Raw Dairies Everywhere Can Learn An Important Lesson from OPDC: Turn Your Customers Into Warriors

The Harvard Business School is always on the lookout for interesting business case studies to help teach its high-powered students about the latest trends in business management.

I’m going to nominate Organic Pastures Dairy Co. for consideration as an HBS case—as an extraordinary example of a company that has forged such a close bond with its customers that they have become a potent political weapon on behalf of the company. Whatever the food safety issues at Organic Pastures, the true nature of the agenda became clear when the California Department of Food and Agriculture rushed to lift the quarantine after OPDC's owner, Mark McAfee, said, “Enough screwing around,” and had the clout to back up his demand. Without the clout, OPDC would still be waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It’s clearer than ever that politics comes before any considerations of safety in this struggle.

Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures, and his wife, Blaine.A core teaching principle at HBS is for students, who are tomorrow’s senior company executives and entrepreneurs, to continually come up with new and creative ways of reinforcing among their customers such traits as loyalty, commitment, caring. In today’s globally competitive price-sensitive marketplace, it’s become ever more difficult to encourage even the most basic loyalty, let alone commitment and caring, among customers.

But from the time OPDC was shuttered four weeks ago for being connected epidemiologically to five illnesses from E.coli O157:H7, its customers have been there on Facebook, bemoaning the loss of the opportunity to pay $18 a gallon for raw milk, demanding the government regulators get the hell out of the way of production. News of the five illnesses that led to the shutdown barely rated any mentions of concern from customers. Even the news Friday that the quarantine was lifted had any number wanting their milk…immediately. Said one woman: “Went to Berkeley Bowl yesterday, no raw milk ;-( ..its been weeks now, what are you doing with all that milk, this is a travesty. Are the cows depressed? I am!

When all was said and done (and there was a lot to say and do), the struggle at Organic Pastures Dairy Co. came down to political power. And it turned out that OPDC had an ace in the hole in its struggle with the CDFA. The company tried to maintain a professional relationship with the regulators. But eventually, the regulators reverted to form by delaying unreasonably, so OPDC played its ace. And the regulators, afraid to confront the coiled raw power inherent in those highly committed consumers, backed off.

Believe me, that is the kind of company relationship with customers that companies large and small would pay the world for. They hire fancy consultants, engage trendy advertising agencies, and do pricey marketing studies to figure out how to make it happen. Inevitably, they determine that it is commitment that can’t be bought. It must be nurtured, developed, earned, over a long period of time. In fact, I can’t readily identify a similar kind of intense relationship that so many paying customers have with a company as OPDC has with its customers. (Facebook users are very loyal, for example, but they don’t pay for the privilege.)

If there has been one lesson we have learned over six years of The Raw Milk Revolution, it is that regulators aren’t going to give an inch…unless forced to do so. Highly committed consumers are the most potent weapon producers have. We saw another example earlier this year in Kentucky, when members of John Moody’s food club refused to abide by a quarantine of their products. Faced with a hornet’s nest of incensed consumers, regulators backed off.

OPDC has been extremely skillful in forging such a tight bond with its customers that, when the dairy was shut down four weeks ago, they were outraged. When OPDC finally warned CDFA that it would loosen this army of upset citizens on the political power structure, the agency capitulated. No, anything but that, CDFA seemed to be saying.

OPDC differs from most other producers of raw milk around the country in terms of its size and the legal rights it has. But there is an important similarity: every raw dairy can educate its customers or shareholders of the risks of political interference with access to their food. Dairies can prepare customers for the possible (no, inevitable) need to become involved in continuing access.

Dairies need to alert their customers to the outrages taking place elsewhere in the country. They need to let them know what customers elsewhere are doing to fight back. Most critical, they need to let their customers know that consuming raw dairy is a right that has to constantly be re-earned and fought for, again, and again…and that they may well be called on to take up positions on the front lines in the battle.

Such education needs to take place in advance of a government crackdown. Facebook is an excellent tool for spreading the word. You can be sure the CDFA regulators (and their FDA bosses in Washington) were monitoring the OPDC Facebook page, and frightened by what they read.

You can also be sure that the FDA watched very closely what happened at OPDC, and didn’t like all the clout OPDC has cultivated via its customers. It will likely conclude it should step up the pace even further over its recent aggressive push against dairies, and pressure its state lackeys to do the same, before other dairies or organizations can emulate OPDC.

