The Power of Numbers in the War Over Raw Dairy--How the CDC Came to Admit a Death Wasn't Categorized Correctly

In this age of the Internet, it's amazing how quickly certain statistics can catch on.

Take the statistic I came up with in my Feb. 11 post, after having assessed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control--that there have been on average 39 illnesses from raw milk cheese between 2000 and 2008. It's the first time I'm aware of that anyone has presented the data that way.

Within days, National Public Radio had a story about the controversy over raw milk cheese, and included this statement, "On average, about 40 people report getting sick from raw milk cheese a year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." The idea was to suggest that raw milk cheese doesn't seem to present a huge public health problem.

There's another related number that has been around much longer, and it's this: Between 1998 and 2008, there have been two deaths from raw milk. This number comes up repeatedly in media reporting about raw milk, courtesy of the CDC, even though I have reported that those illnesses appear to have come from queso fresco cheese, a soft fresh cheese that isn't legal under FDA regulations requiring a minimum 60 day aging period.

The CDC hasn't responded...till now. It all came about as a result of an inquiry made by Mark McAfee, the owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Co., in December, when he challenged claims on the Centers for Disease Control web site stating that raw milk is dangerous. The agency actually agreed to make some slight changes to its language on the site, but when he inquired about statistics concerning raw milk illnesses in California, an official with the agency's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Parasitic Diseases, Janell Routh, stated in part. "From 1998-2008, more outbreaks associated with unpasteurized dairy in California than in any other state (13). There was 1 death reported in that time, from Salmonella Typhimurium."

McAfee expressed surprise about the death. The state wasn't reporting it, he said. His requests to Dr. Routh for more information went unanswered. Finally, he threatened to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

An answer came back last week from an unnamed official of the CDC's information office (cdcinfo@cdc.gov): "The death mentioned in an earlier email was from an unpasteurized dairy product, queso fresco, made from raw milk."

Why is this important? Because statistics have become important weapons in the war over food rights. When the CDC says there have been two deaths from raw milk between 1998 and 2008, that statistic carries a powerful message: you can die from drinking raw milk.

Now all the CDC has to do is admit the second death was from the same cause.

If it turns out that the two people it says died from drinking raw milk didn't, in fact, die from drinking raw milk, then the CDC has lost an important weapon in the government's campaign of fear around raw milk. If no one died in that eleven-year period, suddenly, raw milk isn't quite the danger it has been made to appear. ?

It will be interesting to see how long the CDC will continue to hold onto its treasured statistics in its media handouts.

***

Jared Carter of Rural Vermont reports the organization "received over 200 emails from concerned community members and dozens of inquiries from the media" as a result of my previous post and other reports on the state's threats to take legal action against Rural Vermont's scheduled raw dairy classes. Rural Vermont suspended the classes. "We are working hard to protect the rights of farmers and farm consumers around this issue," said Carter. He requested that concerned consumers express their opposition to Dan Scruton in the Dairy Section of the Agency of Agriculture, 802-828-2433.   

 

David,

Thank you for sharing the discussion that I had with the CDC. I knew there was something very Sheehan about the data. The CDFA in CA did not show any deaths in CA from raw milk. So I knew that somebody high-up was playing fast and sly with the numbers.

When I asked the CDC to please tell the rest of the story on pasteurized milk illnesses and deaths, the best the CDC could do was change their website to show Mary Martin and state that the only GUARANTEE for food safety in milk was pasteurization.

I then reminded the CDC that the last people to die from milk died from pasteurized milk not raw milk....I got no response. Now....that just pissed me off. So I stopped being nice and just sent the divorce lettter to Dr. Routhe MD. I had no further interest in the dialogue.....it was only making the CDC more creative and distructive against raw milk.

My clear conclusion.....the CDC could give a damn about the numbers or the facts. I have no hope of any kind of relationship with doctor Routh, so I just went Jamie Oliver on her:

This is my letter to Dr. Janell Routhe MD at the CDC:

Janell,

The changes made to the CDC website contain one sided stories and partial truths. There is no mention of the deaths from pasteurized milk? There is no mention of the extreme standards for raw milk in CA or states that allow the retail sale of raw milk.

There is no mention of the Two kinds of Raw milks in America. One for people and one for the pasteurizer. The most disingenuous statement repeated throughout the CDC raw milk website is the concept that there is a guarantee of safety with pasteurized milk. There are no guarantees of safety from any food!

Raw milk is not on the top ten risky foods list according to the FDA.?? Pasteurized cheese and pasteurized ice cream are on the top ten most risky foods list!

Tell the families of three people that died after drinking pasteurized milk in MA in 2007 that they were drinking guaranteed safe pasteurized milk. There is not one comment about the risks of pasteurized milk. There were 1300 people sickened in 2006 from pasteurized milk in CA, why was that not mentioned?? Why the one sided information and misleading of the public?

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html#years

I am disappointed that the CDC has not printed a two sided story of good and bad.risks and possible rewards from raw milk. There was no mention of the PARSIFAL study that showed that unprocessed fresh farm milk consumption decreased asthma and allergies greatly. This EU study of 15,000 kids was peer reviewed and widely published. No mention of it?

Dr. Donald Fields ( Chief of Medicine ) at Valley Childrens Hospital near Fresno CA uses raw milk to effectively treat, reduce and prevent asthma. He graduated from UCSF and is a professor of medicine at that medical school. The CDC knows darn well that 5000 kids per year die from Asthma.none die from raw milk.

Do the math!

I am deeply saddened that your efforts to improve the quality of Raw Milk information at the CDC has failed miserably and misleads the public even worse than before.
If it appears that I am a little upsetit is because I am. The CDC is giving out data that contributes to further immune system failure and illness.

Kids that drink raw milk are robustly healthy. The raw milk they drink here in CA is very safe ( not perfect but very safe ).

http://www.californiarawmilk.org/site/ please visit this website if you would like to hear and see the real stories of moms that sing the praises of CA retail tested and inspected raw milk. Raw milk that has transformed their childrens lives and health.

Please rethink the concept of who you serve. You are supposed to be in service to the people of the USA and paid to provide fair balanced information.

You have failed to serve the people. You instead have served industry and the FDA that would like the US public to use drugs to treat every ache and painand never ever think that foods are a part of healing and health. I was a paramedic for 16 years. I know chronic disease. I know medicine all too well. I have said enough and will now leave you alone to think.

Mark McAfee
CEO and Founder OPDC
Retired Medical Educator
Retired Paramedic
Fresno County Health Department.

thank you david ,and thank you mark . great letter !jamie oliver sounds great too. is it on network tv?

im so mad at fda .i stupidly listened to drs and took synthroid which was of no help whatsoever to my hypothyroid problem and finally stopped taking it, have been drinking raw milk plus buying all organic farmers market and local farmers food fro about 4 years the raw milk maybe 3 years and... no more thyroid antibodies! .

and on top of all that the synthroid casued a further helath problem whcih am working on fixing needless to say without pharmacuticals! but with healthy organic fresh foods including lots of raw milk and raw milk cheese .im especailly mad aboutt eh gmo alflafa they obvioulsy want to

make inroad s so that they can have gmo seeds for every single plant and food and animal.

lets all work to keep organic organic and to promote organic farming or beter than organic since corporations are doing thier best to take over organics purley for $ of course not for the old reasons behind organic the good health of the earth , including us.

im so sick, [ well hopefully not that sick literally ,that is ,! ]..literallay, of their lies ,, the fda , the pharmaceutical industry, the big corporations, whole foods included , monsanto the govt [one and the same ] etc .jamie has the right idea!

i stopped shopping a t whole foods since they went along withe coexistence thing, that was the last straw! i cut way down after thye stopped selling raw milk, there are really great small health food stores around.

Mark,

"The most disingenuous statement repeated throughout the CDC raw milk website is the concept that there is a guarantee of safety with pasteurized milk."

Do they claim this or just that it is safer than raw milk? Where?

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/10-dirty-fruits-and-veggies-2451593/?pg=1#comments

In the Comments section, it is obvious that many have no clue about the meaning of 'organic' (I know it is not the same meaning I had once thought) But these responses seem far from reality. And apparently the story wasn't well read. There was a lack of comprehension about washing/residue/contaminated fruits, etc.

Is there a reason the govt entities doesn't give straight answers so that all this confusion would be avoided? Also, the govt entities are well aware of these numerous toxins added to our food chain and not only do they not prohibit it, they fail to give full disclosure to the public consumers. Why is that?

Pete, I skimmed the cdc site, I could find NO words that state, "guarantee of safety with pasteurized milk." If they did state it, that would be an out right lie for sure. I did see where the cdc site stated numerous times that no matter how clean/careful a raw dairy farmer is, they cannot guarantee safety of the raw milk.....Are there guarantees in life?

Pete,

I think you are correct. The original version of the CDC Raw Milk website did state that the only guarantee for safe milk was pasteurized milk. Now it does not explicitly say that...but it does imply it strongly.

Here are a few of the statements on the current CDC anti-rawmilk website.

"No matter what precautions farmers take, and even if their raw milk tests come back negative, they cannot guarantee that their milk, or the products made from their milk, are free of harmful germs"

"Dairying methods have improved over the years but are still no substitute for pasteurization in assuring that milk is safe to drink. Raw milk supplied by certified, organic, or local dairies has no guarantee of being safe."

This certainly implies that pasteurization is a guarantee....

This last one is a bold faced lie....

"From 1998 through 2008, 86 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 1,676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths".

There were in fact zero deaths from raw milk. The CDC admitted that those deaths were from raw milk cheeses. Cheese data is highly suspect because they include illegal imported Mexican cheeses and also thermalized cheeses that are not truly raw are included in this data.

It is an intentional mixed up mess. What better way to keep the argument in "IFR conditions" than to confuse the data.

The changes made to the CDC website did not improve data...it further confused it.

What strikes me as really quite unethical, is that the FDA and PMO controls raw cheeses and the quality of raw milk required for FDA PMO raw cheese is the worst quality of all raw milk. It can be Grade B Manufacturing raw milk. Yuck!! Pathogens, huge numbers of coliforms and the gambit!!

Raw Milk for human consumption is not regulated by the PMO or the FDA, yet....the CDC and FDA mix data from these two unrelated extremes of categories together. To a trained observer this is an outrage. How could extremely high quality raw milk for human consumption be lumped together with the worst class of raw milk????? Only at the CDC...only at the NCIMS or the FDA in dark Milk Mafia confusion control meetings.

It plays on the general publics complete ignorance for maximum fear effect.

Can not wait to add this little piece of information to the next speech I make at the NCIMS...If I get there this year.

Mark

This CDC Food Safety Website is a very interesting place to visit. It shows an increasing incidence of bigger and bigger outbreaks. It also says that the causes include new pathogens and restistance.

Does this not beg the biggest question WHY??? Check out the pie chart.

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/resources/CDCandFoodSafety_121410.pdf

Is this not the barometer of the American Immune system showing us a failure?

Is this not showing and saying that the FDA policy of allowing anti-biotics in animal feed is a tragic fatal failure?

Why are we chasing food when the problem is in the CAFO and antibiotic abusing food production policies and the critically depressed immune status of Americans.

God.... I hate the FDA and their FOOD INC Corporate policies....they are killing Americans !

It is not raw milk at all that is making people ill....it is PMO policies being creatively blamed on High Quality Raw Milk. We got a fight on our hands. It is the People against the FDA and CDC.

Not really any new news.

Mark

Exactly Mark!

It is not raw milk at all that is making people ill.

A stereotyped attitude nurtured by fear is a powerful roadblock and controlling mechanism that keeps people enslaved to the current germaphobic dogma.

Ken Conrad

Hello Friends!

I read blogs about fighting for the raw milk and I am wonder, why nobody concern about the quality of raw milk? Raw milk is VITAL ONLY if cows/goats feed right! Most of the farmers feed they life stock with GMO food which gives back POISON, VERY DANGEROUS POISON, in a form of raw milk. These farmers do not know how to switch their cows/goat to God meaning food because they are afraid to loose quantity of milk and of course it is a financial loss.

Yes, they probably will have such losses. But fighting for the freedom for the raw milk, they are saying that they care about humans. Are they? Just think, when they feed their life stock with GMO food, the life of cows/goatschickens is became shorter. Then with time cows/goats and etc will stop to have a babies - it is one of the side effects from GMO food for all beens.

So, with time the life stock will be smaler and smaler... and with time no more small farms! No more fight:)))((((( for anything. SAD! VERY SAD! And whos fault is going be? We will blame Monsanto, goverment... But in reality, it will be our fault because we spend our energy on fights outside, we are like bulls - they show us red flag and we are running on it. All the todays fights are just taking your attention from the the TRUE BIGGER PICTURE which coming faster than we think. So, don't you think we MUST more concentrate what WE ARE DOING by ourself? Talking beautiful words and feeding by GMO food -- this is just support for Monsanto philosophy. Stop to lie to ourself and look in your own eyes,IF WE BREAK GOD LAWS, WE WILL PAY FOR IT TODAY OR LATER> BUT WE WILL PAY!
God Bless You!

Bill Anderson,

Can you please explain to us the purpose of measuring standard plate counts and coliform counts in raw milk. Also, if raw milk or raw colostrum tested with 8,000,000 standard plate count and 10,000 coliform count what does that mean and would you drink it?

Thanks,

cp

David,

There would be many deaths from raw milk if modern medicine could not save lives. Since 2005, how many raw milk drinkers have contracted an E.coli 0157:H7 infection and how many of these went on to develop HUS? You like to analyze data. I challenge you to make this your next post.

Do we really want this deadly pathogen in raw milk? http://www.about-ecoli.com/ and is this experience an acceptable risk when choosing raw milk? http://www.about-hus.com/hus_treatment .

I watched all 3 videos posted on the CDC website. They had no idea the risk they were taking when choosing raw milk for their family. These are only 3 victim stories. My guess would be that this is the same story for all raw milk victims. They had no idea that making the choice of consuming raw milk could almost kill their children or if an adult, themselves. Isnt that the message the CDC is trying to send?

It seems that raw milk advocates only want to focus on death as a measure for risk, but choose to avoid a realistic discussion about all the illness caused and most of these illnesses involve children.

cp

CP-

Your fearmongering tactics are not going to work around here.

The purpose of measuring SPC and Coli is to give a "baseline" for a farmer or cheese maker to know when there are problems.

IF a raw milk had an SPC of 8 million and Coli of 10K, I would guess that is milk that has been sitting out at room temperature for a few hours before the sample was taken. Mesophillic bacterial cells have a regeneration time of about 20 minutes (they double every 20 minutes). Meaning that in the course of 3 hours at room temperature, a milk with a starting SPC of 15625 cfu/mL and Coli of 20 cfu/mL will grow into the numbers you cite.

This is part of the problem with SPC -- it gives no indication of the TYPE of bacteria that are present. I once made cheese out of water buffallo milk that had an SPC through the roof (the lab said it was "too numerous to count") but no coliform. A pint sample that I clabbered turned into a nice curd (no gas bubbles, very clean flavor), and the cheese turned out nicely. Clearly those millions of bacteria per mL were the good kind.

Bill,

I am sure it has been posted on this blog in the past, are the measuring of standard plate counts and coliform counts the same for raw milk as for milk to be pasteurized? If the standards are not the same, why the difference? And if there is a difference, does that mean that the govt allows for substandard milk to be pasteurized for human consumption?

