Tell Committee Members to Vote YES on House Bill 2643
Raw milk advocates have a chance to increase legal access to raw dairy in the state. House Bill 2643 (HB 2643), the West Virginia Farm Fresh Milk Act, would legalize the limited sale of both raw milk and raw milk products in West Virginia; under current law the distribution of raw milk through herdshare agreements is legal but raw milk sales are not. HB 2643 would allow the sale of up to 80 gallons of raw milk per day and up to 40 pounds per day of raw milk products such as butter, cheese, an yogurt. The producer or producer’s agent would be able to deliver the raw milk and raw milk products to farmers markets, homes, offices or any other locations agreed to between the farmer and consumer.
Producers selling raw milk must comply with best sanitary milking and milk handling practices outlined in the bill including requirements on cooling, bottling and refrigerating the milk. The state departments of agriculture and of health and human resources have the power under HB 2643 to conduct inspections of producers selling raw milk and raw milk products.
Please support this effort to improve dairy farmers’ ability to make a living and increase consumer access to raw dairy products.
ACTION TO TAKE
1. Contact members of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, asking them to vote YES on HB 2643. This is especially important if your Delegate is on the committee; go to the end of this alert for links to Committee Members.
2. If your Delegate is not on the committee, please contact him or her asking that they support HB 2643. Go to the District Map, identify your district number then go to the House Roster to find you Delegate.
1. HB 2643 will increase consumer access to raw milk and raw milk products. Current law does not expressly allow the sale or distribution of raw dairy products other than milk.
2. The bill will enable dairy farms to make a better living. Some raw milk consumers don’t want to participate in the herdshare model. The sale of value-added products such as butter, yogurt and cheese will increase revenues.
3. Raw dairy products can be a gateway to sales of other foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and produce. Passage of HB 2643 can lead to an overall increase in sales for diversified farms.
4. The best sanitary milking and milk handling practices in the bill provide safeguards to assure milk safety. The bill also provides transparency for consumers by allowing an opportunity to inspect producer’s farm. Producers must also make available to consumers specific written safe raw milk handling guidelines.
Delegate Cooper – ChairAgriculture
Delegate Harshbarger – ChairNatural Resources
Delegate Cadle – Vice-Chair Agriculture
Delegate Atkinson – Vice-Chair Natural Resources
Delegate Hartman – Minority Chair Agriculture
Delegate Tomblin – Minority Chair Natural Resources
Delegate Thompson, R. – Minority Vice-Chair Agriculture
Delegate Hansen – Minority Vice-Chair Natural Resources
Distrtict Map –
House Roster –