Turlock, Hilmar dairy leaders named to fed committee

Two dairy leaders from the Northern San Joaquin Valley were named today to a new committee that will advise U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the industry’s economic troubles.

They are Ray Souza, a Turlock-area dairy farmer, and Patricia Stroup of Hilmar, a group manager for Nestle USA.

Souza, president of Western United Dairymen, is among the farming representatives on the 17-member Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. Stroup, formerly with Hilmar Cheese Co., is among the processor members.

The committee will look for ways to avoid severe milk price drops like the one that hit farmers a year ago, Vilsack said in an August visit to Modesto. Members will serve for two years.

The committee also has representatives of state government, retailers, academia and consumers.

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