Kansas Raw Milk Advertising Ban Lifted

By Pete Kennedy, Esq.

On November 6, 2019, the Shawnee County District Court approved a settlement between dairy farmers Mark and Coraleen Bunner and the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) that ends the off-farm advertising ban for raw milk sales in Kansas. Raw milk sales are legal only on the farm in Kansas; state statute previously limited advertising to a sign on the farm premises.

The Kansas Justice Institute filed the lawsuit on October 28 against Mike Beam, KDA Secretary, to end the advertising ban on behalf of the Bunners. State Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office represented KDA, stated, “The statute restricting advertising does not comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s modern application of the First Amendment to commercial speech and is plainly unconstitutional.” As part of the court settlement, there is a permanent injunction in place prohibiting KDA from enforcing the advertising ban. The state legislature is expected to remove the ban from statute in the near future. The lawsuit marks the second time in recent years that there has been a successful effort to end a state raw milk advertising ban; in 2016 as a result of a suit filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of dairy farmer Christine Anderson, the Oregon Legislature passed a law ending its state ban on advertising raw milk sales.

This article was published in the Winter 2019 issue of Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Pete Kennedy Pete Kennedy is a Florida attorney who has worked on issues governing raw milk production and distribution since 2004. He compiled a summary of raw milk laws in each of the fifty states and is currently a consultant for WAPF on, among other things, policies and laws regarding raw milk. Pete was a founding board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and served as vice president and then president for many years. He has consulted on and drafted raw milk, cottage foods, and food sovereignty legislation; drafted and reviewed herdshare agreements; worked on embargo, seizure, and recall cases involving raw dairy products; worked on foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to raw milk consumption; handled issues involving on-farm slaughter, custom meat, and poultry processing as well as problems with zoning and local ordinances.