Dairy farmers hit by low milk prices and high feed costs sought help from the state government.
Western United Dairymen and the Alliance of Western Milk Producers asked California Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura to raise the minimum price paid to dairymen for the milk they produce.
"We are seeking 50 cents per hundredweight of milk," said Michael Marsh, chief executive officer of Western United Dairymen. "That's in addition to the regular pricing for the next six months."
(A hundredweight is 100 pounds of milk.)
That 50 cents would be permanent for Class 1, or liquid milk, the commodity that gets the highest price for producers.
Marsh said they're also asking for a permanent increase of 26 cents a hundredweight for Class II and Class III, which includes ice cream, cottage cheese and other milk products. The 26 cents would bring the price producers earn back to what it was on Jan. 1 of this year.
"The dairy farmers have such a hole in their checkbooks after this economic downturn that we want to try to get them help as quickly as we can," Marsh said.
Bill Van Dam, chief executive of the Alliance of Western Milk Producers, said a perfect storm of damaging events hit producers this year, including high feed prices and a glut of milk at processing plants.
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