Monday, October 22, 2007

Raw Milk Farmer Busted

I made a raw milk and egg run up to Bethany Farms yesterday, and while I was chewing the fat with farmer Dan Messner he told me that he'd just heard that another Pa farmer Mark Nolt, had been raided for selling raw milk without a permit. Apparently he had a permit sometime ago, decided not to renew it, and instead ask his customers to sign an agreement that they not resell it and only use it for personal consumption.

The practice of private purchase contracts is pretty widespread in the raw milk economy. In theory at least, they seem to be ethical and completely legal. But I think the authorities don't like them because some of the customers who sign them don't honor the spirit of the agreement and purchase more than they will use themsleves, then disperse the surplus to friends or resell it.

My knee-jerk reaction is to be sympathetic to Mr. Nolt. Farming is very hard work, and it is exceptionally difficult for small farmers to compete on price with the big guys. I'm suspect that one of the reasons that Mr. Nolt decided not to re-permit his farm is that it's expensive to comply with the testing requirements that are mandated by the terms in the license. I may be mistaken about this, but I think that Dan Messner has to send his milk out every other day to be checked for microbes. As much as I trust and like Dan, I'm not sure I'd buy his milk if I knew it hadn't been screened for microbes.

I don't feel comfortable taking sides in this battle. But if you do, and want to turn out on Aug 25 and support Mark Nolt click the following link for directions to his farm "Produce-The-Evidence" Rally for Raw Milk Farmer

1 comment:

Scotty said...

I have to agree with you here, Bob. Here in New York Raw Milk provider are licensed, and there are only a few. There are also "cow sharing" programs. The Food Libertarian in me defends the right to buy Raw Milk, and to eat young Raw Milk Cheeses. Heck I defend the right to eat Fugu - but I will pass.

But, I would choose Raw Milk that is regularly inspected, and young cheeses made by facilities that are likewise inspected. I just worry about the loss of the license to your guy. Did he give it up because he couldn't afford it, or because his facility couldn't comply?