New Jersey Ag News
Raw milk bill to be submitted again
By JANE PRIMERANO
TRENTON (Jan. 15, 2017) — Once more, Assemblyman John DiMaio, R-Dist. 23, is sponsoring a bill to allow raw milk sales in New Jersey.
The bill A-696, sailed through the assembly’s agriculture committee unanimously on Dec. 12 but has not yet been scheduled for a vote, a DiMaio spokesman said on Jan. 9.
It must pass both the assembly and the senate.
DiMaio has long supported raw milk sales in the state.
The Warren County assemblyman represents an area once dominated by dairy farms, originally Brown Swiss and Golden Guernsey, later the ubiquitous black and white Holstein.
While dairy farming is no longer the dominant industry it was, cows are still a presence, albeit mostly in small numbers and often as 4-H projects, and farmers are lobbying for the ability to sell raw milk directly to consumers.
Pennsylvania allows raw milk sales, which means residents along the Delaware River have a short hop to purchase raw milk when they like.
Some of them can even do it without paying a toll, since the Belvidere-Riverton and Phillipsburg-Easton bridges are free.
New York also allows raw milk sales and DiMaio’s home town of Hackettstown is barely a half-hour from the state line. A total of 39 states allow raw milk sales.
Farmers in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, who sell raw milk to New Jersey residents, told a Pennsylvania daily newspaper they are not worried about losing business.
After the Dec. 12 vote, DiMaio issued a statement:
“People throughout the country have been drinking raw milk for generations because they like it or believe it’s beneficial. Many New Jersey farmers are struggling to survive. Giving them the opportunity to market raw milk will save jobs and maintain their livelihood. It also provides convenience for consumers. .
The bill contains plenty of safeguards to protect consumers.”
The bill assures farmers must certify no artificial growth hormones are used, post signs raw milk is not pasteurized and allow regular agriculture department inspections as well as comply with all applicable state dairy laws.