The State of Raw Milk in Illinois

From the Midlife Farm Wife blog:

The wheels of raw milk move slowly in Illinois. Photo via Midlife Farmwife blog.

“Last week , September 10, our group of pro-raw milk individuals, made up of farmers and consumers, met again with representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health.  It was our 4th mtg with them. We entered the meeting in good spirits, I mean after all at the last two meetings we had made real progress…didn’t we?

But we left the very last meeting feeling as if a hard cold glass of “authoritative” water had been splashed in our faces.

I will admit, it is difficult at times to decide how much to share on this blog. Will I irritate a higher up and cause them to pull out their claws and do damage to the progress we’ve made out of embarrassment or spite? But after last weeks meeting I have to bonk myself on the head for worrying so much about those in power when it has been made blatantly clear they are not concerned at all with either the raw milk consumer or the raw milk farmer.

They have an agenda and it must be met.

I’ll explain. In June during a conference call, a very heated conference call, details can be found HERE.  IDPH agreed we could start with a “clean slate.” We were jubilant, well as jubilant as a bunch of farmers can get 🙂

In July we met in person and although again, a few tense moments as a some of us again tried to get Molly and Steve to  admit there was no REASON for raw milk rules, even though they had the power to do so. We also asked time and again how it was that any of the future rules might apply to us since none of the farms present even met the definition of “dairy farm” since none of us sold to a co-op.

“Dairy farm” means any place or premise where one

or more cows or goats are kept, and from which a part or all of the milk or milk products are provided, sold, or offered for sale to a milk plant, transfer station, or receiving station.  Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products Act 410 ILCS 635/3

We had also been told in June there would be a representative from the legal department of IDPH at the July mtg but in July…no legal representative just  Molly who stated “That’s just not going to happen” She went on to say that since she had talked to them we basically were going to have to take her word. She was them, they were her, that kind of mantra.

Really? IS there just three employees of IDPH not totally intimidated by our small pro-raw milk group? No one else can be bothered to come to one of these Dairy Work Group Meetings.?

But then  there were good things that occurred in July, despite the set back of not being able to meet with IDPH’s legal department. We suggested a two tier system for raw milk produces making Tier 1 very simple to meet and in return sales would be from the farm only. We keep it simple and THEY will keep it simple. Tier 2 would take more time to hammer out but basically required regular inspections, monthly milk testing , The meeting of Grade A or similar standards like those of the Raw Milk Institute testing but in return sales would be allowed at Farmers Markets, possible retail and definitely by delivery and cow share agreements. Looking back I now see it as a “Balm” before the storm.

Last week it all got flipped back on us. Like a backwards time traveling trip to February, coach class.

Molly Lamb could not make the Sept 10 mtg and had to do it by conference call which made communication that much more difficult. I prefer, when folks go back on their word, to see their face up close and personal. Steve Divencenzo from IDPH had lots of papers scattered around him, a deep barrier of sorts.

We agreed to focus on Tier 1. Our requirements as send to Steve and Molly the week before as agenda items were:…”

More on Midlife Farm Wife


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4 responses to “The State of Raw Milk in Illinois

  1. jeherendeen

    Bureaucrats, protecting their phony-baloney jobs. (Folks who SHOULD be unemployed!)

    • Indeed. so frustrating for us farmers who work so hard at the meetings with these folks. We get up early, stay up late in order to get all the chores done, in order to be strong participants while the money WE PAY IN TAXES pays their salaries to hound us. YIKES.

  2. The best disinfectant is sunlight…the more publicity the better. The most important time to remain persistent is when things seem to go backwards…hang in there!

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