WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION
January 18, 2006
Nebraska’s dairy/milk bill LB132 should be voted on during this legislative session. The only way this bill will pass is if the consumer demands that it passes. The legislature sees this bill as a consumer choice issue so the consumers have to speak out. We think the best time to contact your Senator and the Governor is between the 01/16/06 – 01/27/06. So call and write now and often. Encourage friends to call, and anyone else you think might participate.
If there is any notice of the specific day the bill will be debated you will receive another alert asking that you bring people to the capitol to show visible presents during the floor debate. More than likely this will be the only notice as most bills rarely have advance notice prior to the Senate Speaker advancing the bill to the floor.
General contact that can direct you to your senator
Clerk of the Legislature
Room 2018 State Capitol
P. O. Box 94604
Lincoln NE 68588
Lincoln NE 68509 (402) 471-2311
Governor Dave Heineman
PO box 94848
Lincoln NE 68509
I support LB 132 as it is important to direct the development of Nebraska’s dairy industries from the bottom up. LB 132 encourages growth in Nebraska dairy industry and it heightened the awareness and protocols required for a safe dairy food supply for Nebraska’s citizens.
The citizens of Nebraska deserve the food safety features presented in LB 132 and they deserve to have the freedom to choose what foods to buy and conveniently choose who to buy their dairy foods from.
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.
Dairy Group 2006
Dave Wetzel firstname.lastname@example.org
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