WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION
January 22, 2006
It has come to our attention that the bill we have all worked so hard on for the past three years may not make it to the legislative floor this year. If the LB132 does not make it to the floor it will be scraped and the process will have to be repeated from its inception in 2007. LB 132 passed out of the Agriculture Committee un-opposed in 2005 and was scheduled to be debated by the full legislature in 2006. The legislative flow is uncharacteristically bogged down and as a result it appears, without immediate and decisive action, our efforts will go without reward this year.
For the bill to have any chance of hitting the floor this year the speaker, committee or a senator must list this bill as a priority. Each senator can select one bill as a priority, each committee can select 2 bills as priority and the speaker of the legislator can select 25 bills as priority. A priority selection does not guarantee the bill will hit the floor but it increases the odds significantly. For this bill to have a chance of being selected as a priority we need 100% support and contribution by the people. The support and contribution needs to be in a variety of forms. We encourage all to make their voice heard by calling, faxing, emailing and writing each Ag committee member and the Speaker of the Legislature. We encourage contacting by more than one medium and to each individual to ensure your voice is heard.
Please make your contact short, precise, courteous and non-confrontational. The Ag committee has been very supportive of our efforts and the situation that has developed has nothing to do with their lack of effort.
What we are asking for is the LB132 to be made a priority bill so it has a chance to be brought to the floor for full debate and voting this year.
Please read the attached notes on the bill so you have a firm understanding of the bill prior to making the contact. This contact is to be made on Monday 01/23 through Wednesday 01/25 only. This will ensure maximum effect but yet not over burden the good senators.
Direct contact below. Snail mail contact is: Senators name, State Capitol Po Box, 94604, Lincoln NE 68509
Speaker of the legislature:
kbrashear (at) unicam.state.ne.us
Ag. Committee Chairperson
bkremer (at) unicam.state.ne.us
Ag committee Vice-Chairperson
perdman (at) unicam.state.ne.us
rwehrbein (at) unicam.state.ne.us
dpreister (at) unicam.state.ne.us
Mr. Carroll Burling
cburling (at) unicam.state.ne.us
dcunningham (at) unicam.state.ne.us
dfischer (at) unicam.state.ne.us
Legislative Bill 132
What are the benefits of the bill?
- It gives the consumer availability and right to buy milk and cream from the farmer of their choice.
- It gives the farmer the right to produce, advertise and deliver their milk or cream to the consumer.
- It provides an opportunity for beginning and family farmers to enter the marketplace within a state regulated system.
- The regulations will be appropriate to “fit the risk” when manufacturing milk products.
Why support the milk bill (LB 132)?
LB 132 will provide more accountability, increased safety and state oversight of direct to the consumer sales of raw milk and cream. The bill will require:
- Grade A inspection
- Record keeping
- Warning label
- Pasteurization guidelines
- Procedures for transportation
LB 132 also gives the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Division of Dairies and Foods, the option to provide variances for approved processing procedures. This will encourage dairy processing development in the state without threatening the public health.
Points to note:
- It is already legal to sell raw milk directly to the consumer. This bill would provide the same opportunities to the consumer that other commodities already have, with the added protection of state regulations.
- This bill would not allow raw milk to be sold in stores or at farmers markets.
- Many raw food type products are already produced with suggested handling and cooking instructions provided. This bill will give milk the same opportunity that other foods have. It will provide a product that is safe and available to the consumer.
- Any questions or suggestions on this bill can be directed toward Senator Doug Cunningham (402-471-2801) and/or a member of the Dairy Group (David Wetzel, Page, NE 402-338-5552; Krista Dittman, Raymond, NE 402-783-2124; and Kelly Bruns, Bloomfield, NE 402-373-4906).
Organizations supporting this bill:
Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Farmers Union, and Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.
LB 132 Summary and Opinion
LB 132 is a bill being put forward after three years of study and debate within our group of dairy farmers and consumers on the issue of raw milk sales.
The following are the highlights and the thought process on the different components of the bill.
1. LB132 recognizes increased consumer demand for raw milk by allowing the farmer to deliver milk and cream direct to the customer, not at farmers markets, retail stores, etc.
A. LB 132 recognizes it is in Nebraska’s best interest to encourage the farmer, who chooses to meet the demand for non-pasteurized milk, to be a Grade A licensed dairy and be regularly inspected, tested, and licensed by the state. This will help minimize the threat of unregulated black markets and other corporate protected structures such as ‘cow shares’.
B. LB 132 recognizes safety concerns by requiring raw milk and cream to carry pasteurization instructions just as other raw agricultural products carry cooking instructions.
C. LB 132 requires a similar warning label as California requires on raw milk.
2. LB 132 recognizes the right to freely advertise raw milk as a legal product.
3. LB 132 recognizes the safety concern regarding the ability to trace sales with the bill’s requirement that all direct sales under this exemption must be recorded for 1 year from date of sale.
4. LB 132 recognizes the importance of the dairy economy to this state by encouraging the entrepreneurial development of this industry starting from the farm. It encourages farmers to create a profitable enterprise and develop direct markets.
5. LB 132 does have an undercurrent economic benefit to the state as profitable dairy farmers spend the money they earn in their local communities. There is real tax revenue both from a profitable farm and from the monies kept in the local communities.
At the LB 132 hearing, Senator Preister brought up the point of “relative risk.” This concept is correct. It is not safe to drive, fly, cross the street, drink a beer, eat raw oysters, take pain medication, eat foods with MSG, walk in fields that are fertilized, eat beef, eat fish, eat soy products, smoke, have a baby, cook with Teflon utensils, drink pasteurized milk, drink raw milk etc….There is a risk to living, eating and breathing.
As consumers we do have choices and we will make these choices based on the information available to us. We weigh our risks and benefits individually and for our families. We support passing LB 132.
Nebraska Dairy Group 2006