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CDFA Division of Marketing Services

Marketing Division History


The Division of Marketing Services assists producers and handlers of farm products to resolve marketing problems as well as to gather, analyze and distribute marketing information. The general purpose of the Division has not changed significantly since the State Marketing Commission Act of 1915.

Marketing Services has been identified historically by a variety of names, including the Division of Markets. Its programs and branches have varied as well. Many of the branches within the current structure were previously either in other Divisions or were organized as their own Division.

The Division currently has six branches: Marketing Branch, Market Enforcement Branch, Milk Pooling Branch, Dairy Marketing Branch, Agricultural Statistics Branch and Fairs and Expositons. Below is a brief history of each Branch.

Agricultural Statistics Branch prepares and distributes statistics on all aspects of California agriculture. The Branch provides estimates of acreage, production, and value of all major crops in the state. This activity is dependant upon the voluntary cooperation of farmers, ranchers and commodity handlers statewide. The Branch is a federal-state entity operating for more than forty years under a cooperative agreement between CDFA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The USDA itself was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The NASS traces its roots back to 1863, when USDA established a Division of Statistics. A USDA reorganization in 1961 led to the creation of the Statistical Reporting Service, known today as NASS.

Dairy Marketing Branch promotes, fosters and encourage sound production and marketing of milk that reflect market conditions by resolving critical policy issues. The Branch administers the Marketing and Stabilization Plans for Market Milk in Northern and Southern California (Plans) and works closely with its sister branch, Milk Pooling. The Branch's structure developed from a series of legislative and regulatory actions begun in the 1920s. It is currently organized into five units, each of which concentrates on a specific area of the Plans' administration: Cost of Production, Manufacturing Cost, Enforcement, Statistics and Economics. These five units have been created to service the California dairy industry and consumers. The Milk Producers Security Trust Fund (MPSTF) was created after legislation in 1987 required a general trust fund to be used in case of insolvency of any processor. It is funded by processor assessments.

Market Enforcement enforces laws enacted to ensure confidence and stability in the agricultural marketplace and to protect against unfair business practices between producers, handlers, and processors of California farm products. This branch was established in 1928 with the enactment of the Deciduous Fruit Dealers Act. That act was repealed in 1932 and replaced by the Produce Dealers Act which covers all farm products grown or produced in California except milk, timber, cattle, and vegetable seed sold between dealers. The Processors Law of 1935 was added to regulate all persons who purchase from growers California farm products for processing. In 1998 Senate Bill 1198 made major changes to the licensing, investigative and settlement activities of the Branch.

Milk Pooling administers the Pooling Plan for fluid milk which, along with the Dairy Marketing Branch, promotes, fosters and encourages the production and marketing of milk. Through the statewide pooling of revenues and their distribution to producers, gradual equalization of Class 1 (fluid milk) usage is achieved. This maintains marketing conditions and commercial stability and prosperity in the production of milk. The milk marketing laws passed in the 1930s helped stabilize the economy of the California dairy industry and established a means for regulating the minimum price paid for milk by processors to producers. During the 1960s producers saw the need for a system that would provide a more equitable allocation of the revenues generated from Class 1 milk sales. For that purpose producers and producer organizations introduced a number of milk pooling bills into the California Legislature and the Branch was created in 1969.

Marketing Branch provides administrative guidance to 56 agricultural commodity programs that are authorized to conduct promotion, research, and quality standards activities. In 1937 the Legislature passed the California Marketing Act to bring stability to agricultural markets. The Legislature believed the prosperity of agriculture was essential to the general health and well-being of all Californians. The marketing program concept enabled producers and handlers of commodities to work together to solve agriculture industry problems. Since 1937 the Marketing Act has been amended several times; other statues authorizing marketing councils and commissions have been adopted to accommodate the dynamic nature of California agriculture.

In 2015, Fairs & Expositions (F&E) became a branch within the Division of Marketing Services. F&E provides fiscal and policy oversight of the network of California fairs and ensures the best use of available funding and other services.