Milk Producers Council
  "Serving the Dairy Industry for more than 60 Years"



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Welcome to the official website of Milk Producers Council!  MPC is a nonprofit organization representing dairy families throughout California.  For the past 60 years, our staff and board of directors have been working on behalf of our members on issues ranging from local to national in scope, with topics ranging from milk pricing policies to environmental regulations and any other local, state or federal issues facing dairy families today.

We hope you find this site useful and informative.  If you have any questions about MPC and the work we do, please contact us at (909) 628-6018 or by email at

MPC Contact Info

Fax: (909) 591-7328
13545 S. Euclid Avenue, Unit B
Ontario, CA 91762
Phone: (909) 628-6018
Contact: Rob Vandenheuvel
801 S. Mount Vernon Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93306
Phone: (661) 833-2549
Contact: Betsy Hunter
222 S. Thor Street, Suite 20
Turlock, CA 95380
Phone: (209) 250-1801
Contact: Kevin Abernathy

Interested in Joining MPC?

Milk Producers Council is funded by the voluntary financial support of our members.  We have a strong and committed membership of dairy farmers and allied industry partners, and we'd love to have your support as well!  You can find the membership applications linked below.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us at (909) 628-6018 or email us at

Dairy Farmer Membership Application

Allied Industry Associate Membership Application

MPC News

Click HERE to read the February 10th edition of the MPC Newsletter (Includes current commodity price information)

Click HERE to receive our newsletter via email each Friday! (FREE Subscription)

Click HERE to check out our series of articles on the California Federal Milk Marketing Order proposals

Dairy Cares has published their October 2016 monthly column.  Check it out HERE.

An Article Worth Another Read...
February 20, 2015

California Dairy Groups Announce Support For Federal Order Proposal
Groups Join the State’s Cooperatives in Supporting this Much-Needed Proposal

CALIFORNIA Today, the Boards of Directors for the California Dairy Campaign (CDC), Milk Producers Council (MPC) and Western United Dairymen (WUD) jointly announced their support for a proposal submitted earlier this month that would create a Federal Milk Marketing Order in California.

On February 3rd, a request for a hearing was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes.  Specifically, these California farmer-owned cooperatives requested that USDA hold a hearing that would establish a Federal Milk Marketing Order in California.  Included with the request was a detailed proposal supported by the three cooperatives.  The request can be found at:

After reviewing the detailed proposal, the Boards of Directors for CDC, MPC and WUD each voted to fully support the proposal, as submitted by the three cooperatives.

Statement from California Dairy Campaign President Joe Augusto:

“California dairy farmers have been substantially underpaid compared to dairy farmers in the federal milk marketing order system for far too many years.  The California federal milk marketing order proposal put forward by the state’s cooperatives will bring our prices in line with prices paid around the country and restore equity to dairy producer pricing in our state.”

Statement from Milk Producers Council President Sybrand Vander Dussen:

“We are excited to see this process begin and stand side-by-side with our State’s cooperatives in strongly supporting this proposal.  For far too long, California’s dairy families have struggled under a system that artificially discounts the value of the milk they produce, to the tune of more than $1.5 Billion in the past five years.  We urge USDA to schedule this hearing as soon as possible and to implement this proposal that would restore a fair price for the milk our dairies produce.”

Statement from Western United Dairymen President Tom Barcellos:

“We are pleased this detailed project has finally come to fruition.  It confirms what we have known for a long time, pointing out the inequities in milk pricing that are detrimental to California producers.  We will follow its progress moving forward and keep our members fully informed as the process evolves. We encourage producers to stay engaged so that we can maintain the integrity of the proposal.”

Click HERE to download the printable version.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, February 6, 2015

Special Report: California's Cooperatives Submit Official Proposal to Create a California Federal Order
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

Normally around this time in the month, I would publish a brief article documenting the significant discount in California’s Class 4b price (for milk sold to California cheese plants) compared to the Federal Order Class III price that serves as a benchmark price for milk sold to cheese plants throughout the rest of the country.  In order to keep our readers up to date, I will once again include the information here.  This discount represented more than $450 million to California producers in 2014 alone, and more than $1.66 Billion since January 2010.

Fortunately this month, that’s not the end of the story!  Today, it was officially announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they have received a proposal from California Dairies Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes to begin the process needed to create a Federal Milk Marketing Order in California.  This marks the first time in our history that California’s major cooperatives – who collectively represent more than 75 percent of our State’s milk production – have asked to initiate this process.  This is significant, as the ultimate approval of a Federal Order in California is subject to a referendum vote of dairy farmers (2/3 majority support is needed for approval), and USDA allows cooperatives the option of bloc voting on behalf of their members.  The cooperatives’ support for this process has been the key to getting to this point.

