Please note: If you are new to my blog you can catch up on the reasons for my raw milk passion and the struggles our own farm have experienced, by reading any of the previous posts on the topic I have written over the last 3 years . To do so, simply enter "Raw Milk" in the search bar under the picture of our house, on the right.
Last week I told you of the events at our last Dairy Work Group meeting covering the details as best I could. Today I want to focus on just one of the new "proposed rules for discussion" thrown out by The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sept 10.
Specifically the ugly head of sales limits has raised its festering face again and not just within Tier 2 the higher level of more possibly strict regulations, but under Tier 1 which we intended to be a simple process for those selling only direct to the consumer who comes to the farm.
As you might recall, just before members of the Dairy Work Group, including myself and many other raw milk farmers and consumers thought the September meeting was over, the words "Sales limit" was tossed to the ground by IDPH representative Steve Divencenzo like raw meat to a dog fight.
They knew those words would illicit a very strong negative response , the same way it did when first presented back in February, which is why it was so casually tossed out, in almost muttered words, just before the last bell of the 3 hour meeting.
Of course, before we could even bite on the raw burger laid at our feet, oozing on the floor, Steve attempted to apply some too- little- too- late- balm by raising his voice over our building complaints stating, "But don't worry, there will not be any limits under Tier 2!"
This move, this very planned move to allow us to participate almost amicably through the first 2 hours and 55 minutes of the meeting before slamming us with the sales limit verbiage, did not go unnoticed. Nor will it get past this group without resistance.
So why are limits so bad when it comes to raw milk sales? Where to start?
How about at the basic entrepreneur core upon which our country was founded ? Hard work which will beget well earned and well deserved income. Income which will in turn feed ones family, roof ones home, pave ones drive, pay for ones Tae Kwon Do lessons or whatever it is we as Americans choose to do with the money we worked hard to earn.
If allowed to limit the milk we sell , won't limiting the beef we sell, the lettuce we sell, the almighty corn and soybeans we sell be right behind? And for arguments sake, lets say they do pass a ridiculous limit on gallons of milk Farmer Parrish can dole out to his customers, how will IDPH monitor it? Enforce it? Or even more frightening, how will they dole out punishment to the farmer who sells a gallon or two more than is "allowed?
Limiting sales is paramount with limiting effort, which limits dreams and limits lives. Pleasure in a job well done, satisfaction in meeting a nutritional need of your family, your neighbors, your customers will be squashed.
Limiting sales limits income which limits the farmers ability to feed, clothe and shelter his family. Limiting sales will then drive us towards increases sales in other areas to make up for the loss. But what happens when limits in those areas are exceeded? With less ability to support ourselves, where will we turn?
To our government of course, as is their intent. Eagerly, crazily waiting to support us, as if there is not already an overload of capable adults sucking marrow from the rapidly decaying body of a government who can't even feed itself!
What the blind refuse to see in their desire to squash independent thinkers, workers, and farmers is that limiting raw milk sales will not ever in itself cause a decrease in the consumption of raw milk, the end result sought by Big Dairy who just recently noticed that CONSUMERS WANT RAW MILK! Instead , crushing the farmer who works way to hard for way to little to produce a gallon of healthy raw milk, will INCREASE the amount of raw milk raised, transported and sold from other states. This will then water down our already greatly thinned out local and state agricultural revenues. For the simple minded folk of our leadership, more money will leak out of Illinois as young families take their dollars across state lines.
So much for "buying local", the recent cry of Governor Quinn, a expert in the spitting back of meaningless buzz words.
Limiting raw milk sales will only generate huge traffic jams in the Chicago area natural food parking lots as consumers, cut off from the farmer they knew on a personal level, wait for more than eager second, third and fourth parties to bring the raw milk to them from Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. And because it took MORE gas and time and people to bring this raw milk to a hidden corner just off north Ashland Avenue , consumers will dole out 2-3 X's as much, sometimes up to $18 a gallon for raw milk.
Money that will cross state lines as easily as the milk did. More so ,since money requires no refrigeration.
What about the safety issue IDPH screamed about in the early days of the Dairy Work Group ,lamenting that the only reason IDPH needed to write rules about raw milk at all was to "protect the public"? Right now the public in Illinois has done well in regards to raw milk illness which are extremely few and far between in the Land of Lincoln.
But, mark my words, if there is going to be an outbreak of raw milk related illnesses in Illinois it will come BECAUSE the Department of Public Health insisted in limiting the amount of milk sold. When that dark day comes and milk starts to sneak across state lines after dark by those who see not a chance to share a good product produced by healthy cows, and cared for by educated farmers but an opportunity to make big money in a raw milk DRY state, bacterial counts will flourish faster than the raw milk bootleggers back accounts will.
A state already hemorrhaging dollars from several huge democratic ulcers should be focused on mending the relationships with small farmers rather than constantly picking away at sores never allowed to heal.