By Pete Kennedy, Esq.
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick filed final emergency rules governing herdshare operators on August 26. The emergency regulations are in effect for fifteen months at which point the state department of agriculture will have to go through the usual rulemaking process if it wants to issue new rules. The rules are a substantial improvement over the regulations Helmick originally published in June which were so burdensome that they amounted to a de facto ban on herdshares. Thanks to strong opposition from raw milk producers and consumers, the final rules have improved to the point where herdshare farmers actually have a chance to make a living.
The proposed regulations include the following requirements:
Onerous requirements in the proposed rule such as a food safety plan [Risk Analysis and Management Program (RAMPO)] and a “written recall and critical incident management plan” have been scrapped. The influence that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources had in the proposed rule, with its attempts to prevent herdshare operations from getting off the ground, looks to have been absent in the final rule. There can be further improvement in the regulations, but this is a good start for shareholder dairies in the state.
This article first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
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