Important – Must Read!

Mar 15, 2022

Dear Dairymen of California,

What if the PRB board put together a new regulation that said all Coops in California with over 25 dairies shipping to them, are now required to pay $.65 cwt. on all milk shipped into the Coops regardless of class.  This money would be put into a fund, to be distributed to all the Coops with less than 25 dairies shipping to them.  The referendum was held, and the shocking result, is a new tax of $.65 a cwt.   It won by 65.2 %.  How could that be possible with over 70% of the dairies belonging to the large Coops? It would seem impossible for that to have happened and you challenged the votes and asked permission to view the ballots, and you are told no.  You do not have the right for a representative to come view the ballots.   You find out that the Board was made up of 13 of the 25 or less Coops, and only 2 from the Coops with 25 or more dairies.  According to the statue in the Food and Ag Code, it should have been 11 large coops and 4 small coops.  This new tax is nothing more then a transfer of wealth and has nothing to do with the pooling or pricing of your milk.

You find out that numerous dairymen did not get ballots, and a large dairy from your Coop was not counted for some inexplicable reason.  They will not give you a list of who was eligible to vote in the referendum.   You find out they did not follow 6 important statues, and that the new program is called an underground program, because they did not get it approved by the APA.  It is clearly a conflict of interest for the Board to have voted on this, and the Chapter they say gives the authority, should have been terminated when the Federal order came in.  You distribute petitions among your producers and gather enough signatures to clear the 25% hurdle which tells the Secretary it is now a shall referendum.  But she ignores that and a law judge from across the parking lot from CDFA, rules, it is illegal to terminate this new program by the rules that were in the Chapter where this program resides. This is not a joke but the truth.  And the staff that was holding the election and counting the votes and sending out he ballots will lose their job if this new program is canceled.  This is not a joke but the truth.

Are you going to start paying CDFA $.65 a cwt. just because they ask for it?  After all the above happened, you are telling me that CDFA can do anything it wants. I would hope that our Coop Boards would hire some attorneys to investigate the claims and write a letter to CDFA and inform them they are not going to pay this transfer of wealth, until it is done the right way, with hearings, a proper PRB board and the Industry is represented in the process to insure transparency and honesty to the process, and most importantly is a transfer of wealth even legal?

What is written here, has taken place with StopQIP and a lot more actions and non-actions by CDFA. This all can be documented, and yet, our Coops stood silent.  How does a board justify paying 25 dairies or less Coops a billion dollars every 6.3 years. and do nothing about it?  Our boards should stop the payments until it is done the legal way.  Just because CDFA says it is legal does not make it legal.  Whether you are for quota or against quota, the process must be done the legal and proper way otherwise what do we have here?  You cannot tell Stop QIP well we have to pay CDFA because they tell us it is the law?

All of our paperwork has followed the rules of the Food and Ag code and by the rules told to us by CDFA at the PRB meetings. Everything we have done centers on one thing, the QIP was not put into law, it is an underground regulation, and we want to have the proper hearing and followed by a referendum conducted with transparency.  If the industry votes are 65% in favor of the QP, we are done. 

We do not understand our leaders in our industry not demanding a reapproval by the book and get our industry back together again.  It does not say a lot for our leaders who ignore this problem and especially ignoring a fair referendum according to the law. Our leaders should be demanding a referendum and if not, we should be demanding that we get new leaders.  Remember the first referendum that approved the QIP was not done according to the law as we read it.  They did not have a hearing, they did not make a pooling plan, and the ballot was very misleading and not even close to the required Section 62616.  This ballot should say this according to statue: Do you approve of the new pooling plan the QIP yes or no.  The last one said, do you want the QIP to become effective when the Federal Order becomes effective.  Clearly a misleading ballot.  We were not voting for the Federal Order here.

Stop QIP has maintained that if we have a fair referendum and the QIP wins a super majority vote, then we would cease all activities of trying to remove the QIP.

If our Coops do not endorse a fair referendum, then it is time to leave them.

It is time for a mega marketing agency be formed and market all the non-quota milk, with a $.38 discount in price to the processing plants and they will not have to worry about paying $1,70 quota surcharge on our milk that we ship them.  We believe we would have plants waiting in line to receive that milk that would be very competitive if we were not tied to the QIP.  How will the big three be able to compete without the non-quota shippers being a part of their COOPs anymore?   It should not take more then 2-5 years to be shipping over 80% of the milk processed in California.  The time is here, and we need to be moving in that direction.  Clearly our leaders have let us down, while all around them our industry is dying.

If you are interested in being on our exploratory committee, please contact us at 877-786-7747.

Thank you,

Craig Gordon


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