State agriculture officials have denied a request by California milk producers to factor rising energy costs into the formula it uses to set the minimum price paid for their milk.
Farmers say they need these increases to offset rising utility costs and survive. But the Department of Food and Agriculture said it fears that increases would make such California dairy products as cheese, butter and powdered milk too expensive.
"We did not want our producers to be in a position where they could not compete with other states," said Kelly Krug, dairy marketing manager for the Department of Food and Agriculture. "We think that's best addressed [with support programs] at the national level."
But milk producers say that since much of the state's production goes to fluid milk, which is consumed mostly in California, this shouldn't have as much impact.