Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Herdshares are Legal to Operate on May 25th in West Virginia: What you need to Know.

As of May 25th 2016, Farmers are legally able to operate raw milk herdshares in West Virginia

At this time, the law has no rules, and there will be no rules until the legislature creates them.

The Department of Agriculture (not the State Vet or the DHHR) "may" (not shall) suggest rules to Rule Making (the Legislature: House and Senate), and that will be during rule making, and you will be able to attend that session and ask to speak during that time, but that could be a month or years away.

Those rules CANNOT deviate away from what is found nationally for other raw milk producers, either.

Read read the full bill and law, click here


You need to have a well written herdshare agreement signed with your share members.

You need to file that agreement via mail (certified if I were you) with the Department of Ag Commissioner with your name and number, as well as the share members information.

You need to include a risk statement in that agreement the buyer reads and sign.

You need to test for Brucellosis and Tuberculosis - while it isn't spelled out, these 2 tests need done by a vet, as a rule. You need these tests yearly. The language says "and other testing" as the state vet dictates, but those can only be applied within the confines of national testing standards, and there are no other testings done, normally, in dairy herds. WV regulations currently only require these testings for dairy herds that are traditional, and you have to have these tests to sell or bring animals into the state, anyway. Cost will be based on your vets charge. 

The Conformation on Operate Date and the Law Came from the Chairman of Senate Rule Making:

Sen. Maynard stated that Debra Graham, Head Senate Counsel for the legislative rulemaking review committee relayed:
"The bill allows but does not require the promulgation of rules by the Agriculture in consultation with the Dept of Health and Human Resources. The animals must meet the health requirements promulgated by the State Veterinarian - they are already in place. The bill requires a signed shared animal ownership agreement containing specified information which may be developed by Agriculture without a rule depending on the information they want. I would say rules are not required to implement the law, unless Agriculture and Health determine that there are some gaps that need filled in."

I suggest emailing the Rules Committees for the House and Senate to let them
know you strongly oppose additional rules, even those that might line up with the national standards (which honestly, this law is the most strict type for shares in the nation, so other rules seem unlikely if they honor the law)

At the time of these writing, no Agenda exists for either committee.

Here is the full language

§19-1-7.  Shared animal ownership agreement to consume raw milk.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, a responsible party may enter into a written shared animal ownership agreement to consume raw milk in which he or she:
(1) Acquires a percentage ownership interest in a milk-producing animal;
(2) Agrees to pay another for the percentage ownership interest for the care and boarding of the milk-producing animal at the dairy farm;
(3) Is entitled to receive a fair share of the animal’s raw milk production as a condition of the contractual agreement;
(4) Agrees to sign a written document acknowledging the inherent dangers of consuming raw milk that may contain bacteria, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli, that has not been pasteurized to remove bacteria and that is particularly dangerous to children, pregnant women and those with compromised immunity. The responsible party then agrees to release the herd seller of liability for the inherent dangers of consuming raw milk but not for those dangers that are caused by negligent acts or omissions of the herd seller; and
(5) Agrees not to distribute raw milk.  The sale or resale of raw milk obtained from a herd share is strictly prohibited.
(b) The signed and executed shared animal ownership agreement shall be filed by the herd seller with the Commissioner of Agriculture and shall contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of the herd seller and the responsible party so that either party may be contacted in the event of an illness.
(c) The herd seller shall meet the animal health requirements for milk-producing animals established by the state veterinarian in accordance with state and national standards including the following:
(1) Raw milk from milk-producing animals intended for consumption shall be from a herd that tested negative within the previous twelve months for brucellosis, tuberculosis and other diseases as required by the state veterinarian. Additions to the herd shall test negative for the diseases within the previous thirty days before introduction into the herd; and
(2) Milk-producing animals producing bloody, stringy or abnormal milk, but with only slight inflammation of the udder, shall be excluded from the milking herd until reexamination shows that the milk has become normal. Milk-producing animals showing chronic mastitis, whether producing abnormal milk or not, shall be permanently excluded from the milking herd.
(d) Parties to a shared animal ownership agreement and physicians who become aware of an illness directly related to consuming raw milk shall report the illness to the local health department and the Commissioner of Agriculture.  Upon receipt of such a report, the Commissioner of Agriculture or his or her designee shall contact and warn other parties consuming raw milk from the same herd seller.
(e) The Commissioner of Agriculture may impose an administrative penalty not to exceed $100 for a person who violates the provisions of this section.  Any penalty imposed under this subsection may be contested by the person against whom it is imposed pursuant to article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(f) The Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Resources, may propose rules for promulgation in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code in compliance with raw milk dairy industry standards.

No comments:

Post a Comment