The California Department of Food and Agriculture says it will temporarily raise the pay price for milk from February 1st through May 31st. Golden State dairy producers have been calling for an increase in the pay price ever since feed prices began to skyrocket last summer. The increases will be 5 cents per hundredweight for Class 1, 10 cents per hundredweight for Class 2 and Class 3 and approximately 30 cents per hundredweight for Class 4a and 4b milk. CDFA says the increase will amount to about a 25-cent increase in the pool price for California’s two marketing orders.
California Dairy Campaign president Joe Augusto said while they welcome the increase, “it falls short of the amount needed to bring our prices in line with federal order prices.” Farmers have argued that the California 4a and 4b prices have not stayed in line with the Federal Orders Class III prices. The December 4a price was $17.47 and the 4b price was $16.30 while the Federal Order Class III base was $18.66. In December producers had asked for a $1 per hundredweight increase but the request was turned down by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.