On May 12, California Democratic Congressman Jim Costa introduced the Dairy Price Stabilization Act, a bill designed to match milk supply and demand levels. Dairy Profit Weekly editor, Dave Natzke, reported details in Friday’s broadcast and said that, under the program, dairy farmers could limit annual production to a base level determined by a farmer board and USDA, or pay a market access fee to increase production beyond that base. Money paid into the program would be distributed to farmers who stay within their base production levels
If the bill passes, farmers would have to vote to approve the plan, and vote three years later to continue it. We’ll have more on this as the bill makes its way in Congress.
Natzke went on to discuss the development this week regarding the sale of raw milk. Federal law currently prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk to consumers, he said, but allows states to regulate those sales within their borders. Bills allowing raw milk sales advanced in several states this spring, including in Wisconsin, where Governor Jim Doyle was scheduled to sign a bill this week adding America’s Dairyland to the list of nearly 30 states allowing raw milk sales or distribution.
Both the National Milk Producers Federation and International Dairy Foods Association have criticized proponents for downplaying the food safety risks related to raw dairy products, and fear disease outbreaks related to raw milk could damage dairy’s overall healthy image.
Recently, Whole Foods, the 10th largest food and drug store in the United States, and PCC Natural Markets, the largest consumer-owned natural food retail cooperative in the United States, have ceased raw milk sales over medical liability concerns, Natzke reported.
Raw milk advocates, on the other hand, say properly managed and licensed farms provide no health risks, and that consumer interest in raw milk is growing, spurred on by what they say is greater demand for natural products and a source for locally produced food. The Second Annual International Raw Milk Symposium was held in Madison, Wisconsin, in April, attracting about 250 people from 28 states and four countries, according to Natzke.