Big Shots Discuss Raw Milk Behind Closed Doors

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Raw milk walks a thin line between love and hate.

Organic farmers love it, the dairy industry hates it and the state agriculture department says it just wants to keep the public safe. The latter put together a raw milk program and brought it to the Legislature this year, but it ran into opposition from folks arguing the program was too strict.

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The three sides of the milk debate recently met with politicians at the Idaho Capitol to try and iron out their differences.

The Boise Weekly showed up at the meeting, but was asked to leave. It was closed to the public and press, which is legal because it was not an official Legislative meeting.

“There was some resolution and compromise,” said Rep. Ken Andrus Wednesday morning. He recently expressed concerns about the Ag Department rule that some felt nearly made raw milk illegal.

“As I read [the rule], farmers had to have a permit to use it, even for personal use, even for one cow,” Andrus said.

Andrus said the private meeting was a negotiation process to make exceptions to the rule, allowing farmers (with an agreed number of lactating cows) to use raw milk for their personal use and for cow shares. But he said there was strong opposition.

“The dairy industry is concerned about their industry, and their profits,” he said.

Andrus declined to discuss specific details about the new agreement until he sees it in writing, hopefully by March 15.

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