“Montpelier – Rural Vermont has released its 2012 Report on raw milk production and sales. For the third year since the passage of Act 62, which enabled the direct sale of raw milk by farmers to consumers, Rural Vermont has presented an overview of how the law is working for farmers and the economic impact of raw milk sales.
The report was presented to the House Committee on Agriculture on January 24, 2012 and will be presented to the Senate Committee on Agriculture on Friday February 3, 2012. The report is available on the Rural Vermont website http://www.ruralvermont.org or by calling 802-223-7222.
The report is based on the results of surveys conducted by Rural Vermont, which reached 95 of the estimated 150 farms that are producing raw milk and selling it to consumers under the requirements of Act 62. The report provides an overview of how the law has been functioning, summarizes the data collected in the surveys and presents some recommendations for further adjustments to the law and the regulations.
Lisa Kaiman of Jersey Girls Farm in Chester participated in the survey and commented; “Being able to sell raw milk has done a lot for my farm, not just financially, but community building and job appreciation – for both me and my cows. Since Irene, these sales and community interaction have been even more of a support to my farm than ever before. I continue to feel restricted by the seemingly arbitrary 40qt limit/day and the unreasonable labeling and testing regulations.”
In general, the farmers who participated in the survey were enthusiastic about the benefits of being able to sell raw milk. Jonathan Falby, owner of Symphony Farm in Washington said, “Protecting the raw milk law ensures that citizens have the freedom to choose who makes the products that are put in their bodies, where the product is made, and how the product’s production effects their land, community and economy. ”
Rural Vermont’s recommended changes are focused on improvements to the law and regulations that were identified by the farmers who responded to the survey. These changes would further enable farmers to respond to the skyrocketing consumer demand for raw milk and value-added products made from raw milk such as cheese and yogurt. Being able to meet this consumer demand offers a significant economic benefit to Vermont’s growing community of small, diversified farms….”