The United Dairy Families of California’s (UDFC) petition for a referendum on their Quota Implementation Plan proposal was the subject of a hearing held this past Wednesday. The hearing was conducted by Judge Timothy Aspinwall, the same Administrative Hearings Judge who did the STOP QIP hearing in June. This hearing lasted only two hours and there was no opposition to the request for a referendum on the UDFC QIP proposal. It seemed clear that the Judge is only being asked to make a recommendation on whether there ought to be a referendum. He is not being asked to give an opinion about whether the QIP still meets the purpose of the pooling law. Representatives from SAVE QIP, the high quota holder group, specifically stated that they were not opposed to a referendum. Representatives from STOP QIP also testified that they were not opposed to a referendum. In fact, A.J. Bos, one of the leaders of STOP QIP, testified and complimented the efforts of UDFC as being done in good faith and honestly. He acknowledged that the UDFC proposal appears to be what the majority of the industry is willing to support. He stated that he was ok with it and would be voting yes. Finally, he said it was important for the industry get past this issue and be unified as we face the challenges of the future. This was a very significant statement by a leader in the STOP QIP movement.
There were five other producers who testified - Rod Kamper, Travis Kamper, John Moons, Dante Migliazzo and Craig Gordon. All supported having a referendum, although each had their own perspective on the issue. The producer testimony came after UDFC representatives Dino Giacomazzi, Megan Oliver Thompson and Dr. Marin Bozic spent their time giving the history and process that UDFC followed to get to a proposal for how to address the QIP. They shared the substance of the feedback from producers they received regarding various proposals they reviewed and how they settled on the specific proposal that they are submitting to producers for a referendum. All of this information was received by the Judge as well as written communications submitted before the close of the hearing. The Judge will make a recommendation to California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross soon and then it will be up to her to schedule a referendum.
Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs