Writing that volatility is "the new reality for dairy farmers," California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross is calling for cooperation and strategic reform. Ross wrote on the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) website, "If we have learned one thing from this crisis, it is that the current regulatory and pricing system needs to change and all sectors of the industry need to collaborate and develop reforms that can bring new markets and new stability to the marketplace.

"As CDFA tries to balance the interests of farmers with other dairy stakeholders – cooperatives, processors and consumers – it is clear to us that the pathway to future stability can be reached by tackling those reforms head-on."

To this end, Ross has issued invitations to 32 dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors to become members of the California Dairy Future Task Force.

All task force members and dairy stakeholders are being asked to familiarize themselves with a report by global management consultant Mc Kinsey and Company, which was commissioned by the California Milk Advisory Board in 2006 and provided concepts for long-term sustainability and industry growth over a 20-year period.

"The report is a common starting point upon which our task force can begin to build," Ross wrote.


Several online comments to Ross's web post indicate frustration with a plan that focuses on the future when times are tough now.

Corry and Jane Vanderham wrote, "Thank you for putting together a California Dairy Future Task Force to evaluate long term solutions. Relief is needed now while the CDFTF is searching for solutions to the crisis."

Click here to view the original post and comments. PD

—From the California Department of Food and Agriculture website