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Lentsch, Ag Dept Recycle Bad Raw Milk Regulations

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and independent dairy producers have been tussling all year over raw milk regulations. The state, which has a clear bias against anyone other than huge CAFO mega-dairies trying to make milk, has proposed rules that hamstring the efforts of small dairy operations to sell their product on the local market. After rejecting loads of public comment and suggestions and pushing a set of myth-based rules, Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch got sent back to the drawing board by the Legislative Rules Committee for more analysis and clarity.

Incredibly, Secretary Lentsch still doesn't get. His department has posted new raw milk rules, and according to Dakota Rural Action, they are identical to the previously rejected rules.

We believe in adequate regulations for direct-to-consumer raw milk sales, and these rules don’t fit the bill. We have also seen how confusing the law is regarding raw milk, and we believe the Department needs to wait to pass rules until after the law is clarified.

You and many other South Dakotans have already made their voices heard on this issue. Now we need to make sure the Department knows citizens are fed up. DRA member leaders will be submitting all the previous comments sent to the Department for this rules hearing, so they can’t ignore what South Dakotans have already said about these rules.And, for the third (and hopefully final) time, we are asking you to send a comment to the SD Department of Agriculture at They need to know they have to listen to their citizens – not just wear them down through hearing after hearing [Dakota Rural Action, "Raw Milk (Over)Regulations: Third Time's the Charm?" 2013.10.02].

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture seems determined to keep its fingers stuck in its ears until the folks they're trying to drive out of business get tired of shouting. But don't give up, small dairy friends! Keep up the pressure, and keep pointing out how resistant this particular branch of our government (our government) is to the voice of the people.

And look on the bright side: as you prepare to head to Pierre for another rules hearing (Wednesday, October 9, 10:00 a.m. Central at the Capitol, Room 412), you don't have to do any new prep work. Secretary Lentsch didn't take the time to write new, better rules, so you should be free to reread the same good arguments against them.


  1. Cranky Old Dude 2013.10.02

    As if the people consuming raw milk are not smart enough to figure out the risks and benefits of the product. Nobody is really "marketing" this commodity are they? It seems that usually you have to search it out for yourself. We have a cow and produce our own dairy stuff so I watch this with interest. It looks like an another example of the collusion of government and business. Isn't nice how they always seem to find each other? Is there a dating website that gets them together? Maybe called "Follow the Money"?

  2. Douglas Wiken 2013.10.02

    How many cases of undulant fever do we need? What do pasteurizers cost these days? Back in the 1950 era, we drank way too many gallons of milk from our cows that was pasteurized a gallon at a time. In those days the device cost about $25.

  3. interested party 2013.10.02

    Curious how South Dakota defers to the feds on so many applications while it touts local control. FDA cautions against raw milk, especially if it's sold and transported across state lines. Must be my nature that causes me to suspect the dairy lobby in the state for greasing the Governors Club.

    The US Attorney in Colorado just arrested and charged two melon farmers who knowingly or unknowingly passed listeria that killed people. Home-canned goods at farmers' markets creep me out, too.

    The recent LRC shakeup should convince voters that allowing Lentsch and the SDGOP to let ALEC draft every law and repeal tort protections is just plain scary: be very afraid.

  4. Kal Lis 2013.10.02

    Like the Cranky Old One, I'm a bit confused that the doctrine of caveat emptor applies to everything but raw milk.

    I drank gallons of the stuff from my birth in the late1950s until I went to college in the mid-1970s. There's a nostalgic part of me that wants to go to the refrigerator, grab a jar, shake a vigorously to mix the cream with the milk, and drink a glass or two of pure deliciousness.

    The microbes might do me good. All of the hand sanitizers are making us a nation of wimps whose immune systems are unable to fight off any germs because we haven't been exposed to any.

  5. Rorschach 2013.10.02

    Maybe all they need to do is require producers/sellers to slap a warning label on it in prominent type saying, "This product may contain dangerous and possibly lethal bacteria or other toxins. Consume at your own risk." Then let the doctrine of caveat emptor take it from there.

  6. mike 2013.10.03

    I hope young Lentsch doesn't have any dreams of running for office because he's burning a lot of bridges fast. Raw Milk, Home School parents, Tea Party people etc they all run in the same circles. He's building up quite a vocal opposition to himself in the GOP conservative wing.

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