California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) attorney Michelle Dias rejected STOP QIP’s Motion to Reconsider. The motion asked that Administrative Hearings Judge Timothy Aspinwall reconsider his opinion on the Chapter 3.5 Quota hearing where he recommended that Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross deny the request for a referendum to have producers vote to suspend Chapter 3.5 of the Food and Agriculture Code, thereby ending the quota program. The rejection was based on two factors. One, that CDFA hearings on petitions are not conducted according to the Administrative Procedures Act and therefore do not offer an opportunity to file a Motion to Reconsider. Secondly, Ms. Dias wrote that she saw no grounds for a reconsideration of the Judge’s original opinion. What we did not learn this week is what Secretary Ross is going to decide with regards to the Chapter 3.5 petition. So, this issue is still not closed.
A Producer Review Board meeting has been scheduled for August 27 at 10 a.m. It will be a virtual meeting on Zoom. The agenda for the meeting includes several housekeeping reports and a consideration of the United Dairy Families of California’s (UDFC) petition for a referendum on the proposal to immediately change the Regional Quota Adjusters to equalize the quota payments at $1.43 per cwt. and then terminate the QIP on March 1, 2025. The UDFC petition is filed in accordance with the QIP rules for change or termination. A referendum held on the UDFC petition would require 51% of the producers to vote to have a valid referendum. Of those voting, 51% of the voters producing 65% of the voting milk or 65% of the voters producing 51% of the voting milk would have to vote yes for the referendum to pass.
Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs