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California Farmers Return From D.C. Trip
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After three days meeting with federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C., California Farmers Union (CFU) and California Dairy Campaign (CDC) leaders traveled back home after the conclusion of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Annual Legislative Fly-In in Washington, DC. CFU and CDC members joined more than 200 farmers and ranchers from across the nation in an effort to talk face-to-face with legislators about the ongoing dairy crisis that is leading to the closure of dairies across the state and nation, the next farm bill and other issues.

"California dairies are going out of business at an alarming rate due to the fact that prices paid to dairy producers do not come close to covering record high feed costs," explained CDC President Joe Augusto. "We met with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Representatives Jeff Denham, R-19, and Jim Costa, D-20, and other top government officials to urge them to provide relief to California dairy producers.

"We called on members of Congress to support passage of legislation to enable California to join the federal milk marketing order (FMMO) system which pays significantly higher prices to producers than our state dairy pricing system," he stated. "We delivered petitions to USDA Secretary Vilsack urging him to use his existing authority to raise the prices paid to dairy producers to account for the unprecedented rise in feed costs."

CDC and CFU members urged federal lawmakers to pass a farm bill that includes a strong safety net, fosters competition in the agriculture sector, improves food safety laws, and provides resources to enable farmers to achieve environmental goals and other top priorities. The group called for farm bill reforms to improve the dairy support program to reflect the value of milk in the marketplace, and establish an inventory management program to provide incentives to balance milk supply with market demand. The CFU Delegation included CFU Vice President George Davis of Sonoma, California Dairy Campaign (CDC) President Joe Augusto of Visalia, CFU Board Member Johnny Tacherra of Burrell and CDC Coordinator Ladonna Williams of Turlock.

Comprised of more than 1400 farmer and rancher members, CFU advocates policies at the state and national levels on behalf of its membership throughout California. The California Dairy Campaign (CDC) is a grassroots organization of dairy farmers who are working to encourage lawmakers and the dairy industry to be more responsive to the needs of the family dairy farm in California. CDC is a member organization of CFU which is a state chapter of National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU represents more than 250,000 members nationwide and works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers, and their communities.

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