After a long winter layoff, it’s back to work.
First order of business is… wait for it… asking you to help us get a piece of legislation passed.
Bet you weren’t expecting that. After all, farmers aren’t politicians. No, but we’re passionate individuals who can easily tell right from wrong, justice from injustice, and the over reach of government on a regular basis.
So here goes.
We (a group of Utah small farmers), are asking you to help us get “cow sharing” made legal again in Utah.
What’s “cow sharing”?
Simply put it’s when you share physical ownership of a cow with a few other people, and choose to have that cow boarded, fed, and milked by a third party, and to pay that individual for their work. It applies equally to other hooved animals, including goats, sheep, and camelids.
Why isn’t it legal?
Prior to 2007, this process was legal, until a rather wealthy individual went to his legislator with a proposal to sell “raw milk” retail… that is, in a store. When it was all said and done, a law was passed to allow the retail sale of fresh unprocessed milk in a retail store as long as the store owner also held at least 51% ownership of the both the herd and the dairy. The law also outlawed the custom of “cow sharing”.
Now, wouldn’t you know it, there was only one individual, who could qualify… you guessed it. The guy who as for the new law!
Why is the “cow sharing” custom important to you or anyone else?
No matter where you stand on what someone should or should not drink, this bill is completely about private property rights. It’s about the right to jointly own an animal with others, and board it elsewhere for convenience, or as a matter of necessity. It’s also about the right to enjoy the “fruits of that animal” and to pay the keeper for his/her costs.
Already legal in Utah is the right to jointly own an animal, board it elsewhere, and pay the farmer. Think boarding of horses, purchasing calves and having the farmer raise them until time to process them for your freezer. Same thing with hogs, sheep, and goats.
What are we asking you to do?
If you live in Utah, we’re asking you to contact the House Agriculture Committee, and to express your support on our behalf. Also, if possible, we’re asking your to attended this committee meeting on Friday, February 6. While it’s not yet listed on the Committee calendar, our people have been assured the bill will be taken up in committee that day.
Here is a link to the actual bill, HB 104.
Here are the unlinked email addresses of the committee members. All you have to do is copy/paste each of the addresses into your email program.
Here is a copy of the letter I sent. Notice, it’s personal to my situation and interest. Please make your letter personal, also.
Dear Rep Noel,
I urge you to favorably consider HB 104 as a bill about private property rights.
I have a friend who travels for business. However she would like to keep a dairy goat. At this time, I have room for her goat, and am willing to care for her goat, feed it, and even milk it, in exchange for payment for my time and costs. She would like to have some, if not all the milk back for the rest of her family.
Should I choose to enter into this arrangement, both of us would become criminals, running afoul of the Utah Dairy Act regarding Cow Shares.
It really seems unfair, and even totally unreasonable to me. She’s making an effort to keep her family somewhat “connected” to the land, and yet, Utah, a state which prides itself in protection of private property, makes this arrangement totally illegal.
**I fully understand you may feel very conflicted, as a member of the Utah Farm Bureau. Please, this is all about the rights of individuals to enjoy their animals, and the fruits thereof, no matter the location, or the arrangement agreed upon with the farmer.
Please, I urge you to pass this out of committee, so the bill can get a full and robust debate.
** Included only for the three Farm Bureau members, Reps Noel, Chew, and Sandall.
Can you attend the meeting? If you live in Southern Utah (Cedar City/St George, etc) and want to carpool to Salt Lake City, leave me a comment with a way to get a hold of you. I will put you in touch with drivers.
Please, remember…This is not about the milk. It’s all about private property rights.