Seems the anti raw milk people only want their views and refuse to discuss any other view. Wasn't one of those kids on the cdc site without a positive for e-coli from raw milk? How bloody misleading can the cdc get? A guess? "Common sense would dictate a diagnosis of e-coli since they never isolated the bacteria; " http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/Profile?oid=1225176

"Ive given so much thought to how and why Chris became ill last summer. He became ill from something that was contaminated with unidentified bacteria that almost killed him. Im being fair in my presentation of the facts. Unfortunately, Chris was the only child who became ill during this time period, who also drank raw milk, but the bacteria was never isolated. The other 3 children involved all drank raw milk and all tested positive for the same blueprint of e-coli this means it came from the same source. My child has a very strict diet. I treat him naturally for ADD. We dont eat fast food and all his food is purchased at our local health food store where most produce comes from local farms. It was very easy for me to isolate what he ate. During the time frame when he became ill, he had raw milk, spinach and a new type of lettuce. During the first few weeks of Chris two month stay in the hospital, there was an e-coli outbreak for raw milk, spinach and lettuce. I had all three of these foods in the refrigerator at home."

A Tale of Two Milks
By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Raw milk, which I prefer to call real milk, is very controversial today. This is a story of two kinds of milk: the swill milk made from distillery garbage that caused death; and the real milk from grassfed cows, that gave life. These two milks had a tremendous impact in the life of my grandfather, who became the first member of his family to be a dairy farmer.

My Grandfather
My grandfather, Abraham Fishman, was the most competent man I ever met. It seemed he could do anything: from painting a house; to fixing a car; to prospering during the Great Depression; to starting business after business that was always successful; to teaching himself how to speak English without an accent (though he had emigrated from Russia when he was 14, and never went to school).

Grandfather was also the most intimidating man I ever met. As a child, I was terrified of him. He never yelled, and never was violent. He was a small man, whose growth had been stunted by a lack of food in his childhood. But there was a grim intensity about him that everybody noticed. Nobody ever messed with grandfather. He never smiled; I dont think he knew how. But there was a reason for the grimness. Grandfather was the oldest of eleven children born in Russia. He had watched each one of his ten brothers and sisters die in Russia. None of them reached the age of five.

Why the Children Died
When he was a child, my father asked Grandfather why the children died. Grandfather answered with two words; Bad milk.

My grandfather was born in a small town near Odessa, in Tsarist Russia. His family was very poor, and there were many times when there was not enough to eat. His father pickled all kinds of vegetables and sold them to people who were almost as poor as he was. There was a vodka distillery nearby. It made vodka from grain. The garbage left over from making the vodka was used to feed cattle at a nearby dairy. That dairy sold the cheapest milk available, the only milk grandfathers family could afford. My great-grandparents did not know why their children got sick and died; their life was a constant struggle to find food for their family. There was nobody to tell them that unpasteurized swill milk was deadly for children.

It was a bad time to be a Jew in Russia. There were huge problems: food shortages; unrest; strikes; times were bad for everyone. The government blamed the Jews for all the problems. This led to pogroms, riots in which many Jews were killed. One day there was a pogrom in Grandfathers hometown. My great-grandfather was chased by a mob howling for his blood. He turned a corner and was hidden under a stack of hay in a wagon by two of his Christian friendsjust like in a movie. The mob could not find him, and he lived. But that was enough, he sold everything he had and scraped up enough money to immigrate to Canada.

Grandfather Becomes a Farmer
Grandfather was 14 when they reached Canada. They lived in a small town near Winnipeg, Manitoba. Grandfather did not go to school, but taught himself to speak English by watching Vaudeville shows and listening to people talk. He had no accent. He also learned to read and write English. He spent a lot of time at the library, reading and studying. After a couple of years, his mother became pregnant. Grandfather went to work for a local dairy farmer. By the time his sister was born, Grandfather had his own small dairy farm.

Grandfathers Rules for Safe Milk
When I was ten, Grandfather told me about his dairy farm. He got up at 3:00 am each morning to milk the cows, using a lantern as it was dark. Once the cows were milked, he loaded the milk bottles into a big icebox in his truck, and drove the milk to each of his customers. The milk had to be on their doorstep before breakfast. People drank the milk the same day it came out of the cow. People would leave the empty bottles on their doorstep with payment so grandfather could pick them up as he delivered the days milk. When Grandfather got back, he would take the cows to pasture. Later he would bring them back to the barn, go to bed as early as he could, and get up at 3:00 am the next morning. Grandfather did this every day, seven days a week.

I had learned about pasteurization in school, and I asked Grandfather when the milk got pasteurized. He looked at me and said: That would ruin the milk. I asked him if the milk was safe. Grandfather stared at me with his grim face and said: Nobody ever got sick from my milk. Milk is safe if you follow the rules. Grandfather then explained the rules for safe milk.

The first rule was: Never use milk from a sick cow. I asked Grandfather how he knew if a cow was sick. He said that you had to know each cow, and if you knew the cow, you could tell if it was sick.

The second rule was: Never let anything dirty get into the milk. Grandfather always examined what he called the milking area before he started milking. If there was any dirt anywhere, he cleaned it before milking.

The third rule was: Keep everything clean. Grandfather always boiled the milking pails and bottles before he put any milk in them.

The fourth rule was: Keep it cold. Grandfather would keep the milk in the icebox of his truck until it was delivered to his customers.

The fifth rule was: Keep the cows on the pasture so they could eat the living grass and plants. During the winter, when it was too cold to graze, Grandfather would feed them hay. Grandfather said eating the grass that the Almighty intended them to eatkept the cows healthy.

