According to an alert from the Kansas Rural Center, hearings will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12, on SB 300 which would prohibit sales of unpasteurized milk, and on Thursday Feb. 13, on SB 308 which will allow on-farm retail sale of unpasteurized milk as long as certain labeling and advertising requirements are met.
“KRC has been contacted by several small farmers and dairies who are very concerned that SB 300 will take away a small enterprise on their farms and deprive their customers of a needed/desired product,” the alert states. “SB 308 which outlines new labeling requirements for unpasteurized milk is also a concern as it levies what they feel is unnecessary/unfair regulation of a small business. These farmers are well aware of health and safety concerns but are providing a product that people in their communities want and need. They see this as a move of Big Ag and the dairy industry to not just control small operations but to shut them down, or leave them with no choice but to break the law if they continue sales. Such sales are a part of a local food system and prohibiting them could set a precedent for our Big Food System to discourage or shut down other products.”
An existing law currently exempts on farm retail sales of unpasteurized milk and milk products. SB 200 would remove the definition of this designation.
The Kansas Dairy Association supports this action, but it would harm small dairies and anyone selling direct to customers on the farm with small amounts of milk, the KRC alert states
SB 308 which clarifies and increases labeling requirements was introduced by the Kansas Department of Agriculture concerning milk, cream, dairy products and on-farm retail sale of milk to make on-farm retail sale of milk and milk-products lawful, but only if the label or advertisement for the products contains language specified in the bill.
The bill would exempt milk or milk products produced for on-farm retail sale from the current statutory definition of milk. On-farm retail sales of milk or milk products would be defined as the sale of ungraded raw milk or ungraded raw milk products. The prohibition against the person making these sales promoting the sales in any manner other than a sign posted on the premises of the dairy farm would be removed. It does require some very specific print and language for the labels.
If you have concerns about either or both of these bills, contact a member of the Senate Agriculture committee. Sen. Mary Jo Taylor represents the 33rd District, and serves on the Senate Agriculture & Natural REsource Committee. She can be reacheed via email at MaryJo.Taylor@senate.ag.gov.