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Raw Milk Network Holds Annual Meeting

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2013 April Issue Newsletter

Winton Pitcoff

Members of the NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network met inFebruary to discuss the state of the raw milk industry inMassachusetts and set priorities for the Network’s work forthe coming year. Attendees were also treated to a tour of thenew milking parlor and yogurt making facilities at SidehillFarm in Hawley. 

From all across the state, dairy farmers who sell raw milkdirect to consumers discussed the issues facing their farms.The number of raw milk dairies in Massachusetts hasremained relatively stable for the past few years, at around25, and farmers report growing demand for their milk. The two primary issues the Network will be working on in 2013are:

 Legislation. A bill that would allow raw milk farmersor their agents to deliver milk to their customers wasintroduced and passed out of committee in the 2011-12legislative session, but was not taken up by the Ways andMeans committee for consideration. Thanks to StateRepresentative Anne Gobi, the bill has been reintroducedin this session and the Raw Milk Network has made it apriority to see it pass. 

Insurance. Nearly every dairy farmer in the state has beeninformed by their insurance carrier that when it comes timeto renew their policy, liability coverage for raw milk saleswill no longer be available. As more and more underwritersstop offering this coverage, the few that still do are raisingtheir rates to the point where small farms simply won’t beable to afford the insurance. 

The Raw Milk Network will also coordinate Raw MilkDairy Days again in September, when farms will hold openhouse events and invite anyone to visit and learn about rawmilk and dairying in general. The Network also plans toupdate its informational materials, including the website.Anyone interested in learning more about the Network orraw milk in general is encouraged to visit www.marawmilk.org, or contact Winton Pitcoff at winton@nofamass.org.The NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network is supported by agenerous grant from the Solidago Foundation.

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