By WUD Government Affairs Team
With the Legislature returning this week for the final five weeks of the 2020 legislative session,
the government affairs team at WUD is focused on a priority bill that would have significant
impacts dairy farmers in California. The legislation, AB 2959, would interfere with a dairy
farmer who is working with a food manufacturer or retailer to move food byproducts into feed
for our dairy cows.
Under the bill’s provisions, a dairy farmer couldn’t direct a manufacturer to “set aside” any
food byproducts allow that farmer (or a service contractor) to pick those byproducts up at a
later date. The resulting policy would tie the hands of dairy farmers who are either performing the function themselves or working with a byproducts contracting service to supply that feed. And, in cases where a franchise hauler holds the exclusive right to move all byproducts,
nothing ensures those franchise haulers will actually perform that service. We suspect many
small and medium sized dairies, particularly those furthest from a major food manufacturer
would never be served.
The public policy result of fewer dairies utilizing waste byproducts, fewer haulers to service
manufactures/retailers, means a less sustainable dairy industry in California. And, in order to replace the
byproducts that won’t be sourced, dairy farmers will either, a. have to grow more feed using more land and water, or b. buy feed on the open market which is typically produced in the Midwest and shipped by train to California. The bill translates to a less
sustainable dairy industry, additional costs for dairy farmers, and increase of emissions in order to source more feed to replace the byproducts that are currently being
COVID-19 has placed tremendous pressures on dairy families. Half of our customers
were wiped out when restaurants, hotels and institutions shut down the vast majority of their operations under the state’s stay-at-home order earlier this year. We have adapted quickly to ensure a safe and available dairy supply at grocery stores. Today, there are no retail shopping limits being imposed as there were back in March/April and we are proud of our work to ensure availability for consumers. But, we continue to have major challenges with logistics, supplies, service and a labor shortage and dairy farmers are struggling with these COVID-related costs. This is a time where we can least afford additional barriers for production that comes with a negative environmental impact. We don’t want to see either happen.
We ask you to join WUD in opposing AB 2959 by responding to email@example.com. Give us
your name, dairy name, city/county and we will make sure your Senator hears from you
about this legislation.
PS: The sponsors of this legislation, among others, are the corporate waste haulers including Recology and Republic Services. In 2018, Recology posted $1 billion in revenues, and
Republic Services, the second largest waste collection company in the United States, posted $9.4 billion
in revenue in 2016.