Category Archives: Raw Milk

They are Rounding Up the Raw Milk Drinkers

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January 25, 2018     By Bernadette Barber 

Twin bills in the Virginia legislature, SB 962 by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-26) and HB 825 by Del. Barry Knight (R-81) are the first steps in destroying the very farm operations that allow people to access cream line raw milk ( farm fresh, unpasteurized, unhomogenized).

In the 1950’s it was common to purchase raw milk in VA. Over the course of time, industrialization forced smaller dairies out of the countryside. By the 70’s and 80’s people were missing that good old real milk. They sought it out and by default, since by then outright purchase was illegal, they found that it was not illegal to drink milk from your own cow. So it began, cow shares and herd shares sprang up in Virginia.

People chose raw milk for a myriad of reasons, taste, healthfulness and ability to know the farmer who milks the cow are three major ones.

To understand the gravity of the situation, one must understand the power hungry milk processors at the state level and the national level. They have well paid lobbyists. The lowly dairy farmer him or herself does not make a fortune on milking cows. They might make a dollar a gallon- (it is measured by weight not volume). On the other hand the processors, who manufacture the creams, yogurts, butters, flavored milks, cheeses and more are making a fortune. Sometimes the margins are so slim on items they constantly must create new items to appeal to the masses. Over the course of time competing industries have interfered with profit margins. Enter protein and power beverages, designer teas, gatorade, coconut milk, almond milk, designer juices and more. They all command attention at the grocery store and the dairy industry is losing the customer base it once had.

Citing USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Data from 2012 to 2016, annual conventional milk sales declined by 8%, (that’s 4 billion pounds) and organic milk sales increased by 20%. The decrease in fluid milk sales transfers to an annual decline of $1.7 billion dollars as reported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

So there it is, the bottom line. Fluid milk sales is a mult-billion dollar trade. And they don’t want to share. So in come the RINO republicans and industry advocates, Barry Knight and Mark Obenshain to kill off a small thriving community of cow-sharing- organic-raw-milk drinkers and farmers.

Do yourself a lovely favor this day, consider acquiring some raw cream for your coffee. And do some online research. In one search use the word CAFO and in another use the words cow share. See which model you would like to use for your personal food consumption. And ask yourself why Knight and Obenshain want to destroy small farm operations.

If you have more time, please call Del. Knight 804-698-1081 and Sen. Obenshain 804-698-7526 and ask them to withdraw the bills.  Because they are both on the Agriculture Committees, they do represent ALL Virginians in that aspect, please don’t let the gatekeeper deny your voice.   It will help some small farmers.

For more information on the issue and to get involved,  please view and join   www.vicfa.org 

Thanks for all your help,

Bernadette Barber

 

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By the Gallon and By the Piece

by Bernadette Barber  

 If people were to be able to enter a processing facility, they could inspect for themselves what they wish to know about the foods they deem healthful or safe. On a smaller production scale, localized within a community, people have that ability to see where and by whom something was handcrafted for consumption. It would be for the benefit of all that we open these areas of production. The problem is there is no real economy of scale to support a federal or state inspector’s salary.  When one would sell only a dozen gallons of milk a week or a hundred pieces of beef or pork, there is no financial justification for a state or federal inspector, but considering that the processing operation is small enough and local enough for a buyer to inspect the dairy farm or butcher shop him or herself, is there a need for a third party inspector?

Right now the only way to purchase local milk or beef is to “own a piece of the cow,” live on the hoof. It’s kind of expensive. Cow-share operations are a legal arrangement to board a cow, but it gives you the opportunity to have your own milk. Buying a quarter or a half of a beef is pretty expensive if you live paycheck to paycheck. Many people cannot come up with the cost of a large chest freezer, have room for one, or have $500 to buy steaks from their local farmer. But those are the only options for the small farmer to arrange sales of his product.

It’s time we legalized Raw Milk sales and Virginia took back her control of Meat production from the Federal Government, so that we can rebuild our economy and save our farms, by the gallon and by the piece.