The FDA is in a battle against time. It is a battle described today by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman: “ ’The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over,’ says Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN and the author of the book ‘How.’ ‘The old system of “command and control”— using carrots and sticks — to exert power over people is fast being replaced by “connect and collaborate” — to generate power through people.’ Leaders and managers cannot just impose their will, adds Seidman. ‘Now you have to have a two-way conversation that connects deeply with your citizens or customers or employees.’ “

The CDFA leadership didn’t do anything in terms of collaborating or having anything approaching a “two-way conversation” about the illnesses that led to the shutdown of OPDC, or the investigation that followed.  Just acting like scared mice was a missed opportunity to educate people about what happens during a challenging food safety investigation of the sort that occurred at OPDC. It sounds as if McAfee tried to access information that would help him correct possible problems, but that the CDFA kept him at arms length. Sorry, “privacy” only extends to victims’ names—it doesn’t apply to insights and clues gained from the multipronged investigation. And bloggers here hitting McAfee over the head about his “husbandry” at this point isn’t productive, either.

The FDA deadwood thinks it can defy the trend described by Friedman, for a good while. But it understands that once the number of loyal and boisterous consumers spreads widely beyond California, powerful elected officials will have no choice but to act, and force replacement of the pathetic arrogant bureaucrats currently seeking to terrorize small dairies and deprive ordinary people of good food. But in order for that trend to come to fruition, dairy farmers must teach their consumers to become effective warriors, and consumers must take the solemn responsibility to heart.

No one would argue that an alleged loss of $500,000 in one month is a cause for concern.

MW

David, thank you for your kind words. Your assessment of this struggle is spot on. Some of the postings have been injurious to my heart and spirit. This post has restored faith in my heart that a unified and unclouded voice is the only way our food freedom rights will be protected. Our OPDC "warriors" are our family, and we are thankful and blessed for each and every one of them. As we continue to teach about whole foods, we encourage the world to join us! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Blaine McAfee

That was a first....my wife has just made her first post at TCP. Go Blaine!!!

The secret sauce is this....it is teaching.

It is touching people at a deep place. A place that connects food to medicine. When humanity, love, raw milk and healing connect....warriors are created.

Mark

Mark,

If a half million/month was on the table, even my wife would post on TCP!

Good luck with all of your upgrades at the dairy. Hopefully they are more effective than the band-aids put in place by the big ag beef and egg industries.

Happy holidays

MW

Violet,

Deer hunted in our national forests have Ecoli 0157H7 pathogens found in their guts when tested. Cows when stressed can slough pathogens. Calves when tested on many dairies have shown salmonella and ecoli pathogens. They have immature immune systems and shed them regularly.

The pathogens found in the calf area at OPDC were from soil samples not from the actual live animals fecal samples.

A dry clean udder is critical. We use iodine for dipping, a clean cloth towel and water to wash. Our milk filters look new....when evaluated after each milking.

Love and peace sister,

Mark

Mark is the righteous leader of his consumers. His husbandry has some similarities with CAFO production. That being said, his products are head and shoulders above most large-volume producers.

Mark is not a leader of small raw milk producers. We have strong feelings about animal husbandry which are not very much like Mark's. We are not trying to feed a whole state, much less ship across state lines.

I'm glad OPDC is back in production. The fact that it took a month only proves David's point. All food producers are not treated equally.

Mark

Once again, I am happy that OPDC is back. You were part of the orginal raw milk seminar series at Rutgers University. Raw Milk, Mother Nature's Inconvenient Truth by Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures Dairy: http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20080515/n1

The Raw Milk Debate at Rutgers continues:

http://news.rutgers.edu/focus/issue.2011-11-29.5885625106/article.2011-12-14.9418220400/

http://www.rutgers.edu/news-center/rutgers-today

Organic Pastures Dairy, run by Mr. & Mrs. McAfee, are selling raw milk. They are not transporting it across state lines, nor does their business require food safety measures necessary for transporting raw milk (or any highly perishable food) over long distances/ time intervals.

E-coli contamination happens. The food&safety authorities work with the dairy, quickly help, get the problem solved. Well, that's how it SHOULD be!

