|“The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.” |
― Ogden Nash, Free Wheeling
"Free Milk to the first person who gets that annoying fly off my nose"
Polly the cow at South Pork Ranch
For years we lived, if not completely in fear, but certainly in caution, of our own state government. Due to advice from other farmers, here say seen in newspapers (sorry, I can no longer call it "reporting" since so few actually do the research and then "report"), the words of do's and don'ts to follow when selling or transporting raw milk within the state boundaries, and the news shared by legitimate researchers, we have learned that Illinois was not a true supporter of small farmers.
Especially small farmers who played with cows udders.
But the actions of Illinois raw milk farmers in the last few months may cause the state of Illinois to re-evaluate their position. Next month we, the raw milk farmers and consumers of Illinois meet again with those from The Illinois Department of Public Health. the FDA, the USDA, along with reps from several big dairy.
This meeting may very well change the history of raw milk production and sales in Illinois.
We, the group of pro-raw milk folk, will continue to push a two tier system for raw milk production. The first Tier will be for those farmers who want to keep life simple . Farmers who sell direct to the consumer off their farm and into the consumers container, will be required to register with the state but that's all. No mandatory testing of either the livestock or the consumer and no inspections or testing. And the consumer splits the risk (and trust) with the raw milk farmer.
The Second Tier will require much more of the farmer (Registration, Inspection, Testing of the milk, the farmer, the cow and maybe even the farmers second wives neighbors kids, the details are not yet final) . None of the items this group is recommending is final yet. But in return the farmer will be allowed to sell their milk from their home AND at the farmers market AND maybe even in the retail establishment. Time shall tell.
So, after a long summer of selling raw milk in a variety of ways, farmers will meet again in Sept. with the higher ups who believe that raw milk is best sold not at all. In the meantime we are enjoying our bit of raw milk freedom. Last week I saw a farmer selling raw milk out of his tractor cab in the middle of the mall and another one was offering it as a "gateway drink" just outside our local taverns door. Just kidding....or am I ???