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SB 45: Ag Dept. Committed to Keeping Raw Milk out of Farmers’ Markets

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture keeps harshing raw milk producers' mellow. SD-DOA sends the Legislature Senate Bill 45. For the most part, SB 45 appears to be clarifying definitions and rules. However, Section 3 includes this rewording:

Section 3. That § 39-6-3 be amended to read as follows:
39-6-3. The provisions of § 39-6-2 do not apply to milk or goat milk Raw milk for human consumption may besecured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced or to any active farm producer of milk, selling and delivering the producer's own production direct to consumers only, if the place or farm where the milk is produced has a license or permit issued by the department pursuant to § 40-32-4 or 40-32-10.1. The containers in which any unpasteurized milk is sold shall be clearly labeled by the producer as "raw milk." the milk may be delivered directly to the consumer by the producer. No raw milk for human consumption may be secured or purchased at a farmers' market or farmer owned retail store that is not located at the place or farm where the milk is produced.

What?! Dairy farms can produce raw milk, but we won't let them set up their own off-farm store or set up a table at the local farmers' market to sell that raw milk?

Correct me if I'm missing some essential point of law, marketing, or public health, but the mission of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture is to "promote, protect, preserve and improve South Dakota Agriculture." It would seem farmers' markets exist specifically to help farmers sell more product. Selling more product would seem to promote and improve this area of South Dakota agriculture. But the Department of Agriculture is supporting regulations that block dairy farmers from certain business venues where they could more efficiently reach their customer base.

That is part of why the South Dakota Department of Agriculture has overseen a decline in the number of dairies in South Dakota for 30 straight years.

p.s.: Section 5 of SB 45 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate rules concerning dairy customer records. What: not satisfied to harass raw milk producers, Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch wants to gather data on raw milk buyers so he can ban them from farmers' markets, too?


  1. CLCJM 2015.01.12

    Is it just me? I apparently don't understand the definition of small government. Or is it just the Republicans definition I don't comprehend?

  2. Jaka 2015.01.12

    You just don't understand, Cory. Papa and Mama corporate outfits sure don't want the competition from raw milk producers and have put their moneys into the hands of the ones who will prevent competition--the legislature/Republican
    mind beauracracy. Next will come eggs, garden produce, fowl and or meats that become a threat to corporate interests.

  3. grudznick 2015.01.12

    Mr. Jaka, if the eggs and produce are filthy then they need to get cleaned up too. I hate big government interference in our lives but somebody has to make sure the milk isn't filthy either.

  4. bret clanton 2015.01.12

    Before you know it they will be trying to regulate gravy.......and home grown taters.....

  5. bret clanton 2015.01.12

    home grown taters are filthy.....

  6. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.12

    MN has a similar milk law. A farmer here has been in court more than once for violating it. He's lost every time.

    The thing is, when I was a kid, every farm family drank "raw" milk. Except for us it was just Milk.

    But . . . In the 1960s and 70s there was no MRSA or other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Listeria and salmonella were beyond rare. We got the milk from our own cow or from the neighbors. It didn't come from Big Ag focused on speed and the bottom line.

    Big difference.

  7. jerry 2015.01.12

    As long as the state continues to deny dairy farms the right to sell their products raw to willing customers, then the state can peddle EB-5 type schemes for larger operations. The bigger the operation, the more likely it will be corrupted and difficult to locate the skimmed (appropriate) moolah. Besides, how sexy is a 20 to 30 cow operation to politicos when they can boast of a 1,000 or more head in the milking parlors of the big boys.

  8. Roger Elgersma 2015.01.12

    When I was young I milked cows on a dairy in Washington state to save up money to start my own farm. There was a farm in the community that sold ALL their milk in the bottle. They started selling just a gallon at a time out of the tank at home and grew to sell all the milk from five hundred cows, half from their store on the farm and the other half through half a dozen gas stations convenience stores. I am not saying very many sellers off the farm will get anywhere near that large and successful, but they did call their dairy 'Faith Dairy'. It was in Tacoma, Washington.

