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LETTER: Raw milk rulemaking process concerning

To the Editor:

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s raw milk rule-making process is very concerning. New Secretary Lucas Lentsch has taken the public through two public hearings, a legislative rules committee and soon a third hearing on Oct. 9; all in the same year. This is unprecedented. How many times in South Dakota history have we experienced such an extensive effort and expense on such a topic?

Since legislative changes were made in 2010 requiring raw milk producers to have a license or permit and to apply a label stating “raw milk” on bottles sold, no cases of illness have been clinically/positively linked to raw milk consumption. Then-Secretary Bill Even stated in legislative committee testimony that he merely wanted to see basic minimum standards for raw milk producers.

Lentsch’s proposed rules go far beyond basic minimum standards. The proposed rules are so burdensome they will likely put raw milk producers out of business. The rules will do nothing for public safety; they will not increase market opportunities for producers. These rules are a solution looking for a problem.