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RURAL VERMONT RELEASES 2013-2014 REPORT ON RAW MILK PRODUCTION AND SALES and Legislative Priorities for Improvements to the Raw Milk Law

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RURAL VERMONT RELEASES 2013-2014 REPORT ON RAW MILK PRODUCTION AND SALES

and Legislative Priorities for Improvements to the Raw Milk Law

Montpelier – Rural Vermont has released the 2013-2014 Report on raw milk production and sales. For the fifth year since the passage of Act 62, which enables the direct sale of raw milk by farmers to consumers, Rural Vermont has presented to the legislature an overview of how the current law is working for farmers and the economic impact of raw milk sales. Although, there is growing consumer demand for raw milk, Vermont famers consistently report that current regulations need to be amended to make raw milk production more economically viable for farmers and practical for consumers.

The report was presented to the House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products on Feb 4, 2014  and will be presented to the Senate Committee on Agriculture on Feb 11, 2014. The report is based on the results of the 2013 Raw Milk Survey conducted by Rural Vermont this past fall. Surveys were completed by 110 individual farmers, 80 of whom are currently selling raw milk. The report is available on the Rural Vermont’s website http://www.ruralvermont.org or by calling 802-223-7222.

In addition, to conducting the survey, Rural Vermont spent the past year hosting community meetings all over the state to gather Vermont farmers’ concerns about the raw milk law. This outreach campaign culminated with Rural Vermont’s “Raw Milk Summit” held at the end of October in Bethel. The Summit drew participation by over 60 farmers (representing 42 farms).  Raw milk producers from every corner of the state have identified a list of priority improvements they would like to see made to the raw milk law. These include: developing more reasonable and affordable animal health testing protocols for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis, creating a “Neighborly Scale” production tier that would enable small quantities of milk to be sold with limited regulations, and expanding market opportunities for producers, such as allowing raw milk to be sold at farmers’ markets or other central locations. A complete list of the proposed improvements is included in the 2013-14 Raw Milk Report.

In testimony given to the House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products, Rural Vermont asked the Committee to adopt comprehensive improvements that would provide benefits to all producers seeking to make raw milk production a part of their farm. Rural Vermont believes that S.70, which was passed by the Senate last session and is currently in the House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee, can be used as the vehicle to address the raw milk producers’ priorities. Rural Vermont believes that scale-appropriate regulations will benefit farmers and the thousands of Vermonters who are demanding access to locally-produced, wholesome and nutrient dense food.