  9. leslie 2015.01.13

    maybe selling raw milk is like making pot available to kids and grudz is actually right fer once: SD government is actually PROTECTING poor people who can't afford medical care, and as grudz says, such sized government IS in the good of the public welfare (of everyone except the 1% who are not likely to risk raw milk on taters, can afford the risk, or can afford their own milk cow operation). does cooked gravy eliminate the dilemma?

  10. leslie 2015.01.13

    it would not even be necessary or worthwhile to protect young people with "baked brains" from consequences of raw milk. WIN/WIN! no need for either regulation or scientific study of this clearly a "policy issue". :)

  11. gordy 2015.01.13

    When I asked my neighbor how often they cleaned the strainer in the overhead milk line at his large dairy, he said when it gets so plugged with cow poop the milt won't flow. So, his milk is int the store.

  12. Daniel Buresh 2015.01.13

    This is an iffy situation with me. On one hand, I feel they should be able to sell their products if they have the proper insurance to cover up to say 5 million in liability. On the other, food products are not something to mess around with. I know the Madison meat locker can't sell their jerky outside the store and I know my friend owns one in my hometown that is in the same situation. They can sell jerky online which seems odd. I say let them, but also make sure they can be liable if an incident happens. No insurance and you might not have a farm left.

  13. Happy Camper 2015.01.13

    My limited understanding the operations must run very differently if there won't be pasteurization. Very clean, but there's a lot of folks who want access to real food. When you kill everything off our gut doesn't have the good bacteria for digestion. Throw in sugar and the wrong bacteria proliferates and we've got nutrition problems, obesity, etc. There's a lot going on down there in the gut which connects to everything else, including the brain. Our bodies aren't made for processed foods.

  14. Les 2015.01.13

    Lucas is bought and paid for. At what cost, Lucas. Sell your soul and own the world.

  15. David Bergan 2015.01.20

    A friend of mine's son slept over at a buddy's house a couple years ago. In the morning the kids had raw milk with breakfast.

    Son almost died. Was in the hospital for 6 weeks. And it cost Mom and Dad $25,000 in medical bills (their out-of-pocket family maximum, didn't ask how much the insurance company paid). The host parents (aka the responsible party) didn't pay anything, AFAIK.

    Why does the froo-froo crowd think that vaccines and pastuerization are no longer relevant? Do they want to go back to 1700s infant mortality rates? And I think it's criminal negligence to foist that irrational choice on an unsuspecting child.

    Gives me the shivers to think that once my son reaches elementary age, I will have to pack him a breakfast for each sleepover to protect him from such rampant, dangerous, ignorance.

    Seriously, why do we still teach geometry in high school? I like geometry well enough, but I've never used it once since the 10th grade... and that includes my bachelor's degree in mathematics. We need a "How to make it in America" high school class because way too many adults lack practical life knowledge, like the purpose of vaccines or how pay day loans work.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.21

    (David, we used geometry working on the cabin! 50 lashes and two Euclidean proofs for you! ;-) )

    As for the raw milk sleepover, yes, there's an issue where host parents need to respect guest parents' sensibilities. My support for raw milk is based on the idea of informed consumer choice. I would think the raw milk mom would show a little more sensitivity to the fact that other parents might not be comfortable with her food choices.

    Raw milk and anti-vaccine attitudes may share origins in suspicion of big industry, big government, hyper-organic thinking, but they differ in that raw milk doesn't have an impact on herd mentality. Government has a clearer interest in ensuring everyone gets shots to prevent communicable diseases. Government's interest in preventing the sale and consumption of raw milk is probably no stronger than its interest in preventing the sale of alcohol.

    Check: did the doctors establish that the raw milk carried the pathogens that knocked the kid out?

  17. David Bergan 2015.01.21

    Hi Cory,

    It was almost twenty years ago, but I don't recall getting out a compass and straight edge when we raised the roof at Lake Lakodia. Mayyyyybe we did a trig calculation, but everyone knows that's totally algebra II/advanced math topics. (And even if we did, I'm sure it was in the vein of "this is a hilarious waste of time trying to out-math-nerd each other".)

    Easy question first: yes. As far as my hearsay is reliable, there was no doubt that the beverage caused the life-threatening situation. I don't remember the actual medical diagnosis, but it didn't take House MD to link the condition to unpasteurized milk.

