The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will hold a meeting on October 28, 2009, focusing on California’s dairies. California, with 12 percent of the nation’s population, produces 21 percent of the nation’s milk. Declining prices and a decrease in global demand are impacting dairy farmers. The state board will hear from dairy farmers and producers on the issue. The meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 ‘N’ Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
“California’s dairy farmers have remained steadfast in the face of many obstacles,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “As the dairy sector adjusts to current market fluctuations, we will continue to see a vibrant and productive industry in the future.”
In 2008, California’s dairies produced 41.1 billion pounds of milk. The top five milk producing counties were Tulare (26 percent), Merced (14 percent), Stanislaus (10 percent), Kings (10 percent) and Kern (9 percent). In the first quarter of 2009, the average price paid to milk producers was $10.62 per hundredweight a 39 percent decrease from the $17.55 paid to producers for the same period in 2008. In addition, California lost an estimated 99 dairies to either relocation to other states or business closure.
“From the drought to invasive species and continuing regulatory burdens – California agriculture has many challenges ahead,” said Al Montna, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “We must work together to find solutions to these problems.”
The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and secretary of food and agriculture of findings as they impact agriculture and consumer needs. The board conducts forums that bring together local, state, and federal government officials, agricultural representatives, and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.
All California State Board of Food and Agriculture meetings are open to the media and general public.