Now here's what I don't understand: Why is there such strong advocacy for dairies who DO transport raw milk products across state lines, but don't put measures in place for safety? There is the example of very small single farmer dairies who are being prosecuted for transporting raw milk across state lines. If they are such small providers, how are they able to produce such large volumes of dairy products, more than locals can use? And if they DO produce large volumes, they aren't using horse and buggy to transport raw milk from one state to another over the course of a week, not without spoilage.

I guess it seems confusing because the small in-state dairies, who are often unfairly targeted by regulators, are 100% law abiding! I am much more sympathetic to their situation than those who break old laws about interstate transport. It doesn't seem fair to the small dairies. (And it seems better, fresher, to buy locally anyway).

But I might be wrong! I has been known to happen before!

Mark, I had hoped you had learned lessons from the 2006 outbreak. I guess not. It saddens me when you write,
My information comes from a direct source high inside DPH. Only two kids were hospitalized not three. I do consider a visit to the hospital a hospitalization. No one is privy to details...HIPPA laws.
Two kids suffered HUS....not three. If three suffered HUS the third was extremely mild and did not require treatment in a hospital.

In essence what you are saying is that the recall information was incorrect, but if a 3 child had HUS, it was mild and did not require hospitalization. Really? You make it sound like the child had a cold. Let me get this straight. This 3rd child had a stool sample that was positive for E.coli 0157:H7 and was diagnosed with HUS, but did not go to the hospital? This means that an abnormal red blood count was observed along with reduced kidney function, and the child remained at home. Hmmm.something does not add up here.

The diagnosis of HUS is NOT treated lightly. HUS typically shows up around day 6 to 10 of non-stop, severe, painful, diarrhea, piggybacked with vomiting. The first sign is an abnormal red blood cell count, and then lowered kidney function counts would start appearing. HUS is a red blood cell disorder. The red blood cells start dying and they clog up the kidneys.

So what would a mild case look like? Statistically, 50% of people diagnosed with HUS need kidney dialysis. Once the diagnosis occurs they will start monitoring urine output. A catheter is inserted. Next they start filling you up with fluids and meds to try keep the kidneys functioning. There is a possibility that this person may still need a blood transfusion. Once the red blood cells start dying, hemoglobin starts dropping quickly. They only way they would know if the HUS was or was not progressing are by measuring urine output and monitoring BUN and creatinine blood tests that measure kidney function. They would know within 24 hours which way the disease was headingrecovery or kidney dialysis.

When outbreaks occur, I think you better stick to talking about your cows.

I do find it interesting that you report after a month they cannot determine if E.coli 0157:H7 found in the calving area was a DNA match to the sick children. Hmmmm.. Either it is or it isnt.

I started laughing when I saw the date on my previous post. Am I really posting this stuff on my son's birthday? Today he is an offical teenager. Life is good!

Ellie:

One thing to consider is that "across state lines" is not the opposite of "local." I live in the corner of a state, with portions of 3 states much closer than most of my own state. It is quite possible for a dairy's "locals" to include out-of-staters.

David, I believe the posters on this blog have been saying for a while now, that the raw dairy consumers need to step up and "fight" for their right to consume what they choose.
Educating them on how/ways that their voices will be heard is key. educating the general public is also key.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/trent-arsenault-sperm-donor-fda-regulation_n_1154493.html

"calls his "sperm donor friendly diet" (twice daily fruit-and-raw-milk smoothies) "

More terms the FDA doesn't define....It's all about money. Sperm donation is big business.

Ellie,
The small dairies shipping out of state are fulfilling contracts to members of buying clubs, who either own shares in the cows or are part of organizations that lease the cows. The law and legal precedent aren't clear as to whether such private arrangements violate the law. The government is treating the dairies as if they are violating the law, but courts will likely have to make the final decision about the legality of such arrangements.

David

A perspective on public servants....

Today I received a Frantic call from one of our northern CA retail stores. The store management said that they had been visited by armed agents and told to remove OPDC from shelves. The store management was petrified by the visit of an armed badge wielding inspector from one of our state agencies. In fact the actual story was quite different.... The inspector was wanting to know more about raw milk.

