Raw Milk Bills Across the States: South Dakota, West Virginia, Maryland and Vermont

Rules and regulations pertaining to raw milk have been examined in several states over the past month. Here’s a roundup of what is happening across the country with raw milk bills:

South Dakota: New Bill Introduced to Clarify Raw Milk Rules

Senator Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City) has introduced a bill to clarify and improve raw milk regulations that were adopted in November 2013. Opponents of the November 2013 regulations expressed concern that they were so strict that it would be nearly impossible for local farms to sell raw milk, and that they could be enforced improperly, resulting in the shut down of some small dairy producers.

In early January, the Department of Agriculture manipulated the regulations to unjustly shut down a producer for the wrong species of listeria. Senator Jensen argues that this new bill goes to the heart of a “…food freedom issue. South Dakotans deserve to be able to produce and consume what they like without interference.”

West Virginia: Proposed Bills Would Allow Raw Milk Sales

West Virginia is one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to the sales of raw milk but two new bills, Senate Bill 478 and House Bill 4273, would legalize sales in one form or another. Senate Bill 478 would allow raw milk sales beginning in January 2015, making the Department of Agriculture responsible for establishing regulations that must be approved by the Legislature. House Bill 4273 would allow raw milk sales through herd sharing (also known as cow sharing or cow boarding), which is common practice in other states. Petition your support for the bills here.

Maryland: Cow Boarding Bill Awaiting Vote

On January 28, 2014, the Maryland House of Representatives held a hearing on bill HB 3, “Raw Milk/Consumer-Owned Livestock,” which would reintroduce cow boarding in the state. Cow boarding allows residents to buy shares in a cow, granting them access to that cow’s fresh milk, raw from the farm. The bill will now have to be voted out of committee before moving on to the full House.

Vermont: Rural Vermont Pushes for Ease of Raw Milk Regulations

Five years ago, Vermont began regulating raw milk production and sales across the state. Now, a group of local farmers and concerned citizens have banded together to push for easing some of these rules. Rural Vermont intends to bolster support for Bill S.70 which proposes allowing the sale of raw milk at farmers markets, making required animal health testing more “reasonable and affordable,” and changing the language of warning labels, among other goals.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab