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Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero

Julie-Trautman-Milking-Wanda

Julie Trautman Milking Wanda

Public Hearing Scheduled for March 10, Legislators to Hear from Raw Dairy Proponents

by Kimberly Hartke, Publicist for Weston A. Price Foundation

Last week, Lancaster Farming and a number of other papers ran an excellent article, Raw Milk Debate Spills into Capitols and Courts by Michael Crumb, who covers Agriculture for the Associated Press an influential news wire service.

The article states:

Lawmakers in seven states — Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming — have introduced measures this year seeking to change laws governing raw milk. The Falls Church, Va.- based Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund also has filed lawsuits in California, Iowa, Missouri, New York and Wisconsin challenging various aspects of states’ laws regarding raw milk.

I spoke to Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) over the weekend about Wisconsin, in particular. Ever since learning of Scott Trautman’s troubles (click on this link to see a video that will make you cry) with the state regulators, I have been concerned about what is going on there, in particular. I learned from Pete that Wisconsin, by far, has more dairy farms than any other state. And, what happens in Wisconsin, may not stay in Wisconsin, as Pete says “it is a bellwether state” for the work of his FTCLDF around the country.

Me, I am calling it ground zero. An explosion of interest in the raw milk issue has taken place, largely because of what is happening to farmers at the hands of Wisconsin bureaucrats. More citizens are starting to question the merits of outdated laws that would keep them from accessing a wholesome food product, especially when the product comes from your own cow.

Many of you are aware that a landmark decision on cow share programs was just rendered by a justice of the peace in Canada, and we need similar rulings and/or legislation in America.

Here is the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s current position on raw milk:  http://datcp.state.wi.us/fs/consumerinfo/food/health/raw_milk/index.jsp

DATCP last fall began a series of “enforcement actions” against a number of small farms it suspected of having cow boarding programs or “incidental” sales of raw milk (they interpret incidental to mean more than once to the same person–very strict, indeed). Their dragnet includes demanding business records from Max Kane, a raw dairy activist, Pepin County Family Farm, among others.

Pete Kennedy, Esq. of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund has this to say:

DATCP’s position is that if a dairy is unlicensed, milk produced at the dairy cannot leave the farm.  This is in conflict with other Wisconsin law that recognizes the right of owners of dairy animals to board those animals on someone else’s property.  The agency does not regulate those owning and boarding their own dairy animals to consume raw milk produced by those animals; however, DATCP is claiming that it is illegal for someone who owns a cow and boards the cow on another’s property to obtain raw milk from the cow.  This is the agency’s position whether or not the dairy boarding the cow is licensed.

See the rest of his article:
Wisconsin – How DATCP Denies Raw Milk Consumers Their Rights

Here is what one of the Wisconsin politician’s has to say about the compliance “climate” in his state:

“This extremely detailed request for information from DATCP seems over the top and overly burdensome. As a former police officer, I understand the need to enforce existing laws on the books, but this request seems more like harassment than an effort to enforce existing law.”

Here is the complete press release:

Rep Danou Critical of DATCP’s “Interrogatories” of Pepin County Family Farm

I spoke with Max Kane this morning. He says of the 15,000 dairy farms in his state, only 18 are being targeted by DATCP for suspected raw dealings. He added that the majority of dairy farms in Wisconsin are smaller farms, not factories, with 20, 50, 100 cows. Kane believes that because they are doing traditional dairying, 80-90% of dairy farmers in the state drink their milk raw.

Max pointed out that even if 100 dairy farms in the state were doing a raw milk cow share, they would still represent an insignificant percentage of the overall dairy market.

What You Can Do to Help

A bill that will legalize the sale of raw milk and raw milk products has been introduced in both the Wisconsin General Assembly (AB 628) and the Senate (SB 434).

On March 10, the concerned public is invited to testify before the General Assembly House and Senate committees currently considering raw milk legislation to protect consumer access to the milk of their choosing. Details can be found on Kathryn Pirtle’s blog. Please, if you care about freedom of choice, free trade, and free enterprise, make every effort to be there. If you are a Wisconsin resident and unable to make it, please write a letter to your legislators asking for their support for this bill.

Max Kane told me that the bill is a good bill which would allow Grade A dairy’s to offer raw milk, as long as they have a sign which has the disclaimer: “raw milk doesn’t offer the protection of pasteurization”. Kane would like to see the bill come out of committee, unchanged, for a floor vote.

If you are on facebook, please fan the Wisconsin Alliance for Raw Milk (WARM). You will be able to register your attendance at the public hearing on the event listing on the WARM facebook page. Since registration is not required, and many attendees are not on facebook, we do not expect this tally to accurately reflect turnout at the public hearing.

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, and their Campaign for Real Milk. She is a cowshare owner in the state of Virginia, and thanks her state regulators for supporting and helping her farmer establish a state approved herd share program. Raw milk and other dietary and lifestyle changes have helped her overcome a debilitating knee condition and resume a pain free life.

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Comments

  1. This is an awesome blog, Kim. Thanks for keeping us informed and up-to-date on the farm fresh milk political scene which is so dynamic right now.

    I would like to stress the fact that the salaries of state officials who do the harrassing is paid for by our tax dollars, as is the subsidizing of these large industrial dairies federally through the Farm Bill. Our tax dollars at work but not for us.

    Sylvia

  2. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Good point Sylvia. Someone in Facebook commented that we should ask for their jobs back!

    As someone who has been healed from a painful malady with the help of raw milk, I consider the gross insensitivity of the government to be just that. Gross and insensitive!

Trackbacks

  1. Performance without Pain :: Optimal Nutrition via Nutrient Dense Foods » Wisconsin Raw Milk Hearing–Ground Zero–Be There says:

    […] http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/ […]

  2. […] to allow Grade A dairies to continue their cowboarding and raw milk sales. See details and links at: http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/ Tags: Bill, public hearing, raw milk, Wisconsin Leave a […]

  3. Performance without Pain :: Optimal Nutrition via Nutrient Dense Foods » Raw Milk Proponents Expect Large Crowd at Wisconsin Raw Milk Hearing says:

    […] A previously planned public assembly hearing in Madison on March 16, 2010 has been rescheduled for the same date and moved to the Eau Claire location. Now, a joint-hearing for the raw milk bill by both the Assembly and Senate committees will be on the same day of March 10. The members of both committees will be in attendance.  For background on the situation, see blog Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero, http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/. […]

  4. […] A previously planned public assembly hearing in Madison on March 16, 2010 has been rescheduled for the same date and moved to the Eau Claire location. Now, a joint-hearing for the raw milk bill by both the Assembly and Senate committees will be on the same day of March 10. The members of both committees will be in attendance.  For background on the situation, see blog Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero, http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/. […]

  5. […] A previously planned public assembly hearing in Madison on March 16, 2010 has been rescheduled for the same date and moved to the Eau Claire location. Now, a joint-hearing for the raw milk bill by both the Assembly and Senate committees will be on the same day of March 10. The members of both committees will be in attendance.  For background on the situation, see blog Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero, http://hartkeisonline.com/2010/03/01/wisconsin-raw-milk-ground-zero/. […]

  6. […] understand the background on the Wisconsin public hearing, see my recent blog post Wisconsin Raw Milk Ground Zero. This public hearing is so significant, we ask that you make every effort to attend. Dave Gumpert […]

  7. […] has been most dramatically illustrated recently, by the ongoing struggle over consumer access to farm-fresh raw milk.  Despite overwhelming public support for the availability of this whole unprocessed raw milk, and […]

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