I was talking with a veteran raw milk producer a few days ago, who was telling me that his dairys raw milk sales seemed to have leveled off for the first time in years. Now, it was meat sales that were climbing rapidly.
He wasnt sure what was behind the shift away from fast upward growth, but he didnt think people were losing interest in raw milk. No, he figured it was newbies who have launched raw dairies who were siphoning sales from his dairy.
From some of the discussion following my previous post, it certainly doesnt seem to be existing conventional dairies that are trying to capitalize on the growing demand for raw milk. There just arent a lot of examples of such dairies making the transition from selling pre-pasteurized milk to processors, to selling raw milk directly to consumers.
In New England, there seem to be more raw milk options available as time goes on. In the town of Groton, MA, whose board of health rescinded a town ban on raw milk sales last year after a big push by residents, at least two local farmers (not conventional dairies) are seeking to obtain state raw dairy permits.
We learned from testimony offered before the Illinois Board of Health last year that massive amounts of raw milk have been pouring into the Chicago area. Part of the reason was new herd shares, the regulators said. Another has to be an easing in regulatory pressures in both Illinois and Wisconsinboth in response to public pressures.
On the West Coast, new dairies keep springing up. One I have been in contact with is Just Earth Farm in Oregon, which has been laying the groundwork over the last year for a private membership arrangement. Susanne Stover reports on the farms Facebook page that she and her husband have completed the final preparation phase of milk testing to conform with standards set by the Raw Milk Institute : We are happy to report that our first round of milk testing is completed, and we have very clean milk! Coliform count came back <1 per mL (RAWMI standards require levels <25 per mL) and the Standard Plate Count test came back <2,500 per mL (RAWMI standards require they be <15,000 per mL). What do these extra-low bacteria counts mean for you? We can now offer you farm memberships in good conscience. All our hard work is having the desired effect: SAFE, CLEAN milk from our grass to your glass!
I should add that the Stovers are also selling to new members a Welcome Packet that includes my new book, The Raw Milk Answer Book, to educate farm members about raw dairy.
Not only does demand for raw milk continue to grow, but a new breed of farmerboth safety and business orientedis moving to fill the demand. That is a good thing, both for nutritional purposes and local economic development.
Whats happening in your area of the world? More raw milk available? Less raw milk? New suppliers?