Dairy Leaders immersed in complexities of dairy market economics
The 10 members of the California Dairy Leaders Program received an intense immersion in dairy market economics recently in a three-day session at the office of Western United Dairymen as they heard from speakers discussing everything from the history of the California milk pooling system to out-of-state threats to that system, as well as the future of the export market following the most recent failure of the Doha Round of world trade negotiations.
“It was a great opportunity for the class to hear about the unique nature of California’s milk pooling system and the many challenges the system faces,” pointed out CEO Michael Marsh. “They were able to learn about the differences between the federal system and California’s, and the advantages the California system offers. I think everyone agreed after the sessions were done that understanding the complexity of dairy economics is critical for this industry’s future leaders.”
Tiffany LaMendola, WUD director of economic analysis, set the stage with an overview of the state’s pricing formulas and pooling system. Marsh outlined the ongoing out-of-state threats to California producers as evidenced by the Hillside-Ponderosa litigation. Dr. Bill Schiek, economist with the Dairy Institute of California, updated the class on issues surrounding producer-handlers and unregulated regions, and this year’s success in passing the Milk Regulatory Equity Act.
Comparisons of the federal milk marketing orders and the California system were provided by Hayley Boriss, associate agricultural economist with the CDFA Dairy Marketing Branch. David Ikari, chief of the Dairy Marketing Branch, offered insight into the retail pricing of dairy products. Other CDFA speakers covered the value of quota; how to sell, buy, and transfer quota; and understanding monthly milk statements. Trade policy was a prime topic with the recent failure of the World Trade Organization talks. Dr. Daniel Sumner discussed the impact of the failure of the Doha Round and the opportunities available to the U.S. dairy industry in the export market.
Next up for the dairy leaders is a September trip to Washington DC to learn about federal legislative and regulatory issues. This year’s group includes Vance Ahlem, James Ahlem Dairy, Hilmar; David Barroso, Joe & Renee Barroso Dairy, Merced; Jonathon DeGroot, John DeGroot & Son Dairy, Fresno; Robert S. McCune, Vio-Mar Dairy, Hilmar; Larry Pietrowski, Costa View Farms, Madera; Mark Plantenga, Western Sky Dairy, Bakersfield; Henry Van de Pol Jr., C & H Dairy, Escalon; Simon Vander Woude, Vander Woude Dairy, Merced; and Joshua Zonneveld, Zonneveld Dairies Inc., Laton. WUD field representative Kristy Rocha is the 10th member of the class.