Since raw milk legislation is a state issue, you will gain more ground talking to your state legislators. ALL of them. And try to organize with a GROUP of like-minded individuals to push for change.
I have worked, to some degree, to legalize the sale of raw milk in Alaska for about 11 years now. This will be my 12th year. I have been working on it long before I ever had goats because I originally just wanted to buy milk for my health. Last year, with the help of some rather influential local agriculture folks, we finally had a house bill introduced. It did not pass but it did have a great deal of support. We will try again this year. :clap:
My friend has dairy goats. She said she can't sell raw milk here in Colorado but whatever someone does with it when they leave is their business..... knowing, full well, they are going to drink it. Well, she has been talking to someone about selling "shares" in her goats to eliminate any legal issues that could possibly come up. Her milk from her Lamancha's is amazing. I know because my dog told me so
It is legal in Oregon but you still have to be careful about liability. I have customers sign a disclaimer that says that the milk is being sold for pet consumption only and that, if they decide to drink it, they will be responsible to pasturize the milk. This is also posted on the refrigerator that holds the milk that people pick up from our farm.
In Alaska, shares are illegal but people are still doing it. The current regulations closed the share loophole years ago when it specifically stated that milk, in its raw form, may not even leave the farm. You can sell "not for human consumption" if you add a dye and charcoal to it and mark it with 3"-high red letters that say, "not for human consumption". I won't sell it at all, though, because if a pet is sick enough to warrant the owner calling me for milk, I don't want them to feed it dyes and charcoal.
Dr. Gerlach at the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation, who oversees the regulations attached to raw milk, has already served some cease and desist orders on farms doing cow and goat shares. Some feign ignorance, others are simply dishonest. Now they can do whatever they want, if they are a Grade-A inspected dairy that pasteurizes, but there currently is no other legal way in this state. So much for being a "frontier" state, eh? *sigh*
Constitutionally this is not a federal issue, but one belonging to the individual states.
The way to win this war is to take it to the consumers. This is what has made a difference in Texas in midwifery and what will make a difference here. This is what we tell each customer who asks us for raw when we are selling at the farmers markets, and we encourage them to contact their legislator.
Well, it does not matter if it is or is not a legal state matter. The point is to vote to bring it to attention. Right now there are over 1000's votes for this. Another is the stop NAIS which is another vote all should make.
The fact of the matter many states have tried to get this voted on at a local level but it gets shot down by dairies that feel threaten by it. This would halp many small farmers save their places. There is nothing that says it can not be a federal mandate to help out the small farmer.
"Well, it does not matter if it is or is not a legal state matter."
Not if you do not mind reinforcing the idea that the feds have control over food issues. They have already run amuck in other areas, we dont need to let them think we agree that this is their business as well.
I sort of LIKE my constituationally granted rights and feel it important to respect that division.
I don't even believe the STATE has authority in this issue. It's a matter of personal responsibility. If you are selling raw milk to someone who believes it has been pasteurized, that's a consumer fraud issue. If you are selling raw milk to someone who wants raw milk then that's a non-issue and the state (local, state, or federal) has no business in it at all.
In Wisconsin a big push was made to legalize raw milk, and then at the end the commercial dairy lobby screwed everyone over. They ended up with tighter restrictions than they'd had before.
Ernie I really dont disagree with you, but if they decide that they are going to legislate it, then constitutionally it would fall under the states jurisdiction, not the federal gov't. But ultimately? You are right on.
We have a rather small dairy industry here, that up until a year or two ago, was state subsidized (it really still is since the state is giving the private creamery that just started up and many of the farmers big low-interest loans). Anyway, when we testified for the legislature last year, we had one dairy farmer from Fairbanks that called in against the legalization of raw milk. He was the only one willing to publicly state that position but I don't know if other dairy farmers lobbied against it. I know we had opposition on the side of "we're worried about the safety of the milk", but I didn't hear anything else but support... publicly.
If you read "The Milk Book" you will read how the big dairy industry pushed for pasteurization and worked hard to quash raw milk sales and why.
