Action Alert (Montana): Senate Hearing for Raw Milk Bill HB 574

The raw milk bill made it through the House almost unanimously, but we’re not done yet! We still have to get it through the Senate. Most of the Senators haven’t even heard about the bill, so we have a lot to do in a short time.

The Senate Agriculture Committee hearing for HB 574 is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9 at 3 pm in Room 303. We need your help to educate the Committee members about raw milk before the hearing AND then do a strong push the day of the actual hearing. (See the TWO action items below.)

One of the risks is that the Senate will add amendments that could add costs to the program and kill the bill. So we need to specifically ask them to pass the bill WITHOUT amendments.

Please help us legalize raw milk in Montana!

montana-state-outlineTAKE ACTION #1:

Call or email the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to explain why raw milk is so important to you.

EMAIL: Click on this link, and fill out the form to send the same message to each legislator in the entire Agricultural Committee at one time: http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/63rd/legwebmessage.asp

  • Enter your name, address, email, etc,
  • Select “Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation” from the drop down menu by the “committee” bubble
  • Type in HB574 for the bill number
  • Click on the “FOR” bubble to show you support raw milk
  • Include a short message in the box below.

SAMPLE: “I want to be able to buy raw milk from small, local farmers. (Include
a sentence or two about why you want raw milk – personal messages carry a lot
more weight.) When I go to a farm, I can judge for myself whether I want to buy
from that person or not. Please pass HB 574 without any amendments.”

  • Hit “send” and it will go to all the members of the committee

CALL: You can leave a voice message for the entire Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee by calling 406-444-4800. You can use a similar message as the sample provided above for emails.

 

TAKE ACTION #2:

Make plans to come to the Senate hearing. It will be on Tuesday, April 9 at 3 pm in Room 303. If you are interested in testifying, we are coordinating the speaker line-up to make sure all aspects are adressed, please see below.

If you can’t come in person, please take time to call or send a note via the online form again on the day of the hearing – we need the Committee members to hear from Montanans both right now AND the day of the hearing.

 

WHAT DOES THE BILL DO?
  • HB 574 creates a small herd exemption from the existing mandatory pasteurization requirements. It allows a small farmer to have up to 15 cows and 30 goats or sheep and sell raw milk if they purchase a $5/permit. Milk can only be sold to people coming to the farm to buy it.
  • The bill also allows Grade A dairies to sell raw milk directly to consumers on-the-farm. Since most co-ops forbid the sale of raw milk, this would apply, in practice, only to independent dairies like Lifeline Farms and Kalispell Kreamery (currently the only two independent dairies in the state).
  • HB 574 also offers a herd share (or ownership interest) provision that recognizes that part owners of an animal can consume milk from that animal. No milk is being sold, and the part owners are responsible for deciding what health and safety measures they want to take for themselves.

To read the bill and check on its status, go to:
http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2013/billhtml/HB0574.htm

Updates will be posted on the Montana Alliance for Raw Milk Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/mt.arm

For more information: contact Chris Rosenau at rosenau.chris@gmail.com or if you wish
to testify in Helena contact Kristen Lee-Charlson at wapfmissoula@gmail.com