Response from Belinda Harris

I recieved a very nice response from Missouri State Rep Belinda Harris to my recent letter about dairy issues. She gave me permission to reprint it here:

Thank you for your email. I like to know that there are people like you in Missouri. Last year my bill did include other dairy products but it was opposed by the Farm Bureau, State Milk Board, Dairy Farmers of America so I downsized it to raw milk and cream. See below the bill I filed in 2009.

I am still interested in allowing the small farmer to sell directly from the farm any product. I am exploring another bill that addresses all products off the farm and direct sell to consumers. I also know of a person that sells her own cheeses and she has a small operation, I will find out how she does what she does.

Rep. Belinda Harris

Here is the original wording she used, that was successfully stymied by the above-mentioned groups:

an individual may purchase and have delivered to [him for his] such individual for such individual’s own use [raw milk or cream] dairy products from a farm. Any person selling dairy products under this exception shall be exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit under sections 196.931 to 196.959, or any rules promulgated thereunder. Any rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of section 196.939 or this chapter shall not be enforced in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of this section. For purposes of this section, “dairy products” include but are not limited to raw milk, skim milk, butter, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, kefir, and yogurt.

The law as it stands just covers raw milk or cream. What an economic and entreprenurial boon the original wording would have been to start-up, part-time, small-scale dairies in Missouri! Alas, we’re too afraid of giving people the right to support their neighbors and make their own choices about food.

It is encouraging that she’s still interested in helping find ways to support direct-market farms. I sent her this piece, too, as a basic law that could help. Nothing may come of this, but we’re grateful to have an elected representative (even if she’s not ours) who thinks like this.

Comments are closed.
Please send us an email if you want to discuss.