The Raw Milk Discussion: Is it good or not?

*Feature Photo: UW Extension Educator Hudson Hill of Afton presented the pros and cons of consuming raw milk during a Food Freedom discussion at the Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days. The session attracted several dozen interested persons. * (Riverton, Wyo.) - One of the more interesting discussions at the just concluded Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days concerned the first in the nation Wyoming Food Freedom Act and what that means for raw milk consumption. University of Wyoming Extension Agent Hudson Hill of Afton, best known locally for his sessions on how to raise chickens, said the Act allows the sale of raw milk. What happens if someone gets ill from drinking raw milk? "In terms of liability, the Act does not protect you from lawsuits, it is no safer or less safer than before, but as a consumer you have a responsibility, a choice," he said. Hudson said the issue is somewhat moot at the moment because "not a lot of milk is available now. The demand outweighs the supply. We're dry, right now." [image: Inline image 2] (ThreeIfByBike Raw Milk / Pitchengine Communities) During the discussion, Hudson said those interested in drinking raw milk do so for a variety of reasons. "It's a personal choice, someone might've been raised on it, it is easily digestible, they know where it comes from and it's a natural product," he said. "People also drink it because of the taste, it contains more fat and good bacteria and some drink it to help allergies." On the other hand, Hudson said common reasons not to drink raw milk include health concerns, disease, access to the product, a lack of knowledge about the product, taste, cost, availability and fear. To address the latter concerns, Hudson suggested consumers can be more responsible if they get to know the producer, visit their dairy and see the conditions there, and establish a relationship. "It is vital to create a connection with the producer to know who you are buying from and the seller knows the customer. It's common sense." In Fremont County, a supply of raw milk is hard to obtain because there aren't very many dairy cows here. Only two were entered into the county fair this year, said Extension Educator Alex Malcolm. Hill noted the lack of dairy cows in the region is due to the commitment it takes to raise the cows. "You need proper facilities, the nutrition fed to the cows is critical, the cows need to be milked twice a day, they can produce too much milk, they have to be appropriately bred, and the milking stations need to be clean, that's a key." He also said a dairy farmer needs to pick the right breed of cow, be it a Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey or Holstein. #county10 #news