The Blessings of Good Milk
My Grandfather had three sisters born in Canada. Each of them grew up strong and healthy on Grandfathers milk.

When his last sister was 5, Grandfather sold his dairy farm, and moved on. He started a number of businesses, every one of which was successful. He even prospered during the Great Depression. He became wealthy, and retired at age 40. But money was not everything. He told my father that the best time of his life was when he had the dairy, and was getting up at 3:00 each morning to milk the cows. My father was surprised, and asked why. Grandfather said that making good milk that made children grow up strong and healthy was the best thing he ever did, and he should never have done anything else.

Stanley Fishman, Author Tender Grassfed Meat Cookbook

And today "bad dangerous raw milk" comes from the cows feeded by GMO corn, soy and etc. FARMERS< PLEASE AWAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is an old saying that if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? We are so very dependent on the integrity of others and they on us. What Mark just pointed out (12 comments above) about conjoining data from the worst (terrible!) quality raw milk with what we are after here is an outrage. Neither is it an aberration. It is a typical outrage of an outrageous system. My congressman will hear about this. And General Washington. And John Adams. And Thomas Jefferson. None of them will stand for this.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

IN GOD WE TRUST!

Galina Chernova.

General Washington. And John Adams. And Thomas Jefferson would never drink todays milk from the store.it is just sad that human ruin a such vital God gift by GMO feeding, homohonization, slopy care of it. We reap what we sow! But thanks God, there are some farmers who raised and keeps their cows by Divine Laws. And that milk is the best medicine for anyone. I am just lucky one to have a such milk. Talking about the qaulity and damgerous of the raw milk, in this case goverment shoul put VETO on all food they allow for consumtion, because all that food bring people to illness, mental, physical, soul. May be not so fast as a ecoli from raw milk, but slowly and surely.

and again, to give a green light for GMO food and put Veto on a raw milk???? Where is the common sense???

Bill, my question was not meant as fear mongering. You have made statements before on this blog about questionable sanitation practices of raw milk farmers in the state of Wisconsin. Im really trying to ask a legitimate question. You didnt answer the question. Would you consume raw milk or raw colostrum with the counts I gave you? And do these numbers indicate a sanitation issue at the farm? If I understood your answer, you believe these numbers could not be possible if the milk or colostrum were not left at room temperature for a period of time. Did I interpret you answer correctly?

cp

Sylvia,

Have your read David Gumpert's book, The Raw Milk Revolution? There is a fascinating chapter (Chapter 9) that details the Chris Martin story across time.

http://tinyurl.com/4qgnc6d

I was surprised that you, as a nurse, posted a quote so out of context. But, perhaps you haven't had the opportunity yet to read additional information. I recommend reading the chapter (and the book as a whole). It gave me insight into the raw milk controversy. And, no I'm not a shill for David Gumpert or his publisher :)

MW

Concerned Person,
Your point about technology is an important one. Modern medical technology does some marvelous things, including save lives of children with HUS. This applies to children who develop HUS from all manner of E.coli 0157:H7, including not only raw milk, but contaminated raw spinach, ground beef, and other common foods.

I don't think raw milk advocates only want to focus unnecessarily on the number of deaths from raw milk. I focused on it in this post because the data have been misused, corrupted, to promote a particular State agenda that is misguided. I, for one, would like to see more slicing and dicing of the data covering illnesses from raw milk over long periods of time--five years, ten years, 25 years--with comparisons to illnesses from other foods. The opponents tend to want to "cherry pick," as it were, and focus on particular illnesses, like the CDC's use of the videos you allude to, to develop public health policy. Could that be because the data doesn't support their arguments that raw milk is inherently dangerous?

David

Thank you Sylvia for stating the facts for me. You see Im just like you. We eat a healthy diet and try to buy as much local food as possible. At the time of Chris illness he ate spinach and lettuce in a salad daily along with grated carrots and zucchini. All the vegetable products were purchased at our local health food store which supports local farmers in our area. He did not consume pre packaged spinach or lettuce which were implicated in outbreaks and people consumed nationwide. The most important fact is that the other children in the outbreak did not all consume spinach or lettuce, but they all did consume a raw milk product from the same dairy.

You missed the most interesting post by moonshine in that thread. Why would Ruth Ann Foster, a WAPF board member, be posting false medical facts about my sons case? Where did she get this intimate information?

Sylvia, what can you tell me about the other children who became ill in the same outbreak? Chris was only 1 of 6 victims. My crime is that Ive had the courage to speak out.

David,

Great point! It would be so wonderful if we could get really in depth research into the data.
ON the other hand, if it's being analyzed by folks with a skewed viewpoint in a society where raw milk consumption is an aberration - the data may not prove to be very helpful. I think we need to insist that European data should be included -
even if just for the larger statisical basis it would provide.

Mary, Your "crime" is not that you want to speak out - though the fact that you believe your opinions are that important to everyone else is telling.
Speaking out means your words float by the ears of others, and they choose whether or not to hear, and whether or not to act on what they hear.
But if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that speaking out is not what you're really after. You want to dictate rules and force compliance. Therein lies the "crime".
Go home to your house and feed your family whatever you want, and broadcast it all over the internet - nobody will give a crap. But try to tell me what to do in my house - then don't be surprised to find yourself unceremoniously kicked to the curb.

No Mary, I have not delved into the reasons, nor have I seen any medical records to research why the others became ill. I only know what I saw on this and a few other blogs and in the news.