After all was said and done...after I called the inspector directly ( I had his card because he had come to OPDC weeks ago ) and after I called the inspectors boss in Sacramento...I knew him also. Guess what....the story was clarified and was dramatically different. The store and it's fear was all out of sorts and unfounded. What the store had taken as harassment was nothing at all. The agency was truly sorry for the misunderstanding and the stores anxiety was completely soothed by an email cc to all involved. When raw milk, concealed guns, badges and angst mix...rumors, imagination and fear go ballistic.

Our OPDC relationships and professionalism with inspectors at the dairy now carried through to relationships at the stores and with those same inspectors.

We must all remember that we need to build mature high expectation, working relationships with agencies. They last....they matter. It just so happens that this armed badge wearing inspector is one of the respectful, considerate and professional people I have ever met. I treated him with respect and I got the same in return. When I shared with him the story about his visit to the store...he was apologetic, sorry and straightened it out immediately.

My advice....ignore the badge and the concealed weapons bulging from under the jacket and treat the human with respect. Go to the heart of the man or woman and appeal to their soul and humanity. Odds are they will return the favor.

The store is happy, OPDC is seen as a connected rational peace maker and the consumers are elated.

Just another story from the front lines...mostly about the human condition and interpretations, exaggerations, rumor and not about any hot battles brewing. The agency also sees OPDC as professional and not interested in having our stores harassed. They are on notice...but done in a very politically correct manner. Do not mess with raw milk.

Life is never boring...in raw milk land.

"The store management said that they had been visited by armed agents and told to remove OPDC from shelves. The store management was petrified by the visit of an armed badge wielding inspector from one of our state agencies. "

Told to remove OP milk from the shelves.......armed badge wielding.......

"In fact the actual story was quite different.... "

So you are saying the store management lied or was too stupid to know the difference between someone asking about a product and being told to remove it from the shelf?

Mark, that is what your words are saying......Your story reeks of self promotion and BS.

Its not always easy for me to feel great about OPDC when I so strongly advocate for decentralized, low-fuel-use, local, small-scale food systems, and especially when so much money and so much government and non-government rule making is involved, but I have to say that really, no matter what ones social or economic politics may be, you just have to like Mark.

Heres a guy that is passionate, by all signs extremely careful within his paradigm, and successful. God knows hes not perfect, but unlike those who hold the big microscope over his words and practices, he is answering, in public, for every word he says, and every action he takes. Who can stand up to that and look righteous? Not me I know, and as well as I can know anything, not anyone else. Still he does his best, and comes up pretty good, and thats just about all we ought to ask of any man.

For the record: I would still like to see America take our centralized-food-source problem seriously enough to begin facilitating small, local farms, especially in and around our urban and suburban zones. I wish that OPDCs were tiny and everywhere instead of big and sitting solely in Sacramento. I wish that all people had the opportunity to develop face-to-face relationships with their farmers. And I wish that all food, especially milk (and while Im on the subject, energy and water as well) could be viewed by all people in their historical context, and thereby bring to understanding the massive social, political, economic, and most of all health problems that we have created.

In the meantime, Ill enjoy my own food community, my own shared, local food system, and my own friends, and from a distance, enjoy Mark McAfee.

Off Topic:

Whats going on with Rawesome?

As usual, David, an an excellent analysis of the situation. You are so right that we raw milk drinkers need to stand in solidarity with our farmers. This means contacting elected and non-elected officials who are interfering with our food rights, doing Raw Milk Freedom Riders-type actions, and more.

I enjoyed Dave Milano's comment as well - very true words.

The video says it all...yes I am happy...yes I am excited and better yet, the OPDC Warriors are elated and have a story to tell about how 31 days without raw milk...hurt them and their kids...and made them sick!!

This is video from our HUB Sale in Glendale CA ( LA area ) 14 hours after the Quarantine was officially lifted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3UYpU6bfr4&feature=youtu.be

Rawesome is languishing in the oppression of its leadership...its followers have taken up the challenge and sales continue at changing locations all arround LA.

You need a secret handshake and a blood sworn promise to gain access.

Thats the news I am being told and it comes from multiple sources. The American spirit is alive!! truely alive and well at Rawesome.

Truth, whole food and health trumps..... guns, oppression and power.

Mark

Casting stones are we?

