Dear Sen. Johnson and Rep. Brody,
In 2018, we rejoiced to learn that herd shares were made legal in North Carolina. This is a great blessing to farms and families and necessary for the sustainability of small farms. The availability of fresh, unpasteurized milk at local farms brings many benefits to families and is greatly desired.
I am the owner of a small farm in Monroe, NC with strong support from consumers from Waxhaw to Winston-Salem. Our family has kept dairy cows for years and enjoyed the benefits of fresh, unpasteurized milk on the farm and we’re happy to be able to share it with other families. The desire for fresh milk is very great in NC, as it is throughout the US. We have sold almost 200 herd shares in just 3 months since making shares available on our farm and we have more interest every day.
News is spreading, however that a bill in the Senate (S509) and in the House (H385) is seeking to make illegal what was just made legal months ago. This is an irrational measure to wipe out a perfectly good product because of isolated bad examples that do not represent reality.
I’d like to ask you to NOT support bills S509 or H385 seeking to make herd shares illegal in NC.
I can provide a few clear reasons why:
1. Fresh, unpasteurized milk cannot be replaced by pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk is desired not for drinking only but because it allows families to make their own yogurt, butter, cheese, kefir, ice cream, etc.. Pasteurization makes much of this impossible, which is why consumers want unpasteurized milk.
2. It is falsely said that science and healthcare professionals are opposed to raw milk. We have herd share owners who are doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, etc. and know that doctors have recommended our milk to patients for different digestive problems. The consumers who desire raw milk are usually professionals willing to pay more for it. To characterize raw milk consumers as ignorant, irresponsible people who don’t understand science is a ridiculous and false generalization.
3. The economy of a small farm depends on a working dairy. Farm families are supplied with rich foods from their own dairy. On the farm, extra milk is used to feed pigs and chickens and manure is used for fertilizing gardens and fields. A profitable dairy allows all of this and makes small scale farming sustainable, even profitable for farm families. The ability of farms to share raw milk will promote small farms and improve family life in North Carolina.
4. If the quality of milk is a concern, then raw milk production and sales can be regulated, as they are in South Carolina. House Bill H103 provides for this and is a far more responsible option than making raw milk illegal.
5. With hard liquor, tobacco and marijuana being legalized, are we going to put a prohibition on MILK? This contradiction can’t possibly be supported. We can’t entrust the use of liquor, tobacco and marijuana to the judgment of citizens and then deny them the freedom to buy fresh milk. This is ridiculous.
6. If raw milk is safe for some, it can be safe for all. The state would never make the consumption of milk illegal, as it does narcotics–because it is not intrinsically unhealthy. If milk is a true danger to our health, then make its consumption illegal as narcotics are illegal. To say that the farm owner can enjoy fresh milk, but his neighbors can’t is just ridiculous. Regulate it’s production an distribution if necessary, but don’t be ridiculous and interfere with a traditional market.
7. Claims that raw milk makes people sick are circumstantial and inconclusive. To say that because an isolated group of people made some cheese (we know not how) with raw milk (of what quality we do not know) and got sick, that “raw milk” in general is therefore the danger, is neither scientific nor reasonable. The fact that families, like mine, enjoy the use of raw milk with absolutely no problems is proof that this is false.
8. Other food products cause sicknesses, yet are not made illegal. We see in the news reports of outbreaks from commercially-produced lettuce, beef and poultry, eggs, etc., yet these foods are not made ILLEGAL. The unjustified attack on raw milk is obviously not supportable. Why this crazy prejudice against milk?
More reasons can be provided, but these are sufficient to prove that there should be no prohibition of raw milk in North Carolina.
I’d like to ask you, again, to NOT support bills S509 or H385 seeking to make herd shares illegal in NC.
If there’s anything I can help with, or any further information I can provide, please contact me any time.
William C. Michael, Owner
Michael Family Farm
1621 Stack Road, Monroe, NC 28112
Phone: (704) 288-1485