By Pete Kennedy, Esq.
Acceptance of raw milk by the “mainstream” continues to grow. The National Farmers Union (NFU) adopted pro-raw milk policies at its 111th Annual Convention, held in Springfield, Massachusetts March 2-5. The raw milk provisions NFU passed at its convention read, “We support:
a) The production and sale of raw milk as it provides a viable market niche for dairies. Because of the possible risks of cross contamination, we recommend that raw milk be bottled as the product of a single source and wherever possible at the physical location of that source. Single source bottling will keep intact the chain of responsibility and greatly aid in tracking possible cases of contamination,
b) Policies, practices and standards for responsible raw milk production for dairy producers that choose to produce raw milk (or raw dairy products) for human consumption, and
c) Equal access to raw milk (and/or raw dairy products) for human consumption for all consumers that choose to consume raw milk.”
In addition to the adopted policies, NFU delegates supported an end to the ban on the interstate distribution of raw milk. Mark McAfee, founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy, proposed the policies on behalf of the Californian delegation to the convention; delegates from Pennsylvania and the northeastern states were the proposal’s main supporters.
NFU was established in 1902 and is one of the oldest national farmer organizations; it employs a team of state and national lobbyists to encourage pro-farm legislation and policy. NFU’s sister branch in the United Kingdom is moving in the same direction. In May the UK-NFU Dairy Board adopted a resolution supporting raw milk; the full NFU Council still needed to vote for the proposal to become official policy. On both sides of the Atlantic, NFU is acknowledging the demand for raw milk and is working to give its dairy members a chance to opt out of the commodity system.
This is an update on March 18th 2015 from the NFU annual convention held in Whichita Kansas.
As a returning NFU delegate representing all of CA farmers, I was able to finally define the word raw. The policy committee rejected the idea of a definition of raw because of all the fake heated raw cheese that is being made by big processors. On the floor of the conference, I argued the point and the congress agreed to a definition of raw that said: food in its naturally occurring form. That’s the best we could do…a more definitive description was rejected.
The policy committee also struck support for interstate commerce of raw milk…even though, NFU policy still stands for universal access to responsibly produced raw milk. I argued for continued support for interstate commerce of raw milk….but the big dairy processor factions struck it down. The Midwest is the problem. They love their processors, their GMOs, spray everything, everything in a preserved or fast food in a box concepts. The east and west coast farmers completely depart from these ideas. It has been noted this year…that NFU farmers can be clearly divided into two groups and the line is clear between those that ” sell to consumers and those that sell to brokers or processors”. This year NFU voted to strike support for the abolition of tail docking. Last year they supported abolition of tail docking. Sounds like NFU has trouble with staying the course with their ethical and moral true north. Again…it is the Midwest and north Dakota that lead the pro GMO tail docking spray it all fight. They are also the ones that sell very little food to final consumers that care about these things.
Stay the course ….stay true to our children’s health regardless of the Midwest.