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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods.
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***WI - ACTION ALERT***

URGENT - ATTEND JOINT HEARING TO SUPPORT KEY RAW MILK LEGISLATION IN WISCONSIN

10:00 a.m. Wednesday - March 10, 2010
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Auditorium - Room 106
620 W. Clairemont Avenue
Eau Claire, Wisconsin  54701

Click below for the flyer - please distribute to others
Flyer as MS Word file (.doc)
Flyer as PDF file (.pdf)
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OVERVIEW

Wisconsin is at the center of a growing battle over freedom of food choice and the right to have access to raw milk.  While there is a general prohibition against the sale of raw milk, there are several exemptions allowing its sale, with the scope of the exemptions currently being under dispute.  One thing everyone agrees on, however, is that there is a legal right in Wisconsin to consume raw milk; unfortunately, recent enforcement actions taken by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) are making it difficult to exercise this right.

DATCP is not protecting the public health in its enforcement actions against raw milk producers; it is interfering with the rights of consumers to do what they believe is best for their health and the health of their families.  

Legislation to 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).  A joint hearing on both bills will be held on March 10 in Eau Claire at 10:00 a.m.  Everyone who supports the freedom to consume the foods of your choice needs to attend.  

The size of the turnout at the hearing will largely determine whether the bills pass.

TAKE ACTION - WISCONSIN RESISDENTS

  • Call members of the Assembly Committee on Rural Economic Development and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Higher Education (listed at the end); urge them to support the raw milk bills AB 628 and SB 434.
  • If you would like to speak at the hearing, indicate that on the registration card when you enter the hearing.  Speakers may be limited to 2-3 minutes; so, it is recommended that you have copies of your speech for the committee members.

TAKE ACTION - EVERYONE

BACKGROUND

In the past five months, DATCP has issued orders to three farms (Zinniker Farm Inc. in Elkhorn, Trautman Family Farm in Stoughton, and the Siegmann farm in Rubicon), prohibiting them from selling raw milk; if any of the farms is found selling raw milk, that farm can be charged with contempt.  In addition, DATCP is officially investigating two other dairy farms, requesting records from the farms going back many years including contact information for anyone who has contracted to receive products from the farms.  Another investigation into a food buyers club (Belle's Lunchbox operated by Max Kane) suspected of distributing raw milk and raw milk products has been ongoing for over a year now.  The Legal Defense Fund has filed two lawsuits against DATCP on behalf of two dairies (Grassway Organics in New Holstein and the Zinnikers and those obtaining raw milk from the dairies) to uphold the legality of the dairies' distribution of raw milk.

The most common way Wisconsin consumers legally obtain raw milk is through the "incidental sale" exemption.  Under state statute, the "incidental sale" of raw milk directly to consumers at the dairy farm where the milk is produced is not prohibited.   According to an agency guideline, repeat sales to a member of the public do not qualify as incidental; in other words, there is a violation of the law if a consumer purchases raw milk twice from a farm.  The agency's interpretation of what constitutes an "incidental sale" in practice has been inconsistent.  For a more detailed account of raw milk in Wisconsin, go to http://farmtoconsumer.org/news/news-10feb2010-wi.htm

TALKING POINTS
1. The raw milk bills need to pass to protect consumer freedom of choice.  DATCP's enforcement actions against dairy farmers are restricting consumer access to raw milk.

2. The bills will help many Wisconsin dairy farmers to stay in business with the increased income they will earn from selling raw milk.  The state has lost over 16,000 dairy farms since 1995.

3. The bills will improve rural economies with raw milk being the catalyst for other on-farm sales.  Consumers are willing to travel farther to obtain raw dairy than they would for other farm products; but while on the farm, they will often buy other foods.

4. Passage of the bills will improve the state's overall economy as people from neighboring states spend money with other businesses in Wisconsin while traveling to purchase raw milk.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact:  Janet Brunner in Wisconsin at 715-285-5331 or [email protected]
                Pete Kennedy at 703-208-FARM(3276) or [email protected]

SUPPORT THE FARM-TO-CONSUMER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND'S WORK IN WISCONSIN
Join the Fund or Donate to the Wisconsin WarChest

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund - For Farmers and Consumers Defending the Right to Buy and Protecting the Right to Sell Nutritious Food Directly from the Farm.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Senate - Agriculture and Higher Education
Senator Kathleen Vinehout (Chair)  (608) 266-8546 Or (877) 763-6636
[email protected]

Senator Jeffrey Plale (608) 266-7505
[email protected]

Senator Sheila Harsdorf (608) 266-7745
[email protected]

Bill Sponsor: Senator Dan Kapanke (608) 266-5490 Or (800) 385-3385
[email protected]

Bill Sponsor: Senator Pat Kreitlow (608) 266-7511 Or (888) 437-9436
[email protected]

Assembly - Rural Economic Development
Representative Phil Garthwaite (Chair)  (608) 266-1170
[email protected]

Representative Fred Clark  (608) 266-7746 Or (888) 534-0042
[email protected]

Representative Dan Meyer  (608) 266-7141 Or (888) 534-0034
[email protected]

Representative Lee Nerison  (608) 266-3534 Or (888) 534-0096
[email protected]

Representative Andy Jorgensen (608) 266-3790
[email protected]

Representative Kristen Dexter  (608) 266-9172
[email protected]

Representative Brett Davis  (608) 266-1192 Or (888) 534-0080
[email protected]

Representative John Murtha  (608) 266-7683
[email protected]

Representative Ann Hraychuck  (608) 267-2365 Or (888) 529-0028
[email protected]

Representative Jeffrey Wood  (608) 266-1194 Or (888) 534-0067
[email protected]

 

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