Invitation accepted to jointly develop hearing testimony

By Tom Barcellos, President, Western United Dairymen - - At last month’s board meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed the two petitions that had been filed with the California Department of Food and Agriculture in early March that sought changes to the manner in which whey is valued in the 4b formula. By design, the two petitions were filed seeking identical adjustments to the 4b formula. The Secretary granted a hearing on the petitioned changes that is scheduled for May 31 and June 1, 2012. The Western United Dairymen Board of Directors directed staff to invite California Dairies, Inc., Land O’Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America, the Alliance of Western Milk Producers, Security Milk Producers, Milk Producers Council and California Dairy Campaign to collaborate in drafting and developing testimony for the upcoming hearing. The WUD board felt that since the two petitions were seeking exactly the same changes to the 4b formula, that efficiency and effectiveness of the testimony might be enhanced by sharing thoughts and ideas amongst the producer side of the equation. WUD staff did just that and extended the invitation on March 20. In a letter dated March 28, 2012, David Walsh an attorney with the law firm of Paul Hastings, LLP from Los Angeles, responded. Mr. Walsh indicated that, on behalf of his clients whom we had invited to collaborate, he was accepting our invitation to work together to develop testimony for the hearing next month. The WUD board is pleased that Mr. Walsh’s clients have accepted our invitation to move forward. We recognize the importance to producers of a positive outcome to the upcoming hearing. April 6, 2012 WUD Friday Update