Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are raw milk sales legal in Indiana?

For a brief time during my childhood, my parents purchased milk directly from a neighboring farm.  It came in recycled glass bottles rather than commercial cartons or jugs, but on my bowl of cereal, it tasted the same as store-bought milk.  I cannot help but remember that during the summer months the milk actually had a green tint due to the pasturing of the cows.  Little did I realize (or care) that I was drinking "raw" milk.  Eventually, for convenience and consistency, or perhaps because the neighbors' cow went on to greener pastures, my parents switched the family over to store-bought milk. 

Raw milk is "unpasteurized" milk. The state of Indiana requires pasteurization, a process by which milk is heated to slow microbial growth, on all milk that is delivered for "human consumption."  Specifically, Indiana law states that:

A person may not offer, display for sale, sell, deliver, or have possession of with intent to sell or deliver milk or milk products for human consumption unless every particle of the final mixture of the milk or milk products used in processing or manufacture has been thoroughly pasteurized by equipment approved by the [Board of Animal Health].

Indiana Code 15-18-1-21.  There are exceptions for certain types of cheese, which may be made from raw milk and sold directly to the public.  But sales of raw, unpasteurized milk from a farm directly to a consumer are not allowed in Indiana.   

I have heard of many attempts to circumvent the state's pasteurization requirement. I have seen raw milk offered for sale to "pets." And I have heard of cow-sharing arrangements, where individuals purchase a percentage of a cow, thus entitling the person to a percentage of the raw milk.  I offer no opinion as to whether these methods for delivering raw milk to consumers are legal.  But anyone providing raw milk to someone else should understand that there certainly are legal risks.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FFA = Future Farmers of Afghanistan?

I had lunch today with First Lt. Bart Lamont who recently returned to Indiana from the fields of Afghanistan.  Bart spent his time in Afghanistan working on agricultural education, including setting up the Future Farmers of Afghanistan.  You can read more about Bart's time Afghanistan on his very informative blog:  From the Statehouse to the Fields . . . of Afghanistan.

Bart was also featured in today's Hoosier Ag Today radio program, where he talked about the good work America's men and women are doing to build Afghanistan's agricultural economy.  Welcome home Bart!