    Government's role: The function of governmental regulations is not simply to protect us from plagues, but to protect us from any unsafe consumer products. The government makes it illegal to sell lead-based paint, cars with homemade chassis, or homes that don't have smoke detectors. The FDA was created to squash patent medicine. We're in favor of such regulations because (a) the industries don't effectively regulate themselves and (b) putting the burden of product regulation on citizens themselves costs us significant freedom. Without regulation, I would have to personally lab-test every paint can to make sure there's no lead, if I simply want "healthy" paint. I would have to personally read (and understand) every 300-page health insurance contract to make sure it is a "qualified health plan" good enough to protect my family from every possible sickness or accident we might be exposed to.

    Compared to pasteurized milk, raw milk is a very dangerous consumer product. "The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says improperly handled raw milk is responsible for nearly three times more hospitalisations than any other food-borne disease outbreak, making it one of the world's most dangerous food products."

    The ignorant froo-froos take this product and hail it as "healthier" than "industrialized milk". It never occurred to raw-milk-mom, that she was giving her son's friend a tainted beverage. In fact, she probably thought she was doing him a favor by giving him "better" milk than what he gets at home.

    And measles is up 455% from 2001.

    Sow ignorance, reap death. Innocent children are the first victims.

    Kind regards,

  18. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.21

    Here is an interesting site that shows how real (raw) milk is treated throughout the world:

    Interesting to note the Germans have vending machines in some schools.

    If raw milk is bad, what about all the unpasteurized vegetables grown in dirt and manure...

  19. Daniel Buresh 2015.01.21

    "If raw milk is bad, what about all the unpasteurized vegetables grown in dirt and manure..."

    They are grown in dirt that is fertilized with manure. The bacteria is allowed to break down prior to harvest and consumption. Milk has a relatively high probability of having the finished product coming into contact with some high bacteria areas which is why they pasteurize it. Comparing vegetables to milk would require you to dip your finished product of lettuce or carrots in feces and then eating it. I wouldn't suggest that, no more than I would suggest raw milk, unless you are really sure they know how to handle it correctly. Not sure the benefits are worth the possible explosive gut rot. Lots of liability to spread around.

  20. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.21

    Lots of illnesses make the news in vegetables and fruits that have caused outbreaks across the USA. There is inherent danger to all the food that is consumed due to errors in processing, residual bacteria, etc. Without even getting into the dangers of under cooked pork, poultry, etc. Are we to mandate the government clean and cook all food before consumption?

  21. Les 2015.01.21

    No rocket science, eh Daniel? One person sick and they all drank milk. It's possibly not science, some just can't take any crap.

  22. David Bergan 2015.01.22

    DD, my favorite part of the site you shared was the top item under Recent Blog Posts:


    Well, that wins me over!

    With respect to lumping anti-vaccinators together with raw-milkers... The correlation between organic fooders and anti-vacciners is so strong that in big cities when a patient comes to a hospital with a disease that should have been vaccinated against, the outbreak team's first action is go to the nearest Whole Foods to hand out pamphlets and see if they notice anyone else there who presents symptoms.

    Some folks believe that the closer we are to nature, the healthier we will be. Nature is pure, and humans mess it up. And from that premise, they refuse vaccines, genetically modified food, pesticides, the Haber-Bosch process, meat radiation, livestock who have taken antibiotics, livestock who have eaten corn, fluoride in the water supply, pasteurized milk, giving birth in a hospital, epidurals, aspartame, and oreo cookies.

    On some of these issues there exists a decent pragmatic case, but the premise that Mother Nature is benevolent and pro-human is complete angus feces. Nature could care less if our planet was dominated by people, measles, or Campylobacter jejuni.

    Case in point. A cup of organic coffee has 21 carcinogens... yet oreos would get pulled off the shelf if they had 1. And the reason organic coffee has 21 carcinogens is because over millions of years the plant acquired these toxins to combat the diseases, parasites, and predators in its environment. In other words, to be more fit for survival. The coffee bean wasn't sitting in the rainforest for epochs perfecting its taste for the eventual hipster's enjoyment. No, it was in a life-or-death, survival-or-exctinction guerilla war against all comers.