I have visited industrial sized dairies, small 14-cow and smaller dairies, large scale grass-fed and pasture-raised beef and chicken farms, small meat producers. I have my own very small farm. My Dad's family used to be hog farmers and now have essentially their own small-scale beef CAFO (pen 'em up and feed 'em up). While I detest CAFOs and industrial-sized dairies, their size dictates their management practices. Even the large-scale grass-fed/pastured farms I have visited put into place practices I would never on my own small farm. I have the luxury of small-scale pampering. My animals are happy and because I am not in business, I don't exactly care about the bottom line. Any farm - no matter how green, grass-fed, pastured - when it gets large has to implement different management practices to deal with the substantially larger numbers of animals than the small artisan or personal-scale farms AND the demands of clients. I personally like to support the smaller farms or do it myself on my small farm. Do I condemn the other farms? No. Their practices are infinitely better than those of CAFOs and industrial sized dairies and they are meeting a demand that I could never meet. Fact is many folks still want to get their food from a grocery store. To supply a grocery store you need a predictability of volume that the small farmer cannot meet.

If you are milking and distributing to stores all over the state, then feel free to present you methods if you feel they will add to the quality of other farmers' operations. Otherwise, let's not cast stones where we are not qualified. Of course, we can always state our preferences. But when those preferences go into attacks of a person's character it's going to a level that is really unnecessary and inappropriate.

I for one, am incredibly impressed with Mark's ability to remain civil in the face of all of the sniping. And, while I personally prefer small farms, like Dave Milano, I am impressed with Mark's dedication and commitment to improvement. I am also impressed with Mark's marketing strategy. Brilliant! Getting new customers, retaining them, AND getting them to defend you is a HUGE accomplishment. Yes, to a certain extent marketing is a bunch of BS. That's kind of the point - getting people to want what you have to offer - to NEED it at ALL costs. That's the dream of every person in marketing. If you want to operate a successful business, you need a successful marketing strategy. And Mark has it!

Let me ask all of the snipers this - when a company has a shut down or recall due to a outbreak, do you see them bend over backwards to try to get to the bottom of the problem? Implement practices to prevent it in the future? Did you see that in the peanut illnesses? Egg illnesses? Spinach? etc? No. They press on as usual, often with letters of condemnation from the FDA that they never act on until the next outbreak. And let me ask this, when you look at the number of folks that Mark serves, do you really think that 5 illnesses, spread out over months is that outlandish? Yes, as a parent, I would be devastated if it were my child. But, statistically speaking, it's not that much. I once went to a family party where my Uncle cooked for us all...and we all - every single one of the 25 people at the party - got sick. Vomiting and diarrhea for days, one child hospitalized. What say you to this? DOWN WITH FAMILY PARTIES AND PICNICS!???

"Let me ask all of the snipers this -"

Who are you referring to as snipers?

Jennifer,

We need more rational thinkers like yourself to comment here...we need to retake the commentary at THE COMPLETE PATEINT. Negativism is a blight and evil.

We need to be constructive and build something good to enable access to safe raw milk for all people that want it. That means: family cows, cow shares, micro dairies and yes that means larger operators that are ethical and try their very best to be transparent and serve their consumers in the best way that they can.

Negative attacks that say that it is "my cow or no cows" or "my way or the raw milk starvation highway" or "the only good raw milk dairy is an extremely small dairy".....is not going to work for the future of raw milk. There are many routes to increase of access to safe raw milk. Let us embrace all of these paths. There is room for all of us and many more on that path.

Mark

David

Its good to see OPDC back on line and I admire the McAfee familys commitment at making raw milk products available to so many.

There has always been a grass roots loyalty with respect to raw milk as well as a growing demand throughout North America despite all the fear mongering. It is a natural healthy product that sells itself if consumers are given a chance to purchase it.

Mark

http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2009/1/5/the-heavy-handed-approach-to-raw-milk-regulation-northeasts.html#comment2649242

You posted on the above blog that, We are "bacteria sapiens" and we will die with out 750,000,000,000,000 ( thats 13 zeros....Trillions like our national deficite ) bacteria in us and on us.

Initiating a so called biosecurity program to assure that kids do not contact the calves and employees is unfortunate and is certainly not conducive to natural living. This type of irrational logic is what takes over when fear rules our lives.

On my farm Mark the children are welcomed and encouraged to intermingle with and feed the calves as well as participate in the milking and enjoy the thrill of squeezing some milk out of the cows teat.

