FoFF’s efforts to modernize the raw milk laws and implement a licensing program with food safety standards was not successful this year. Although we had an overwhelming amount of community support and more than 100 people submitted testimony in favor of creating a safe and community minded path forward for raw milk farmers in Oregon, the bill was strongly opposed by the Farm Bureau, the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, and others. Not all Grade A dairy farmers feel this way, and many see raw milk production as a crucial entry point to the industry. We invite you all to listen to the testimony from Ross Bansen (a Grade A Organic Dairy Farmer in Monmouth) to learn more about the nuances the industry doesn’t acknowledge. We are disappointed that these groups were not willing to work with us on a solution and hope we can bring folks to the table in the interim to determine the best path forward for raw milk. There is high demand both to consume and produce this product and plenty of science based food safety standards to draw from. Let’s move this forward!
Although there was not the political will to move this policy forward this year, our legislative champion Rep. McLain is excited to work with us in the future to bring together stakeholders on both sides of the issue to develop a new proposal in future sessions. Raw milk is not going away. There is huge demand for the product, and plenty of farmers looking for safe, legal ways beyond the license exemption to fill that need. As long as that remains true, Friends of Family Farmers sees it as our duty to try to find a way for our farmers to sustain their businesses, feed their communities and provide a safe, wholesome product. We are really encouraged by the conversations we had during this session and the outpouring of support we had from the community. Although HB 2616 didn’t move forward this time, we are very interested in continuing the discussion and bringing together stakeholders on both sides of this issue to help us find a solution that affords our farmers more opportunity to responsibly bring raw milk to those who want to drink it.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- ADD YOUR NAME TO THE PETITION – Tell the Oregon legislators that you want safe, locally raised raw milk to be easier to purchase and produce in Oregon and stay connected to find out future ways to get involved.
About the Bill
Oregon prides itself on being a state with happy cows, lots of cheese and a national presence in the dairy industry. In reality our state has been losing dairy farms by the dozens in the last few decades because of the pressure to “get big, or get out” in the Grade A dairy industry. This type of dairy, which fills grocery store shelves but involves lots of licensing and processing equipment, is mostly full of farmers who sell their milk to more centralized creameries because of the cost of production. But what about the raw milk producers who can’t participate in that system? Here in Oregon, raw milk producers have existed in a legal limbo for too long and their liminal status keeps them from thriving. FoFF is bringing forward a proposal in the 2023 Legislative Session to expand opportunities and provide a pathway to farm viability for raw milk producers.
2023 POLICY PROPOSALS:
RAW MILK AND SMALL DAIRY REGULATIONS
Based on member feedback, survey suggestions, conversations and sessions, we have identified a few actionable steps to help raw milk producers grow their business, when desired, and access a broader consumer base. With the state’s growing prioritization of creating an equitable, accessible and local food system — especially as we continue to navigate food access challenges exacerbated by the pandemic — we propose changes to Oregon’s sales regulations for dairies that fall under the exemption status laid out in ORS 621.012.
In 2023 and in future Legislative Sessions as needed, the Oregon Legislature should consider:
- Off-Premise Sales – Permitting off-premises sales (such as in farmers
markets and food hubs) and including delivery options of raw milk for
- Removing Cow Prohibition – Repealing the raw cow’s milk prohibition in
ORS 621.116 to help remove barriers to accessing insurance for small
- Training Access – Establishing a platform to report on raw milk safety
training, risk analysis and testing standards for licensed dairies engaging
in raw milk sales.
Read our FULL POLICY REPORT
Read our FULL RAW MILK BLOG POST
Sign Our Petition:
I want safe, locally raised Raw Milk to be easier to purchase and produce in Oregon!
Tell the Oregon Legislature that it’s time to legalize raw milk sales in our state. Sign the petition below to show your support!
InFARMation: Shouldn’t it be Easier to Buy Raw Milk?
Love Our Advocacy? Donate to Support it!
Advocacy is best when it is by and for our community. We fund our systems change work with small donations from individuals like you who are impacted by these policies. Whether you’re a farmer looking to sell your raw milk off farm or a customer wanting to buy your raw milk at the farmers market, your support makes this possible. Your tax deductible donation also helps keep our advocacy programs free to everyone!