Monday, April 11, 2011

Raw Law

Raw milk evolves into raw ice cream with a little help
from farmer  Keith and the Kitchen Aid mixer

A year ago Keith and I decided to cease selling our milk to Foremost Farms after a decade long relationship with them. This decision came about right about the time they told us they would stop BUYING our milk from us if we continued to sell small amounts of raw milk  directly off our farm. Coincidence ? Hardly. If you would like to see the whole story click here

Hard to believe it has been a year. So much has happened. Our income from Foremost Farms disappeared overnight, as did quite a bit of our anxiety in regards to our raw milk sales. Many of our fellow dairy farming friends expressed concern for us. We were surprised by the number of them who were misinformed about the raw milk laws of Illinois. Some thought we would go to jail or be "shut down." These fears are not unfounded in light of the goofy actions happening across our country due in great part to legislation that is outdated and not based on research. To date it is still legal to sell raw milk in Illinois as long as the consumer brings their own container to the dairy farm. Sadly the law states we cannot advertise that we sell raw milk.( For a list of the current raw milk laws in each state go here )

Frustrating.   Beyond frustrating. How is it that one law says YES you can sell raw milk while the another law says NO, you may not advertise.?  And one more question still unanswered, what is the definition of  "advertise ".  The restriction flys in direct opposition (in my opinion) to THIS law I came across recently

505 ILCS 70/0.01) (from Ch. 5, par. 90z)

Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Farm Products Marketing Act.

(Source: P.A. 86‑1324.)

(505 ILCS 70/1) (from Ch. 5, par. 91)

Sec. 1. Every farmer, fruit and vine grower, and gardener, shall have an undisputed right to sell the produce of his farm, orchard, vineyard and garden in any place or market where such articles are usually sold, and in any quantity he may think proper, without paying any state, county or city tax, or license, for doing so, any law, city or town ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, that the corporate authorities of any such city, town or village may prohibit the obstruction of its streets, alleys and public places for any such purpose: And, provided further, that nothing in this Act shall be so construed as to authorize the sale of spirituous, vinous or malt liquors, contrary to laws which now are or hereafter may be in force prohibiting the sale thereof.

(Source: P.A. 84‑1308.)

So lets see, I ,the farmer,  have the right to sell the produce from my farm but I don't have the right to advertise that I am selling it other than word of mouth. WHY ? How is it my neighbor can put a sign in his front yard advertising his free-range eggs, his pumpkins, her apples and berries ? How can you tell me that I cannot advertise one of our farm products from which we make a living. ?

I find these laws related to raw milk in Illinois to be  illogical and inconsistent.  It is past time that someone in Illinois took on the challenge of  getting these laws changed.

Anyone ? Anyone ?

Oh OK. I'll start walking the talk, but I could use some new athletic shoes (size 10 W)  if anyone is in the mood to donate to the cause.

1 comment:

  1. IL state Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) has a GMO labeling bill in this session (HB 1249) so at least someone in IL is paying attention to food.

    Are your state legislators at all interested in farms and food? Sadly, laws don't just get changed by asking someone to do something about them.

    Also, don't forget the huge money ponied up by Dean Foods, et al to keep the status quo whereby dairy farmers are forced into loans to buy more and more cows and equipment while dairy buyers keep slashing prices once they've got the farmer on the hook.

    There's a farmer near me in northwestern La Salle County that's thinking about adding dairy. I've been urging him to follow your blog.