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, March 28, 2014

The New "Margin Protection Program," Part One - An Intro
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

The ink is now dry on the new five-year Farm Bill; it’s the law of the land.  However, as we’ve written in previous issues of this newsletter, there are many details that still need to be ironed out in the “rule-making” process at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Major issues remain that were left somewhat vague in the bill language, and in the coming months, USDA will be providing clarity on those issues.

But that doesn’t mean we have to sit on our hands.  There were many details in the bill that were spelled out, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be delving into those details immediately.  First, we need to determine what we know from the bill language, and what still needs to be clarified by USDA.  Here are some of the things we know for certain from the bill:

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, January 31, 2014

Final Farm Bill Agreed On By Key Negotiators; Now Moving Through Congress
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

After several years of hearings, debates and false starts, a new five-year Farm Bill finally appears to be on the verge of becoming law.  The House of Representatives has already approved the compromise legislation by a vote of 251-166.  The agreement is now in front of the U.S. Senate, which is expected to vote on the issue very soon.  Assuming they approve the bill as well, it moves to the President for final signature into law.

So what does the bill do for U.S. dairy farmers?  We’ve already discussed some of what it does NOT do in recent issues of this newsletter.  The bill does not create a Dairy Market Stabilization Program that would create incentives to temporarily cut back milk production when our on-the-farm margins drop below certain levels.  But what the bill DOES do is replace the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) and Dairy Price Support programs with a new “Margin Protection Program” (often referred to as a “margin insurance program”). 

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, October 25, 2013

CDFA Announces Results from September 12th Milk Pricing Hearing
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

This week, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced the results from a September 12, 2013 hearing on changes to California minimum prices for milk.  CDFA Secretary Karen Ross decided to extend a temporary price increase on all five classes of milk through June 2014 (those increases were set to expire on December 31, 2013).

Before going into the announced decision and industry reaction, let me remind our readers how we got here.

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, September 27, 2013

Farm Bill Update: What is "Permanent Law" and Why Does It Matter?
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

Over the past month, the U.S. Congress has certainly had its hands full.  The media has been keeping busy covering the Syria debate, the possibility of a government shutdown, the upcoming implementation of Obamacare and the approaching debt limit.  In the midst of these issues is the effort to renew the Farm Bill; a topic that you may not find on the front page of the paper, but certainly a critical issue for many, including our nation’s dairy farmers.

We’ve written countless articles in this newsletter about the Farm Bill, and the important effort to reform the dairy safety net programs.  We’ve talked about the need to replace the current safety net (MILC and Price Support programs) with a more equitable system of margin insurance, tied to a market stabilization program that will empower our dairies with the tools to better respond to supply/demand imbalances.

Today, we’re going to look at another issue – one that is often misunderstood, yet one that seems to get headlines every time a Farm Bill is about to expire.  The issue is “permanent law.”  Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) recently made headlines when he announced he had suggested that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack begin preparing to implement “permanent law,” in the event that a new Farm Bill is not agreed to.

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, September 6, 2013

A Look at California Pooling and the Upcoming CDFA Hearing, Part Two
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

Last week, we took a look at California’s pooling system, and how changes to one or more of the five class prices impacts not only the Overbase prices paid to dairy farmers, but also the relationship each plant has with the pool.  If you missed that article, you can find it on our website at:

This week, I want to take a look at another side of this, an issue that regularly comes up in California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) hearings, but is often completely misunderstood.  Over the past couple years, California dairy farmers have made the plea to CDFA that our Class 4b price (for milk sold to California’s cheese manufacturers) should be in closer alignment with the Federal Order Class III price (the benchmark price for milk sold to cheese manufacturers throughout the country).  Those who oppose our efforts to close this gap have always pointed to the differences between the California state pricing system and the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO), claiming that those differences justify what has become a massive and expensive discount for California-produced milk (plenty of data on that point in last week’s article).

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, August 30, 2013

A Look at California Pooling and the Upcoming CDFA Hearing
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

Regular readers of this newsletter will recall that we’ve written previous articles about how our pooling system works, the interaction of the five classes of milk, and how modifications to any or all of those class formulas/prices impact the overall system. With a hearing coming up at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to discuss proposed increases to the Class 4b price (milk sold to California’s cheese manufacturers), it’s worth a refresher on exactly why it is critically important that CDFA establish proper pricing formulas, both for producer income and the relationship between the classes.

Click HERE to read the full article.

An Article Worth Another Read...
Friday, August 2, 2013

California Dairy Farmers: Watch Your Blood Pressure as you Read this Press Release from the Processors
By Rob Vandenheuvel, General Manager

As producers and their organizations navigate the political process in both Sacramento and Washington, DC, we expect a certain amount of rhetoric and political posturing.  But this week, a press release from the Dairy Institute of California really took it to a new level.  If you’re a California dairy farmer reading this for the first time, please make sure you’re in a calm state-of-mind, because this one is going to test every one of your last nerves:

Click HERE to read the full article.


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