dairies are really struggling to compete,” she says.
Ms. Ross says the current regulatory and pricing system needs to change and “all sectors of the industry need to collaborate and develop reforms that can bring new markets and new stability to the marketplace.”
She says the task force should begin work as soon as possible and strive to develop recommendations by the end of the year.
“I am aware of the profound difficulties facing the dairy industry. As a farm kid who now owns part of the family farm, I know first-hand the anxiety and stress these uncertain times cause,” says Ms. Ross.