***WI - ACTION ALERT***
Raw Milk Bill Introduced in WisconsinIn passing this information on to others without internet access, encourage them to call the Wisconsin Legislative Hotline. Hotline operators will take messages only for the Senator or Representative for the district in which the caller lives. If the name of the state legislator is not known, the operators can locate that information. For larger cities such as Milwaukee, Madison, or Green Bay, which have multiple
State Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) and State Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) have introduced a bill that would legalize the on-farm sale of raw milk and raw milk products in Wisconsin. Under the bill, any milk producer who has a Grade A dairy farm permit shall be issued a permit by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) upon the producer's request. Specifically, a milk producer may sell raw milk, buttermilk, butter and cream directly to a consumer on the producer's farm if all of the following requirements are met:
(1) the producer has a permit to sell raw milk and raw milk products,
(2) "either milk producer or the consumer provides a sanitary container for the product that has been prepared in a sanitary manner and the container is filled in a sanitary manner",
(3) at the place where products are sold, the milk producer displays a sign that is easy for a consumer to read and that states, "Raw milk products sold here. Raw milk products do not provide the protection of pasteurization."
The bill provides that a milk producer who sells a prouct in accordance with these requirements "is immune from civil liability for the death of or injury to an individual caused by the product, unless the death or injury was caused by willful or wanton acts or omissions."
Introduction of the bill comes at a time when DATCP has been steping up enforcement actions against those farmers the agency believes are selling raw milk. DATCP has issued orders to two dairies prohibiting them from making raw milk available to anyone not either residing or working on the dairy farm. The agency has indicated its policy will be to proceed against all farms it suspects of selling raw milk.
Many of the state's dairy farmers are desperately in need of the additional income that selling raw milk and raw milk products would provide. Prices being paid to farmers by dairy processors for milk have increased slightly in recent weeks but are still below the farmers' cost of production. There are more dairy farms in Wisconsin than in any other state in the country but that number is fast decreasing. According to Wisconsin's Agricultural Statistics Service as of the first week of November, there were 12,965 dairy herds in the state, a drop of over 500 herds from just a year earlier. In 1995 there were about 29,000 dairy farms in the state.
Wisconsin residents are urged to call their legislators and ask them to vote for the raw milk bill (currently identified as LRB 3242/3). Here's the link to find your legislators and call them directly: Find Your Legislator
Representatives, it is helpful to know the ward in which the caller resides.
The Wisconsin Legislative Hotline can be reached at:
Local Madison Number 266-9960
Statewide Toll Free 800-362-9472
Hearing Impaired 800-228-2115