I believe without proof, accusing someone based on possibilities is wrong. You will have to ask Ruth Ann Foster for answers to your questions. I haven't a clue who she is. Speaking out is not a crime, nor is it wrong. Trying to force someone to accept or do something against their beliefs is wrong. I believe all fast/processed foods should be banned, that isn't realistic. So, I live and let live. You eat your way and I'll eat mine.

"Could that be because the data doesn't support their arguments that raw milk is inherently dangerous?"

If the data from the cdc were true, there'd be so many illnesses and deaths from raw milk that it would rarely be consumed.

this contributor with the handle "concerned person" illustrates one of the fundamental errors of opponents of the Campaign for REAL MILK : his presumption that 'all raw milk is always and only teeming with 'bad stuff' as it comes out of the cow'. . Wherefore it has to have that 'bad stuff' cooked out of it in order for it to be fit for human consumption

Ordinary people of good will, change their opinion, once they get educated on the topic. Unfortunately, the paycheques of too many officials and scientists depend on them NOT understanding the facts of the matter

Gordon,

The same could be said of those who claim that all raw milk is always teaming with "good stuff." Reality probably lies somewhere in the middle and depends on many variables.

MW

CP-

Farms with sanitation issues generally have to do with:

1) Psycrotrophic biofilm buildups in the milk pipelines. (pseudomonas)
OR
2) Gross coliform contamination (manure, E. Coli)

The scenario you explained was most likely not related to either of the above issues. It was more likely the milk was "temperature abused." Or as I like to say, it was being lacto-fermented.

You'd be amazed at how much can be ascertained about the bacterial makeup of milk by lacto-fermenting it. SPC and Coli plates might tell you how many bacteria and coliforms, but they don't tell you what types.

Also, forgot to mention thermo-duric buildups (usually tied to psycrotrophic buildups), but those are more of an issue in pasteurized milk than in raw milk. Spore-formers are usually poor competitors with the diverse beneficial micro-flora in raw milk. Still, its good to keep your LPC down. Its usually an indicator of cracked gaskets.

I have been sick with the flu and then trying to catch up with everything here on the farm so sorry for the delayed post.

Bill, can you please specify the farms you mentioned in Wisconsin that raise Holsteins without grain? I would love to contact them as those genetics would be extremely valuable. It would be of great interest to bank semen from these bulls to sell across the US to farms who wish to do grass based only raw milk and cheese.

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Milky Way

Raw milk is a living food teaming with organisms and that, in essence is what makes it invaluable to our overall good health. Reality lies in our ability to achieve a state good health by living in harmony with those organisms rather then engage in a futile attempt to manipulate and/or destroy them.

Cp

Since Bill refuses to answer your question with respect to consuming milk with the counts you suggested, if I may I would like to answer your question and state that I would eagerly consume such milk just as I wouldnt hesitate to consume Mexican style or bathtub cheese.

Ken Conrad

Sorry.

As for the question "would I drink the milk" CP was referring to... it depends. Where is it from? How was it produced? Farming practices? Collection practices? SPC and Coli counts give me very little information about the milk.

I have tasted clabbered milk on numerous occassions (more as an organoleptic evaluation tool, than as a food), so I am not inherintly opposed to it.

Violet... The farms I was thinking of were John Kinsman's (president of Family Farm Defenders) and Mark Zinniker (one of the oldest bio-dynamic farms in the US). Neither is totally grain-free, but they are grain-minimal. I'm certain there are grain-free organic herds of Holsteins, mostly in Southwestern Wisconsin. Keep in mind, there are about 14,000 dairy farms in Wisconsin, most of them medium to smaller sized farms, and we have a large number of organic dairy farms as well. It is impossible for one person to know all of them... I can guarantee you, though, that there are plenty of low- and no-grain herds of Holsteins here. Talk to Scott Trautman if you want more leads. He knows much more about it than I do.

One of the most interesting documents to come out of DATCP's raw milk working group, IMO:

http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Food/pdf/StateDairyStatsApril-30-2010.pdf

Wisconsin is second in the total number of dairy cows (1.2 million compared to California's 1.8 million), but first in the number of dairy farms by a long shot (14K). Pennsylvannia is a distant second with just 8K dairy farms.

Also notice the average herd size in Wisconsin: just 88. If you take out the few really big herds (there are a handful of CAFOs in Wisconsin) that average drops down to the 70's.

Yes, there is a reason we are called "America's Dairyland."

Ken,

I think you have suggested incorrectly that the udder is full of bacteria. The healthy udder has no bacteria. Indeed, dissection of a healthy ruminant udder reveals a sterile environment. The bacteria in raw milk are introduced as the milk moves through the teat canal and into the environment. Whether those bacteria are "good" or "bad" depends on a multitude of factors. That is scientific reality.

MW

What a great dialogue. I especially like the Russian Jewish Dairyman and his rules for safe raw milk. It just so happens to be the same rules at the foudstion of our RAMP food safety program. Swill milk in old Russia. Fascinating.

I agree with Bill on whether to drink that semi fermented raw milk. Where did it come from.

I remember when CDFA collected some old expired OPDC raw milk that was out of cold chain etc. They used that data against us in there investigation.

Bill do not take the bait. I think CP is giving you a trick question those are probably old test results from an outbreak ???!!!!and she wants you to fall for her ambush.

