Virgina Dairy Regualtions Part 1

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MullersLaneFarm, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    NW-IL Fiber Enabler
    I'm posting this in the Cow, Sheep and Goat boards. This is so wrong!

    Copyright notice: The following document copyrighted by Deborah Stockton, 2004. I hereby give permission to quote, copy, and circulate this document freely under the following conditions: If you make any such use of it, you must attribute it. If you copy it, the document must be copied in its entirety, including this copyright notice. If you pass it on to others, no charge may be made, other than the actual costs of copying, if any.

    A Call to Action

    by Deborah Stockton

    "The Versatile Gift"

    "Goats are an adaptable and flexible resource, providing millions of families across the globe with vital nutrients and income from milk, butter, cheese and yogurt. In fact, more people worldwide drink goat's milk than cow's milk. The hardy goats are less expensive and easier to keep than cows, and goat manure makes great fertilizer that helps improve crop yields."
    from Heifer Project International

    While Heifer Project International provides the life giving goat, her milk and milk products to families all over the planet, while a raw dairy "speak-easy" operates underground in New York City(1), while raw dairy campaigns surge forward in states across this country and in countries all over the world(2), and while goat and cow shares increase almost daily in Virginia(3), Governor Mark Warner has signed regulations to insure that Virginians be deprived of these desirable foods, foods Virginians have been drinking and eating for centuries.

    In late November of 2004, Governor Warner signed two sets of dairy regulations scheduled, as of this writing, to become law on 26 January, 2005. The regulations are: 2 VAC 5-531, REGULATIONS GOVERNING MILK FOR MANUFACTURING PURPOSES [106 pages] (commonly referred to as "the cheese regs") and 2 VAC 5-501, REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE COOLING, STORING, SAMPLING AND TRANSPORTING OF MILK [41 pages]. The regulations were written by John Beers of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

    The Virginia Independent Consumer and Farmers Association (VICFA) has continually fought against these regulations for the last two years. In July 2003, we activated our phone tree and spoke in opposition to these proposed regulations, then unsigned, at meetings of the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. At the last Joint Commission meeting VICFA attended, we were given to understand that the Joint Commission would vote up or down whether to suspend the regulations if the Governor were to approve (sign) the final regulatory package. When contacted by a VICFA member recently about this, Senator Frank Wagner, Chairman of the Joint Commission, said that he would not, in fact, put this matter on the agenda of the Joint Commission meeting of Jan. 11, 2005, for the vote.

    Immediately after learning of the regulations being signed, VICFA reactivated the campaign against them and many members have already responded by writing letters to the Governor. Other groups, such as the Weston Price Foundation, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, and the Jefferson Area Libertarians have sent alerts to their members as well, and individual VICFA members have notified their email lists, so we are by no means alone in this effort.

    These regulations are an aggressive attempt on the part of VDACS to tightly control the dairy foods Virginians consume. These regulations ARE NOT limited to dairies selling to the public. Because of the very broad definitions used, the "cheese" regulations are applicable to any person owning any animal to milk for their own private consumption. John Beers, VDACS and Governor Warner do not want Virginians to have the choice of owning a dairy animal for the purposes of consuming her milk, or making that milk into cheese or any other product for private consumption.

    Here is their definition of a "Dairy Farm" (2VAC 5-531-10 Definitions, sec.133.134):

    'Dairy farm' means any premises where any cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo, or other mammal (except humans) are maintained and milked for the purpose of providing milk for manufacturing into dairy products as defined herein and intended for human consumption.

    Notice they do not say "intended to SELL for human consumption," but merely "for human consumption." They also do not define "manufacture" (i.e. as being intended for sale), but do define "Manufactured dairy products" (sec.133.116) to mean:

    "...butter, natural or processed cheese, dry whole milk, nonfat dry milk, dry buttermilk, dry whey, evaporated whole or skim milk, condensed whole milk and condensed plain or sweetened skim mlk."

    VDACS and Governor Warner are setting the stage to eliminate the traditional family cow or family goats or whatever animal you like to milk for yourself and your family, as well as eliminating small dairies. This is not hysteria, this is merely what the regulations will allow. These regulations are entirely subject to the interpretation of VDACS or whatever other regulatory and enforcement bodies oversee their implementation. There is nothing explicit or implicit within these regulations to eliminate or even mitigate this threat to the individual dairy animal owner.

    So instead of VDACS employees spending their days merely surfing the Internet looking for cheesemakers to put out of business as they do now (I kid you not), they will have to hire an additional army of spies to roam the countryside looking for dairy animals, checking udders, checking refrigerators--the Fourth Amendment won't apply, of course--ultimately confiscating animals no doubt, and doing what with them?

    Is it really necessary to point out the insanity of this?

    Is this the scenario Governor Warner intended when he signed these regulations? Does he want to be known and remembered as the Governor who launched this kind of attack against Virginia citizens, making it impossible for individuals to own family dairy animals, as well as for destroying small business in rural economies? These regulations are deeply flawed, and this is only one small part of the definitions section, the first section of the 106 pages of the "cheese regs."

    On page 16 of the "cheese regs," begins Section 2VAC5-531-40 Permits. Subsection "C" reads as follows:

    The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may cancel, suspend, or revoke the permit of any person, or may deny to any person a permit if:

    1. The permit holder fails to engage daily in the business for which the permit is issued.
    2. The permit holder does not daily produce, provide, manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or store in the Commonwealth of Virginia milk for manufacturing purposes or dairy product.
    3. The permit holder fails to provide at no cost to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services samples of milk for manufacturing purposes or dairy product in the person' possession for testing by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
    4. The permit holder fails to provide on a daily basis milk for manufacturing purposes or dairy product in the person's possession for sampling and testing by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. [bold accents are added]

    Daily is not defined, therefore is open to interpretation by the State, and therefore can mean 365 days a year. For a family farm this is ludicrous. The lactation cycle of a goat is generally around 10 months duration. During her lactating period, following kidding, she is re-bred around the 7th month, then 3 months later is dried off for the remainder of her 5-month gestation period so as not to overtax her system and to allow her to build up the vital colostrum for her kids. Goat owners traditionally take a break from milking during the dry-off period, giving themselves, as well as the goats, much needed rest. To insist that a small family dairy produce daily simply creates another way to revoke their permit to operate. This has nothing to do with safety and has everything to do with eliminating small dairies. This is another small sample of the nature of these regulations. Like I said, they're 106 pages long...

    Part 2 -->
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    I've decided to stick these so they'll not get lost fast. Everyone should be concerned about govt. intrudign on their way of life. Canada has a strictly controled dairy system but still allows for home production for your own use at least!

  3. greggholmes

    greggholmes Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    This is two years old

    "Public Hearing Date: March 13, 2003 - 10 a.m.
    Public comments may be submitted until 5 p.m. on December 9,

    "The proposed regulation contains provisions to foster the developing small-scale cheese processing industry in Virginia. The regulation defines "small-scale cheese plant" to establish which persons qualify for the special considerations and includes exemptions to certain requirements contained in the proposed regulation for small-scale plants processing cheese products."

    "Substance: The proposed regulation requires persons who produce and sell milk from goats, sheep, water buffalo, and other mammals (except humans) for manufacturing purposes or who manufacture and sell cheese, butter, condensed milk, powdered milk, and similar products manufactured from the milk from goats, sheep, water buffalo, and other mammals (except humans) to obtain a permit and comply with the requirements of the regulation for the first time. Persons producing and selling cow’s milk for manufacturing purposes or who manufacture and sell cheese, butter, condensed milk, powdered milk, and similar products manufactured from cow’s milk are currently required to obtain a permit under the existing regulation."