Raw milk rules confusing

Farm Forum

On June 20, the Rapid City Journal wrote an editorial on raw milk stating the proposed rules by the Department of Agriculture should be voluntary. I agree the rules do not follow Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Better Government initiative; I also support mandatory rules for producers selling raw milk directly to consumers under applicable statute.

To be clear: Producers and consumers want rules that support small business owners and provide for the health and safety of South Dakotans. I believe such rules are possible. I also believe the current rules as they exist now are unclear and confusing, which is why I was pleased when the S.D. Department of Agriculture said they would be working in 2013 to clear up the rules and put them all into one section.

But that isn’t what they did. They wrote new rules, created more regulations, and tossed in rules that apply to pasteurized milk. And they declined to look at current science and South Dakota’s own health data that show raw milk is not a health concern. The amendments are a minor improvement, yet much confusion and red tape remains.

The ag department is accepting written comments through Aug. 5, oral comments July 26.

Gena Parkhurst

Rapid City