Many times I have drank raw milk with bacteria counts like those. It is called one day old Kefir. Add some honey, a banana and some frozen berries and blend. Yummy and an excellent boost for the immune system.

Mark

Our Holstein herd has not had any grain for 11 years. Young stock never got grain. We use our own bulls from cows that do well in our system. The cow on page 14 is one of them. She is 13 years old in the photo, 16 now and still looks the same.

http://www.files.vaes.vt.edu/SPAREC/Cheyenne_Christianson-Handout.pdf

"Many times I have drank raw milk with bacteria counts like those."

Gross, I'd imagine mothers don't want to feed their children a product with fecal counts like that.

MW

MW-

Not all coliform are of fecal origin. There are also enviromental coliform, often originating from equipment. This is especially true when you have complex milk harvesting equipment (plate coolers and long pipelines with numerous pumps), where there is a lot of opportunity for coliform buildup.

Some dairy scientistists refer to a fines saving machine (in a cheddar cheese plant, for savings small bits of curd from being discarded with the whey) as a "coliform generator."

Again... coliforms are not always of fecal origin. They can also come from equipment.

Psychrotrophic

MW

Your understanding of my statement is incorrect and yes as you suggest, bacteria are introduced to raw milk, as the milk moves through the teat canal and into the environment, in the same way that an infant is introduced to bacteria as it moves through the birth canal and into the environment. Both of which are necessary and perfectly natural for healthy living.

Considering them good or bad represents a simplistic understanding of scientific reality and using such criteria in order to justify the currently applied wide spectrum, invasive and destructive protocols are a violation of symbiotic process and a misapplication of science and technology.

Ken Conrad

One fact that Concerned Person fails to mention is that the people who have died from drinking pasteurized milk also had available the same type of saving treatment that everyone else has. Yet they still died. So yes, people that have gotten sick from drinking raw milk have not died because of the saving treatments available from our medical society, but that still hasn't saved those that died from drinking the PMO crap. That alone would make me more nervous of the PMO stuff than the raw stuff. Yet the government wont tell you that.

Off the topic of raw milk, this is another example of how the government is not concerned with the safety of the general populace: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_wyoY9syF4. Unidentified "stuff" in the Fluoride from China that they dump into the water supply and no one has bothererd to find out what it is, yet the government can still claim that it is safe and there is no need to worry about it - yes one municipality has taken steps to find out what it is, but the rest of them... Just listen to them and drink what your told. That is only bad though assuming that you believe that Fluoride has any beneficial effects. So many lies, so little... And people wonder why I don't trust the government - amazing!

Galina Ch, you must understand that most, if not all of us, on this blog know the dangers of GMO feed for our animals. Everything you have said is already accepted here. It sounds as if you assume that any raw milk comes from a standard CAFO. A CAFO could sell raw milk to someone, but for the most part, people selling raw milk are very concerned about safety and all of the other factors that you mentioned.

"It would be of great interest to bank semen from these bulls to sell across the US to farms who wish to do grass based only raw milk and cheese."

Violet, my co-op extension agent has been after me to breed my Jerseys to New Zealand Jersey semen, as nearly all cattle there are grassfed.

To his dismay I bred mine with a Dexter last year as I was looking for smaller animals, but I might try it this year.

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/newPathogenInRoundupReadyGMCrops.php

From the above article Don M. Huber Emeritus Professor, Purdue University APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS) states,

It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.

I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.

In describing the organism's unique physical properties, he states, This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

Ken Conrad

Cheyenne,
Beautiful photos.
I would like to be grain free in the worst way, but we just haven't figured out how to get there from here.
How did you do it? As soon as my animals start to lose some condition, I chicken out.
Do you need to use grain for training?

Dear Brandon,

Thank you for answer. I just had the issue I mentioned here before ans last year on my same issue here, I got the answer that some farmers do not know how to transfer their cow feed from gmo corn to grassfed.
and in russia we all drink soured naturaly milk,sour cream, we make soft cheeses by ourself. and right now I live in USA, i still prefer soured milk to sweet .and people, who eat and drink just their food live in old russia over 100 years healthy and happy. we never had such issue ( sickness, death) in old russia like we have in USA with raw food and milk.

anyway, i found very interested article.
Update on Raw Milk as fertilizer

Dave Wetzel

Add a Comment

I received a call from a bio-chemist who works in the filed of biotic fertilizers. He read the article on raw milk as fertilizer that circled the globe and called to offer his help in describing what we have in the raw milk as fertilizers.

Below are some bullet points to the discussion

1. Soil will have between 3-4,000# of bacteria per acre (this can vary depending on sprays, soil type, temps etc...)

2. Bacteria are 90% protein

3. One can calculate/estimate the amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous by knowing the bacteria counts. Typically speaking bacteria counts will result in 10-14% nitrogen, 1% potassium and 3% phosphorous.

4. The bacteria that are most influential in growth live in in the top 6" of the oil.

5. Many thousands of different bacteria live in the soil

6. Bacteria need a balanced nutrition for good growth. Raw Milk is the perfect food.

7. Some of the bacteria will double the counts/weight every 15 minutes with the proper nutrition and temps (55 degrees F or better)

8. it does not take much for the bacteria to naturally put out 140 lb's of nitrogen per acre..and other nutrients.

So with the above i think one can jump to some conclusions... at least i will.

