January 15, 2008

Raw Milk Use Share to be Tested this Week

You have to ask yourself why the gubermint is so all over people who are just trying to feed themselves in a healthy manner and at the same time allowing cattle to be imported from Canada and allowing cloned meat and milk (shudder...eew) to be sold into the human food chain without labeling. That's right, cloned meat is deemed to be the same as traditionally bred animals and as such, says USDA, needs no special labeling. Read about it here.

Anyway, this is what I wanted to notify you about, especially if you live in New York. If you live near Albany or Waterloo please make the effort to attend one of these hearings. The gubermint believes we aren't awake or paying attention. It is time for them to be proven wrong.

For more background information about the fight for our right to drink raw milk, please visit The Complete Patient.


Meadowsweet LLC
c/o Steve and Barbara Smith,
2054 Smith Rd.,
Lodi, NY (607-582-6954)
January 16, 2008

Raw Milk Use Share to be Tested this Week

In March 2007, dairy farmers Steve and Barbara Smith of Seneca County, NY dropped their raw milk dealer's license in order to start an innovative cow share program. In an era where the pressures of agribusiness and state regulation threaten the viability of family run farms, the Smiths, who have more than 12 years experience at dairy farming, find themselves at odds with the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FCLDF), a national organization set up to defend farmers and consumers from government interference, has taken on the Smiths' case. The Smiths' struggles with the Department of Agriculture and Markets will serve as a test case to determine if the State's regulatory power extends to a group of private citizens who produce and consume their own food of their own choice.

The Smiths reorganized their dairy into a limited liability company, Meadowsweet Dairy LLC (Meadowsweet) in March, 2007. The dairy delivers raw milk, yogurt, butter and buttermilk to the members of the cow share.

The newly formed LLC has only one asset, a herd of dairy cows. Meadowsweet members have an agreement with the Smiths to tend to, manage and house the herd for the benefit of the LLC. The equity interest for the LLC's 110 members is in the form of raw milk and raw dairy products produced by the cow herd and processed by the Smiths. This is accomplished without permits or licenses. However, the State of New York, through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, is challenging the new farming model.

Since the inception of the cow share, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets has pressured the Smiths and Meadowsweet LLC. Citing their responsibility to protect public health, the regulatory arm of the agency is being used to harass the dairy. The state agency has conducted numerous inspections, seized products, ordered the destruction of 260 pounds of raw dairy products, attempted to search the Smith’s house, issued letters threatening fines and penalties. And now the Department of Agriculture and Markets has ordered the Smiths and Meadowsweet Dairy LLC to appear in Albany and show cause why the Department should not shut down the operation and levy fines.

Over the next two weeks, Meadowsweet will confront the Department of Agriculture and Markets in two separate hearings. The first hearing will be at the Department offices in Albany on JANUARY 17 at 11AM. This is an administrative hearing within Department of Agriculture and Markets. The Department will consider ordering the Smiths to CEASE AND DESIST from providing milk to its cow share members.

The second hearing is set for JANUARY 22 at 1:30PM in Seneca County Court in Waterloo, NY. At this hearing, the Court Judge will consider issuing a preliminary injunction against the Department of Agriculture and Markets to keep the agency from further harassing the Smiths until the dispute between the newly formed cow share program and the Department is resolved.

January 17, 11 AM
Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY
(Right next to the airport)

January 22, 1:30 PM
Seneca County Court
48 West Williams Street
Waterloo, NY

For more information contact: Steve and Barbara Smith, 2054 Smith Rd., Lodi, NY (607-582-6954) email:dairy@meadowsweetfarm.com

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