Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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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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News for April 30, 2010

Demonized Since the 1950s – Yet Still One of Healthiest Foods Available

Mark McAfee is the founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States and clearly, one of the leaders in this industry.

In this interview, McAfee details the many health benefits of raw milk, and explains the process of raw milk production.


E-Mail Fuels Small Farm Owners' Fears

WESTMINSTER, S.C. -- An e-mail that's gone viral is warning small farm owners about a food safety bill in the US Senate.

The e-mail warns local growers about S510 and Hr875. It says the bills would allow the government to fine backyard gardeners and shut down farmers' markets, among other things.

"I think common sense isn't up in Washington DC, that is my opinion," said Westminster farmer Jim Bonham.


Why limit freedom to drink raw milk?

Raw milk? Not for me. However, for more than a few residents in the area, raw milk is a desired commodity.

More frightening to me than raw milk is the fact that its sale is illegal in Ohio. That means the collective we has decided that others are not allowed to purchase an item they believe is healthy and nutritious.

Oh, sure, it was state lawmakers and the governor who actually passed and signed the bill into law. But we all are responsible for not objecting anytime government legislates and regulates the actions of our neighbors, friends and family.


Producers raking in effects of recent raw milk boom

In the packed gymnasium at Exeter High School, farmer Luke Mahoney is engulfed in a whirlwind of activity, struggling to keep up with the crowds at the monthly winter farmer’s market.

Mahoney converses easily with customers while bagging items, weighing them and making change. A small line begins to form at the table, but it’s not potatoes and turnips these customers are after; they’re eagerly awaiting Mahoney’s half-gallon jars of raw or unpasteurized milk, stowed away like buried treasure in coolers beneath the table.

Amy Winans, an instructor in the UNH Hospitality Department, is a regular customer of Mahoney’s Brookford Farm.

“It’s real; I know where it’s coming from,” Winans said. “I saw the cow, as opposed to milk trucked in from I-don’t-know-where.”


Spreading Fresh Thoughts about Food and Farming in New York

I got my first glimpse of sustainable agriculture from my father, a North Dakota farmer who had faced the ravages of the Dust Bowl and vowed never to let that happen to his land again. His livelihood depended on healthy soils, and with two kids to feed, taking care of the land meant taking care of his family.

Thanks to his teachings, I grew up knowing that it was essential to care for the land. But it was a former student of mine, David Vetter, who really opened my eyes to the benefits of organic farming. While I carried the professor’s hat, David was the real teacher, showing me how the soil’s biological health could be restored using sound organic management.

With my father’s admonitions and David’s revelations, I made the life-changing choice in 1976 to temporarily set aside the books and return to our 3500 acre family farm in North Dakota.


Farm volunteers see benefit in working for free

PAICINES, Calif. — The morning sun lights up the blue and magenta blooms of wildflowers as Erik Ramfjord and Andrew Riddle scoop soured milk into a trough, drawing delighted squeals from a dozen free-range pigs.

A month ago, Ramfjord was an unmotivated biology major in Oregon, and Riddle didn't know what he wanted from Humboldt State University in northern California. Now they are energized, toiling from sun up to sun down for meals and a bunk on an organic ranch in central California, hundreds of miles from home.

"I consider myself extremely lucky to have stumbled upon this," says Ramfjord, 20.


The Surprising Reason Why Americans Are So Lonely, and Why Future Prosperity Means Socializing with Your Neighbors

Excerpted from the book EAARTH: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, LLC. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2010 by Bill McKibben.

Community may suffer from overuse more sorely than any word in the dictionary. Politicians left and right sprinkle it through their remarks the way a bad Chinese restaurant uses MSG, to mask the lack of wholesome ingredients. But we need to rescue it; we need to make sure that community will become, on this tougher planet, one of the most prosaic terms in the lexicon, like hoe or bicycle or computer. Access to endless amounts of cheap energy made us rich, and wrecked our climate, and it also made us the first people on earth who had no practical need of our neighbors.


Raw Milk: Getting Past the Hype

The debate over whether unpasteurized milk is a health benefit or health hazard is one that has been going for years, and it shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. Healthy food advocates often speak of it as a miracle cure for all sorts of chronic ailments, and public health officials seem to think it may as well be a tall glass of Salmonella. With such high stakes, who do you believe? People on both sides seem convinced that the issue is as black and white as a Holstein’s hide, but as with most debates, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I stumbled into the raw milk debate when I decided to try milk from Organic Pastures in Fresno, CA, whose herd is fed 100 percent well, organic pasture, but one quick glance at their website will tell what their real passion is raw milk. I’d never really given raw milk much thought, and so I had the same questions most people do about it. Is it safe? Is it really better for you? A cursory surf around the internet revealed a highly polarized debate. One side claims raw milk is deadly dangerous, and the other claims there’s no risk at all. Neither was convincing. So I dug further.


APHIS to Issue Animal Welfare Enforcement Information

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that it will begin issuing press releases announcing the outcome of enforcement actions taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

“It is clear that certain repeat offenders are not taking issues of animal welfare and humane treatment seriously enough,” APHIS Administrator Cindy Smith said.  “In turn, APHIS will not only be moving more swiftly to take enforcement action, but we will be making information about those enforcement actions available to the public through the press and on our Web site.”

Beginning in June, APHIS will issue monthly press releases that include case summaries where the agency is charging people and businesses with violations of the AWA.  The press releases will also provide summary information about closed enforcement cases and penalties levied.

The agency previously issued press releases of this nature, but discontinued the practice in 2002.

APHIS’ animal care program, responsible for the agency’s enforcement of the AWA, provides leadership for determining standards of humane care and treatment for animals, except those animals that are raised for food or fiber.

Note to Reporters:  USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.  Go to the APHIS news release page at and click on the RSS feed link.  To receive APHIS releases automatically, send an e-mail message to [email protected] and leave the subject blank.  In the message, type
subscribe press_releases.

USDA Announces Animal Disease Traceability Public Meetings

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be holding three public meetings on the animal disease traceability framework approach.  The meetings will take place next month in Missouri, Maryland and Colorado.  Additional meetings will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

On Feb. 5, 2010, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will develop a new, flexible, yet coordinated framework for animal disease traceability in the United States.  Under this new direction, states and tribal nations must establish the ability to trace, animals moving interstate back to their state of origin.  The new framework will embrace the strengths and expertise of states, tribal nations, and producers, and empower them to find and use the traceability approaches that work best for them.  The Secretary has pledged to develop this new approach as transparently and collaboratively as possible.

USDA has scheduled three public meetings to discuss animal disease traceability with livestock industry representatives and members of the public to gather feedback on appropriate approaches under the new framework.

The public meetings will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, with registration starting one hour prior to each meeting.  The meetings will be held in the following locations:

Tuesday, May 11:  Kansas City, Mo.
Thursday, May 13:  Riverdale, Md.
Monday, May 17: Denver, Colo.
Please note that there is a $4 parking charge at the Riverdale facility.  Alternatively, this site is within walking distance of the College Park metro station.

A Federal Register notice about the meetings will be forthcoming to officially announce the meetings.  Additional meetings will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Note to Reporters:  USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.  Go to the APHIS news release page at and click on the RSS feed link.  To receive APHIS releases automatically, send an e-mail message to [email protected] and leave the subject blank.  In the message, type
subscribe press_releases.



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