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with Merryl Winstein

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Tues, Nov 21, 5:30-6:15pm CST
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St Louis, Missouri
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RAW MILK INFO

I raised raw goat milk and dairy goats in my suburban St. Louis, Missouri backyard from 1993 - 2013. I am available for consultation on your dairy herd management That's a long time and my backyard goats and chickens provided a lot of enjoyment and inspiration for people throughout the area. I no longer live there and I don't have goats now.  I'm proud to say that I was at the forefront of defending and revising the "chicken and goat" law in Webster Groves, MO for all those years until our law became a model adopted by many of the other municipalities who jumped on the bandwagon of providing laws protecting backyard chicken raising and animal husbandry. Now over 100-150 licensed chicken raising households in Webster Groves, including 5 more on my own street.

The info on buying raw milk in Missouri. 
Other websites list people who sell raw goat milk or raw cow milk.  Some raw sheep milk is available in Missouri but not much and it is seasonal, only from winter through early summer.

Raw goat milk, cow milk, sheep milk, etc, is completely legal for you to buy in the state of Missouri.  It always has been legal here. 

Mo. Statute # 196.935, the "Fluid Milk Law", states: " Only pasteurized graded milk may be sold at a grocery store, soda fountain, restaurant, or similar establishment, with the exception that an individual may buy and have delivered for his own use, raw milk and cream from a farm."  The fluid milk law doesn't mention cheese, nor other products (tomatoes? driver's licenses?) because it does not regulate those products.  It is only about fluid milk.

What are the "exceptions" mentioned in the law? 

1.  Pasteurized, graded milk (licensed) is sold commercially. Raw milk (ungraded, unlicensed) is sold to individuals.

2.  Pasteurized, graded milk is sold to restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Raw, ungraded (i.e. unlicensed) milk is not sold to restaurants, grocery stores, etc. There is a different law providing for the establishment of Grade A, licensed, raw milk dairies that can sell to stores.

3.  An individual may buy raw milk and/or cream for his own use directly from the farm where it is produced.

4.  An individual may have raw milk and/or cream delivered to a drop off point, to be picked up by the person it was intended for.  Some states restrict delivery of raw milk, but not Missouri. The drop off point for pre-ordered milk can be any pre-arranged spot in the state, such as a refrigerator in someone's garage, or a booth at a farmer's market.

5.  In Missouri you may buy raw milk whether goat milk, cow milk, sheep milk, etc.

6.  In Missouri you may buy raw cream which has been skimmed from the milk.  Some other states do not allow the cream to be sold separately.

7. Delivery has been taken to mean that you ought to pre-order the milk that will be delivered to the drop off point. That is not specified or even hinted at in the law, but it's become customary and accepted by the Missouri Milk Board.

8. Raw milk that has not been pre-ordered is not generally sold at a drop off point, because the exchange of money is sometimes taken to mean the milk was "sold" from an "off-farm location," which is frowned on. This concept is based on an "opinion letter" by the attorney general in 1973, and is not part of the actual law itself. However, since sellers have gotten in trouble over this, just don't sell milk at locations off the farm unless it has been pre-ordered and can be considered "delivered" rather than "sold."

This law is ideal as it stands. From the standpoint of the citizens, both buyers and the producers of raw milk, it's one of the best in the USA. Anyone who tries to change or "improve" this law is undermining its strength by opening it up for argument.

If this law is opened for discussion or revision by the State House and Senate, the law will be overturned and there will be no more raw milk sales in Missouri. That's what happened in Wisconsin and some other states. So think twice before getting on your high horse and getting the law destroyed in the end. There's nothing to improve about it and everything to lose by opening it up for argument in Jefferson City.

In 2007 there was some argument about whether it was legal for citizens to buy raw milk, but in Feb. 2008 the Missouri Milk Board re-defined in writing to the producers (such as me) that the law stands firm and raw milk sales are allowed in Missouri, as the law so clearly says.  Because of the discussions that year, there is now a lot of documentation, both written and verbal, confirming the validity and strength of our law.

The Missouri "Fluid Milk Law" RSMO 196.935, does not govern or even mention cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream or other products.  It is incorrect to say that this law prohibits sale of unlicensed cheese, butter, or yogurt.This law neither prohibits nor allows those other products.  It only regards fluid milk.  Those other products are covered by other statutes and regulations, and if you are selling those, you'd better read the laws.

We are the citizens. We own our laws. You are entitled to know what your laws say as worded on your official state government website. Never, NEVER believe the mere interpretations you read about laws on any popular website promoting raw milk, local food, not even a brochure sent out to you from a government office, realtor, etc. An interpretation is not a law.

 

Goats waiting for milking, Merryl Winstein's backyard dairy herd, St. Louis, MO

HOW I RAISED MY DAIRY GOATS

I can consult with you on herd management.

All my adult goats had a written record of how much milk was given at every milking, going back for years. My does were calm, easy to catch, loved to be petted, and jumped up on the milk stand happily.  That was due to my training starting the day they were born, and also due to their genetics.  Goofy neurotic goats who couldn't learn to be led or to jump up on their milk stand and stand still instead of bucking, or who didn't give an exceptional amount of great tasting milk, were not ones I wanted. 

All were dehorned and it goes without saying that out of consideration for my neighbors, all my goats had to be nearly silent.  This means I lost many otherwise perfect goats due to noise of an "average goat" level, I would say about 40% of the goats I raised so carefully were a loss to me because of my care for my neighborhood and neighbors regarding noise. And I will assert that my neighbors had no appreciation of my efforts on their behalf.

Some of my animals were registered, some not.  The Saanens gave long steady lactations, sometimes for 2 years. Registration was meaningless since I didn't show my goats at shows. The important records are the milk-test records which tell the amount of milk and the fat and protein percentages, and the length of lactation of the forebears of each goat. Those traits, as well as teat shape and size and size of orifice, are genetic traits passed on by the mother and the sire's mother.

If you think all dairies should be exclusively "grass-fed" you should look out your window on a snowy Missouri day, or a scorching summer day, and ponder how much grass is out there to turn into a gallon of milk daily, per animal.  What you feed your goats depends on how much milk they give or you expect, how much land you have, and what is growing on that land, and what feed and hay is available to buy.

For more info on raising dairy goats, look at fiascofarms.com.  



Saanen giving long lactation, lots of milk, Merryl Winstein, St. Louis, MO