Cow-Boarding Posed as Solution to Dairy Industry Woes
Annapolis, MD, Jan. 20, 2014 ( GLOBE NEWSWIRE ) — General Assembly. Delegates James Hubbard, (D-23A) and Nic Kipke (R-31) have introduced a bill, HB 3, Raw Milk–Consumer Owned Livestock, to restore green pastures and grazing cows to Maryland. The bill reinstates Maryland citizens’ right to engage in contractual agreements, otherwise known as cow-boarding or cow shares, with dairy farmers for fresh milk.
Delegate Hubbard, who is known in Annapolis for championing environmental bills, says “The dairy farmers in Maryland need our support. We’ve lost over 225 dairy farms between 2002 and 2010. I hope to see our dairy farms thrive. I sponsored this legislation so that consumers can obtain fresh milk in Maryland and support our farmers. It is especially important right now that farmers be able take advantage of all economic opportunities,” says Hubbard. “Because this is what consumers are seeking, having access to raw milk in Maryland would encourage local food and local retail sales, generate taxes, and the earned dollar would be encouraged to stay in the community and the state. It is a win-win-win.”
Advocates of the bill cite the restoration of consumer rights, economic benefits to Maryland farmers and environmental benefits through sustainable agriculture practices that drive consumers to these contractual arrangements. Currently, thousands of Marylanders source fresh milk out of state and other products along with it. Giving Maryland farmers the opportunity to serve these customers will restore untold economic opportunity to Maryland farmers while improving the environment.
Supporters of fresh dairy advocate for milk from pasture grazing animals. Grazing animals build topsoil, sequester carbon, and their manure is a renewable, natural fertilizer for other crops. More pasture grazing of animals in Maryland would help prevent run-off of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2006, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, under the direction of Ted Elkin, deputy Director, Office of Food Protection and Consumer Health Services, redefined dairy agistments as a sale of raw milk, thereby criminalizing cow shares in Maryland and sending thousands of Maryland consumers to other states for fresh milk. Dairy agistments are when farmers pasture, feed and milk a cow for the owners who might not have the land themselves. Horse boarding is a common agistment practice. Farmers support HB3, because during this time of economic crisis in Maryland, when many are looking to the government for economic support, it would create substantial business opportunity and revenue within the state of Maryland.
The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a Washington, DC-based nutrition education 501(c)(3) with the mission of disseminating science-based information on diet and health. Named after Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, WAPF publishes a quarterly journal for its 16,000+ members, supports 572 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference. Contact at (202) 363-4394, westonaprice.org,firstname.lastname@example.org
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