Special to the Bovine from Michael Schmidt:
Why farmers matter.
Today I had the honor to meet one of the unsung heroes of the North American Raw milk movement.
David Lynch, no not the film maker, yes the real farmer who so far seemed to be the only one who successfully in the long run carved out a legislative exemption for cow shares in the US.
We met during his Thursday delivery at a parking lot in the Rocky Mountains.
It was as refreshing as the fresh mountain air to talk to this man who opened the legal door for over 70 cow shares in Colorado.
He founded the Raw Milk Association of Colorado whose goal has been to provide a collective unified voice and support for raw milk dairies. He says “we have the power of the people , a support network for developing our own standards and self regulation without Government intervention”.
It is worthwhile to visit their website www.rawmilkcolorado.org and get a good understanding why this should become a prime example of responsible self governance.
Meeting David was one of these moments I treasure most. Here a down to earth farmer has taken the initiative to achieve the impossible but week after week delivers personally the milk bottles to his members.
With the support of hundreds of consumers and I guess also farmers they managed to get 95% of the parliamentary vote to support the legalization of cow shares in Colorado.
Most of the cow shares are small and he acknowledged that they are promoting cow shares to a maximum of 25 cows in order to manage all aspects of cow sharing properly.
Voluntary testing is done monthly and expert advise is part of the membership benefits.
My daughter who is a massage therapist in Vail Colorado is a member of his cow share operation, therefore I had the opportunity to verify the quality aspect of his yogurt and milk.
As he was loading his truck and as we said good bye, he pointed out that they can make a decent living with their twelve cows and that it is most gratifying.
I left with inner gratitude and thought, yes indeed, small is beautiful, as beautiful as the mountains surrounding us.
I intentionally did not ask him how much infighting he had to face reaching this point, because I wanted to have no bitter taste when drinking his milk.
But who knows may be those farmers and consumers in Colorado are more civilized than us Canadians up north. Who would have guessed.
At the end it did not matter to me anyhow because I keep embracing the struggle for a better world.
I will be home in two days to milk the cows again.
9 responses to “David Lynch, Colorado raw milk dairy farmer worked to legalize cowshares”
“But who knows may be those farmers and consumers in Colorado are more civilized than us Canadians up north. Who would have guessed.”
That is the exactly the challenge. The Canadian government has defined the word “civilized” for us . And their definition involves the maximum amount of bureaucratic and corporate control , centralization of power and loss of variety.
I am actually glad Michael chose this word but I think Michael really implied the they are more “SOVEREIGN” ?
I spoke on the phone to Blair who is one of the people that helped Lynch to get this legalized in Colorado. She gave me lots of very helpful tips about what to do to help the rawmilkconsumer.ca working group to put together our submission to government. I really appreciated her time and wisdom. What they are doing sounds very much like what Cow Share Canada is attempting to do here and it’s working very well for them. Their self regulation requirements of members are very similar to those of Cow Share Canada. There is no reason we can’t accomplish the same thing here in Canada if we all pull together and stand as one united front. They don’t have supply management in Colorado and that is one extra hurtle we have to jump but there is a way to do this without disrupting supply management. Colorado is the closest I’ve come in my research to a group that has been able to legalize with self regulation like Cow Share Canada is proposing. There may be others and I’m still researching so if anyone knows others I can talk to please let me know.
Talk to Shawn Dady in Tennessee. By going the political route, over about 4 years, they managed to get state law written so that cowsharing was categorically protected. She runs the RawDairy forum on Yahoo
Thanks Gordon! Will see if I can find contact information for her.
Thank you for sharing a wonderful story.
I find it amazing that a court or that people would accept that a “cow share” needed to be legalized. The whole concept is based on the right to contract and to own property. It’s as old as the common law.
It amazes me that Americans especially think that they must get their rights from government when their creator endowed them with them at birth. But you don’t learn this in guberment schools do you?
It seems the prevailing attitude here is that all of our rights should be converted to permissions by asking the legislature to illegitimately grant them to us. This is a dangerous and slippery slope but I don’t expect government educated Caesar worshipers to recognize that fact.
Thanks for your report, Michael.
I had started to think that such organizing was possible when I saw this trailer, from Vancouver’s DOXA film fest, recently….
“Most of the cow shares are small and he acknowledged that they are promoting cow shares to a maximum of 25 cows in order to manage all aspects of cow sharing properly.”
Still it is quite an amazing achievement to even be able to define a “small herdshare ” as one of 25 or less cows and to have that large a size dairy farm be exempt from state government interference or regulation. While most states allow exemptions from general dairy plant regulations for small herdshares , the state government definition of “small” is highly restrictive i.e 3 or 5 or 6 cows and perhaps 6, 7 or 10 goats at most (i.e Idaho ) .