    The reason I care is because the ignorant froo-froo lobby is so big that they pressured politicians into getting "organic" food (and herbs, and dietary supplements) exempted from normal FDA regulation. So now we can buy coffee with 21 carcinogens.

    But please, let's not bring raw milk into the marketplace. I at least want my son to live long enough to die of 21 forms of cancer.

  23. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.23

    The only unpasteurized milk I'd be willing to drink would have to be from my own cow.

    Daniel, I appreciate what you're saying, but I believe you're painting with too broad a brush. I say that because I live in St. Paul, MN. In this metro area some shoppers do look for organic foods, and they're not crunchy granola types, or "froo froo", as you like to call them. From what I understand the biggest concern with vegetables is pesticide contamination. For beef it's antibiotics. Those don't seem to be excessive concerns.

    The people I know drink pasteurized milk. They make sure their children have all the vaccinations they need. They often shop at organic food stores and cooperatives. They work, follow the rules and pay their taxes. They are good citizens.

    Daniel, you said, "The correlation between organic fooders and anti-vacciners is so strong that in big cities when a patient comes to a hospital with a disease that should have been vaccinated against, the outbreak team's first action is go to the nearest Whole Foods to hand out pamphlets and see if they notice anyone else there who presents symptoms."

    There is a Whole Foods just a few blocks from here. That's never happened. Where I see them go is a fast food chain where tainted meat is being used.

    BTW, I drink pasteurized milk, and buy food at a variety of places, including the usualsupermarkets. The biggest push in food now, both in grocery stores and restaurants, is "locally sourced." The emphasis is on its freshness.

    I think you have a valid point about food, vaccinations, and dangers to children. I think you just got a little carried away.

  24. David Bergan 2015.01.24

    "There is a Whole Foods just a few blocks from here. That's never happened. Where I see them go is a fast food chain where tainted meat is being used."

    Hi Deb,

    My statement was "when a patient comes to a hospital with a disease that should have been vaccinated against"... referring to measles, mumps, whooping cough, that kind of thing (not tainted food). And I don't expect that the outbreak teams have done this at every Whole Foods in the country (or even the one in your neighborhood). I just know that in their seminars they say that when a patient goes to a hospital and has measles, the outbreak team then finds the Whole Foods closest to that patient's residence, and starts informing the other customers of the situation (because that's the easiest place to communicate with the anti-vaccine crowd).

    Obviously, there's a spectrum for any belief system, and it sounds like your associates aren't the most fundamentalist froo-froos. Read some books on the subject, and you'll realize that there are many that hold to everything I listed (and more), but they're probably more concentrated in California and Holland.

    And, as I mentioned, there are pragmatic cases that can be made on some of their issues. Certain pesticides are harmful. And we need to take a hard look at flooding our cattle with antibiotics and milk-production hormones. But there are other forces that are degrading our food, like the conveyor belt rate in meat-packing plants and hiring illegal immigrants because only they will work in that kind of environment. (seriously one of the scariest stories I read last year... why does it take a UK newspaper to expose these sins in our own neighborhood?)

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.24

    Has the state focused its anti-measles education efforts in the neighborhood around the Mitchell Whole Foods?

  26. David Bergan 2015.01.24

    Probably not. They don't do anything right. ;)

  27. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.24

    Daniel, you really shouldn't make too many assumptions about me, or anyone else for that matter.

    I worked in a meatpacking plant cutting up hogs for more than 2 years. That's in addition to growing up on a farm. I know more about food production than the biggest share ofAmericans.

    I am surprised meat from a packing plant ever comes out not tainted! I try to buy my meat from butcher shops or from small town locker plants. The small town ones usually get the meat from area farmers. I always cook it well done.

  28. David Bergan 2015.01.24

    Hi Deb,

    Sorry if I somehow offended you. I don't think I made any assumptions about you... just responded to what you told me.

    Are you reading my posts carefully? I'm wondering because (a) you thought my point about Whole Foods had to do with tainted meat and (b) my name is David, not Daniel.

    Kind regards

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