Ken

To all . . .

Since I am such a rabble rouser here and are picking on Mark (although he deserves it) . . . I will just start posting links:

My first . . . sent to me by a dear friend:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-19/paul-s-raw-milk-freedom-pitch-reflects-offbeat-campaign-on-rise.html

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Mark is unstoppable in his marketing campaign. What will the regulators say?

http://sfist.com/2011/12/19/prolific_local_sperm_donor_still_on.php

MW

David and others-

The below link is especially interesting:

http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/fbi-undercover-investigators-animal-enterprise-terrorism-act/5440/

"The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has kept files on activists who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms and recommended prosecuting them as terrorists, according to a new document uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act."

....as if it isn't bad enough that Joel Salatin is trying to drum up fear against animal rights activists, now we know that the FBI is doing it too!!!

Once again, I must emphasize how this political ideology of privilege, masquerading as "libertarian" ("freedom for me and mine" without concern for the freedom of others less fortunate, privileged, or propertied) is a big, big problem which this raw milk/food rights movement needs to overcome, or else we will be swept into the dustbin of history.

Our enemy is not public servants. Our enemy is the concentration of corporate capital and repressive state powers, which seek the total revocation of democratic rights and complete control over the populace. Raw milk is but one aspect of the popular struggle against corporate-state tyranny.

We have the ability to become a potentially revolutionary force in American politics, but not so long as the sniping and infighting continue -- very much a product of the rugged individualist ideology. I agree that the attacks against Mark and OPDC need to stop. Mark is doing an incredible job, given the regulatory burden and market pressures he faces in California. But he manages it all without blinking, and continues his fearless leadership of this movement.

Its a good thing Mark was raised by a socialist activist!

Bill,

My dad was an activist for sure. He was so radical that the communist party would not have him.....a label does not exist that will classify his antics. I think he is better described by what he did than what labels might exist to classify him.

For me 2012 is the year of return to basics...we are rededicating ourselves to RAMP, our cows, their happiness, their conditions, their udders, our team and our consumers. Nothing else matters.

As far as biosecurity is concerned, the idea that separating touring kids from calves is really a conflict with all I believe. But given the knowledge that I know and that bad bugs live near or in the calves and I do not know the immune status of the kids that visit...it would irresponsible for me to connect known risks together. In nature weak children would die...GMO's would not exist, antibiotic resistance would not kill people every day. Kids would be raised from birth on some form of raw milk, and organic dirt all over and in them. If raw milk is going to exist, we must all do all that we can to assure safety. That includes doing un natural things given the unnatural situations we face.

Mark

On a daily basis we connect known risks together and often the solutions we promote or mandate to mitigate such risks are often problematic and come with risks of their own if not more so.

Who are the most irresponsible those who allow their child to be vaccinated, or those who do not, those who encourage their child to practice safe sex, or those who encourage their child to be chaste in order to prevent disease? Clearly both sides of the issues have spawned heated debates with both accusing each other of being irresponsible. However neither are in fact irresponsible since they are doing the best they can based on what they believe.

Its fine to mitigating risk; however keep in mind that mandating a questionable solution to a perceived risk with full knowledge of its invasive and disruptive nature is the epitome of irresponsibility and a reflection of our self righteousness and despotic nature. This is indeed a product of either corporate or social state tyranny.

Ken Conrad

Just when we thought all hope was lost, our noble saviors have arrived.

I guess if we do not goosestep in line with Bill we are "Mark"ed.

Hail RAWMI

It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom.

your remark about 'goosestepping in line' puzzles me, Will Wallace ( as if that's really your name!).

is that an allusion to Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 1938 ? Of course that guy was only a National Socialist, who made the big mistake of going to war with the International socialists ... ie. Bill Anderson, and his ilk, whose Stalinist version of Utopia is manifest in Canada in the form of supply management system. Where 33 million people are denied true nutrition , by govt. edict. in order to make the milk marketing boards seem to work. Just the way the Soviet Union lived a culture of lies, pretending to make the target quotas in its 5 year plans.

who are the 'snipers" ? by their fruits ye shall know them. Anyone who assists in getting it out to the people, is a friend of the Campaign for REAL MILK. Every one who slanders Mark McAffee in his calling, reveals herself as moved by covetousness, or worse

On this planet, the perpetual struggle is "Life against Death" ... REAL MILK is living stuff, love incarnate. Which side of that equation are you on?

