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.