The nation’s largest dairy-producing state is facing another delay in an attempt to create a new federal milk marketing order.
California produces more milk than any other state in the U.S., but producers there receive less for their milk than those in any other state. Dairy in California is under a state marketing order, rather than federal. For more than two years, the dairy industry has sought the creation of a new federal milk marketing order. The first hearings started in September, 2015.
The process is now delayed, awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on a related legal matter. It involves the employment status of Administrative Law Judge Jill Clifton, who presided over that September 2015 hearing. In question is whether Administrative Law Judges are inferior officers of the United States, or employees.
According to the USDA, if it is determined the Administrative Law Judges are inferior officers rather than employees, then ALJ Clifton’s original appointment as an ALJ would be brought into question.
A decision is expected this summer, and until that is settled, the decision on a federal milk marketing order for California is on hold.