Dave Milano,
I personally wish there were 20 (or more) dairies around California serving those consumers who want raw milk, instead of just two. There are a number of forces working against the vision we share. One has to do with the intimidating (and very expensive) regulatory requirements necessary to be approved to produce raw milk in California. But another has to do with the high land prices in California, which is both highly urbanized and highly developed agriculturally. The problem with having just one or two producers is that the risk level for consumers is very high. If the regulators can get rid of one producer, they've accomplished a big part of their goal of ridding their world of raw dairy. So it's a strange dynamic--consumers can more easily rally around one dairy than 20, which helps keep the one operating, but the supply source remains tenuous.

Milky Way,
I agree, McAfee has done a great job of branding Organic Pastures, even in the new world of internet sperm donors. So long as he doesn't advertise his connection to the "freelance" sperm donor, guess the FDA can't bother him on this one.

David

I'm not a Stalinist, Watson... more like an "Occupy"-style socialist -- building democracy from the the bottom-up, rather than imposing it from the top-down.

As for the struggle of life against death, here's a good book you might enjoy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_Aid:_A_Factor_of_Evolution

Great piece, David! So uplifting to see OP back in business, and witness the support of their consumers. It's also great to see a positive tone on this blog. Mark's unbounded optimism is perfect.

FTCLDF is planning education for activists. Sometimes it's not so much that consumers don't want to organize, lobby and introduce legislation - they just don't know how. We're as far away from gov't by the people as politicians are. Most anyway....

Just as business needs to prove their value, to stay in business, so do legislators, to stay in office. They are about to get a whole new breed of lobbyists - their constituents.

I loved that article about Ron Paul stumping for raw milk in NH. I bet 2 or 3 other candidates are now trying to understand what raw milk is. Now, that's progress!

RE Raw Milk Freedom Riders: Was anyone else surprised to learn that FDA headquarters is geographically speaking, so far away from any other federal gov't department? I'm still pondering that.

-Blair

Blair, about FDA headquarters in MD, you are correct about its physical isolation...about the only thing missing is a moat and drawbridge.

David

Report from the Grass Roots and raw milk lions den....

I drove to LA today to connect with our consumers and Our wonderful employees at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Record sales....the consumers were filled with joy and thanks.

The quotes of the day included:

" I will never again take my OPDC for granted....I need my raw milk!!! "

This statement was part of the greater statement that really moved me and should move all of us. At least six families told stories of real illness during their 31 days of raw milk famine. Ear infections, arthritic flare ups, skin reactions, asthma coming back, digestive upset....all as a direct result of consumption of pasteurized milk!!!!

This is what creates live long raw milk Warriors. Then came the experience at Our Little Market. They sold 420 half gallons of raw milk in 1 hour. I sent David the before and after pictures of their cold case. The moms at this coop were truly grateful. Passionately thankful and the hugs and stories were a study in gut physiology. Each expressed an interesting testimonial of what happened to their kids and families during their forced raw milk fast. It was both a reinforcement of what I know and a tragic story of suffering.

I hope...I really hope that our friends at CDFA read this blog. Consumers were poised to launch against CDFA or anything or person or agency that continued to separate them from their raw milk. It was great timing to get raw milk back to the shelves. A few more days and desperate moms and pissed off dads have told me, that they were coming to the dairy as matter of survival. This is all fascinating to me.

What is most remarkable to me is this: this is so simple...it is about listening to, nourishing and loving Other human beings...never ever forget that. It is also about 100% commitment to the health of others. Providing this gift to others...is so incredibly rewarding.

Michael Schmidt is right....this is war, but...raw milk is love.

God bless us all.

Obviously raw milk should be sold along with homogenized and pasteurized skim milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, and whole milk. Defatted milk should carry a label that significant loss of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids occurs in processing.

In Wisconsin farmers have to have cooling tanks, clean facilities, and cows examined by vets for health. It is up to customers to determine if milk is sour or off- tasting and not patronize the seller. Usually it is poor cooling facilities.

The FDA is a Nazi-infested organization designed to injure America's health. Using the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution to destroy the milk market is typical of their goal to destroy America. View www.hoaxofthecentury.com for the exposure.