National Farmers Union supports raw milk

National Farmers Union supports raw milk

Conference participants called for access to raw milk for all citizens and responsible production standards for raw milk producers.

The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) announces that the National Farmers Union (NFU) has adopted new pro-raw milk policies at its 111th annual convention, held on March 2 to 5 in Springfield, Mass. The conference theme, Making Waves in Agriculture, reflected the new, progressive stance on raw milk.

The new policies were proposed by Mark McAfee, founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy in California, on behalf of the delegates from California, and supported by delegates from Pennsylvania and the Northeastern states. Conference participants called for access to raw milk for all citizens and responsible production standards for raw milk producers. The new policies stipulate single source production for raw milk to assure that consumers know the source of the raw milk they purchase.

In contrast, the American Farm Bureau, has opposed numerous state level efforts to improve consumer access to farm fresh, unprocessed milk. However, there is evidence the AFB position may soon change. During the past two years, the California Farm Bureau actively participated in a working group on small herd micro dairies, where they took a neutral position.

“Raw milk consumption is growing at a rate of 25 percent per year,” said McAfee, “while conventional milk sales are falling relentlessly. Farmers want to meet the consumer demand and the new NFU policy will help them achieve the right to sell raw milk directly to consumers.” McAfee’s Organic Pastures Dairy is the largest producer of raw milk in the U.S.

McAfee was chosen by the California Dairy Campaign (CDC) as a delegate to the NFU conference. The falling profitability of conventional dairies is a chief concern of the 200 dairyman who are members of the CDC.

The NFU delegates also urged an end to the ban on the interstate distribution of raw milk. The Campaign for Real Milk, a project of The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), works for wider consumer access to raw milk because of its nutritional and therapeutic advantages. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which promotes farm direct sales, also seeks to overturn the interstate transportation ban.

During their deliberations, convention delegates heard the science regarding unprocessed (raw) milk, university studies, consumer reports and testimonials; they discussed the success of the emerging raw milk market and the health benefits of unprocessed dairy products. Delegates from across the U.S. voted on these policies, giving the green light for raw milk to take a place at the national table of farmer policies.

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