Whether you pasteurize or not, you should never view pasteurization as an excuse to be lazy or run a dirty dairy.
Texas has had a boon of not only the highest prices we know of nationwide, but in consistantly high prices and soo much in the way of sales that we openly give our competitors each others milk customers, over flow, or since I don't milk winters they go elsewhere winters, coming back in the spring. Each of us has a niche market. Yes when someone goes out of business we get the perverbial form letter in the mail from Texas Department of Health, it scares a few folks from selling milk, with addresses taken from ADGA and realmilk.com stating for us to cease and decist, but they come in the mail, not hand delivered and we file them in the appropriate waste can.
In 22 years of selling milk I know of not one person in Texas who selling milk illegaly has been fined....one friend was turned in by a rival dairy but she was not popped for her dairy, but her septic.
I do know a dairy who was fined, and closed down for mud on the flanks of the does....for those who don't know anatomy of livestock, thats up to mid thigh....want to drink milk from does with much that high...that means their udder was in the mud.
With the increase of not only sales, to where I don't know anyone who can take on more customers except new facilites and of course once spring is here and we are all flush with milk, but with better prices we have seen even the filthiest of places clean up their acts, or go out of business. The worst is the ones who deliver to farmers markets, I always warn new folks to at least visit the farm once.
Dairy goat folks have always had this bad rap and most of it was deservedly so with their animals in less than clean conditions and milk rooms filthy....our customers police us now. Which is exactly how it should be. To drvie passed 3 places that sell milk to buy milk from me up in the woods, because of the mud, the smell...we all have to remember our milk customers are not farm gals, we have to remember they are city folks, who would pass out at seeing that placenta on the ground during kidding
There will be a few things in our future that the governement isn't going to be able to put back into the box. I won't go polictical, but lets just say Raw milk is one of the many. There are too many of us, and way to many customers. Vicki
Heather like most things....you do what you do. So for yourself, don't sell any milk, eggs, honey or anything raw (untested birds) from your farm without the right liscensing by the government. Don't go out of your provance without the correct health certificate to show.
I am much more of the practical type. I am careful to say Texas in my posts, because there are no teeth in the laws in Texas.
Never breaking the law is sort of like saying you never sin...we all know that isn't true.
I advocte breaking stupid laws. And liability? A grade A dairy has the exact same liability that I do. Getting a slip of paper that your facility has been lisensed gives you no less liability. What they need to do is liscense the stock, then customers will 'liscense the facility'. Vicki
I find this ironic. I'm nearly 60. Been on the farm or around farming all that time. I've NEVER talked to ANYONE who told me they got sick from raw milk. But you can buy tobacco at least one place per mile on ANY paved road in the country. I'm with Vicki. Trust me--if they could figure out how to tax on-farm raw milk sales, it'd be legal everywhere in a heartbeat.
Vicki, please, again, do not advocate breaking the law. This is different from saying "don't break the law". If you want to break the law, that is your choice and you can do it on your own without drawing others into it. That is the liability I am talking about. From the eyes of the law, you do not have the right to decide what laws are "stupid" and ok for you to break versus what laws you wish to follow. If you think it's "stupid" that you can't sell raw milk (and many do, including myself), work to change the law the right way.
Where are the mods? I cannot believe they would allow someone to advocate for breaking the law here as that may open up their liability too.
This thread is entitled "*Legalize* raw milk" (emphasis mine).
I have been milking goats and selling milk for 22 years. 22 years of clubs that petition for milk law changes. There wasn't alot of reason to change laws back in the day because there was no money in milk sales anyway, break even prices, and most selling to third parties who made candy and cheese out of it. Which in Texas is legal.
It is your choice to not sell your milk, it is my choice to stay in business. It is also my choice to tell other Texans the truth about Texas milk regs. There are thousands of herd in all states illegally selling milk, it's a can of worms that is already open.
How on earth does my saying something give HT liabiltiy? It is breaking no law to write an opinon, it isn't HT's opinion it is mine. And you are in the minority in your thinking on this issue. Vicki
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