A. Stop putting chemicals on the ground

B. feed the bacteria

C. when starting out your results might vary from the results you might receive at the end of the growing year or 3 years from your starting point. Obviously if you start off with a small number of bacteria in the field and you double the growth every 15 min the total effects will be different than if you start off with a larger number of bacteria and double every 15 min.

D. consider starting off maybe 5 gallons of milk per acre and in time this could reduced. maybe apply 2-4 times per growing season

E. make observations on plant health, soil health, insect control, fungus control, worm populations.

F. maybe make it a standard practice to include in your soil testing a test at a depth of 6" and include bacteria plate counts. then research on how to convert this number to lb's per acre. i think this is the goal, lb's of bacteria per acre.

G. most manure and other fertilizers do not add much nitrogen to hte soil. the key is to feed the bacteria, and they will make the nitrogen for the oil... in the soil so it does not escape so easily

Farmer says spraying raw milk on field improves grass ...and observation on raw milks effect on fungus/Tall Fescue

Dave Wetzel

Add a Comment

Below is an article that was published/discussed in many printed news, TV, radio, blogs this past wk. I think the publics interest in the story is good news for dairy farmers. What the article does not discuss is an observation made during the Field Day comparing side by side fields of milk spray and se salt mineral spray. Not only did the milk field appear to have more growth but the field was loaded in Tall Fescue. Terry and I noted that their appeared to be a big difference in the fungus lesions on the Tall Fescue between the two test plots. The Milk field had substantially lower fungus loads compared to the other fields.
Obviously this is only a observation but one i think it is worth our communities time and effort to follow up with additional trails.

Farmer says spraying milk on field improves grass
by the Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on June 27, 2010 at 6:37 PM

LINN, Mo. (AP) -- A Nebraska dairy farmer is drawing some attention in Missouri after stumbling upon what he thinks might be the secret not only to strong bones but to great grazing land: milk.

David Wetzel, a former steel executive, told a conference of farmers in Linn that when he started a second career as a dairy farmer in 2002, he doused parts of his 320-acre farm with skim milk, which was a byproduct of his farm's specialty butters and cheeses.

He soon discovered that his cattle preferred those fields. He called in an expert to figure out what was going on, and the result was a bit staggering: His milk-fed land yielded 1,100 more pounds of grass per acre than untreated land.

Wetzel spoke during a recent conference at the Osage Community center in Linn that attracted about 50 people, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Sunday. It was organized by retired Osage County judge and cattle farmer Ralph Voss, who is trying out the milk method.

Wetzel said he began making butters and cheeses that required only the fats from the milk that his cows produced, which left behind large quantities of skim milk as a waste product. To dispose of it, he would drive up and down a portion of his pasture with milk pouring out of a tank. He dumped up to 600 gallons of skim milk on the field every other day.

"I came from a background that has nothing to do with farming," Wetzel said. "So I don't know the do's and don'ts. I don't have any relatives that would say, 'You can't do that.' So I just kind of did what felt right."

One day, he noticed that his cows favored that patch of field. The grass felt more supple and looked healthier and more dense in that area.

He eventually contacted Terry Gompert, a University of Nebraska Extension educator who specializes in holistic land management. Gompert arranged to have researchers test the milk hypothesis.

After 45 days, they found that the plots treated with milk grew about 1,100 more pounds of grass per acre than untreated plots, a 26 percent increase in yield. Also, the soil had a greater "porosity" or ability to absorb water and air.

Gompert stressed that much more research needs to be done. He said the findings make sense because milk is food for the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes in healthy soil.

"Our unfair advantage is getting the microbes to work for us," Gompert said. The milk "is just feeding the workers."

Many of the participants at the conference on Thursday and Friday said they may give milk a try.

"When you start spraying milk on your fields, you're going to be thought of as a fool," said Larry Sansom, a cattle farmer from Kentucky who drove six hours to learn about the method. "But I guess you've got to hold your nose and jump."

Goatmaid,

Who sells NZ jersey semen? Do you know if there are polled bulls among the choices?

"This article appeared in the March 10, 2010, issue of the Unterrified Democrat, a weekly newspaper published in Linn, Mo., since 1866. In addition to writing for the paper, Voss raises registered South Poll cattle on pathetically poor grass that he is trying desperately to improve.

Nebraska dairyman applies raw milk to pastures and watches the grass grow

An Illinois steel-company executive turned Nebraska dairyman has stumbled onto an amazingly low-cost way to grow high-quality grass and probably even crops on depleted soil.

Can raw milk make grass grow? More specifically, can one application of three gallons of raw milk on an acre of land produce a large amount of grass?

The answer to both questions is yes.

Call it the Nebraska Plan or call it the raw milk strategy or call it downright amazing, but the fact is Nebraska dairyman David Wetzel is producing high-quality grass by applying raw milk to his fields and a Nebraska Extension agent has confirmed the dairymans accomplishments.

David Wetzel is not your ordinary dairyman, nor is Terry Gompert your ordinary Extension agent. Ten years ago Wetzel was winding up a five-year stint as the vice president of an Illinois steel company and felt the need to get out of the corporate rat race. At first he and his wife thought they would purchase a resort, but he then decided on a farm because he liked to work with his hands. The Wetzels bought a 320 acre farm in Page, Neb., in the northeast part of the state, and moved to the farm on New Years Day in 2000.

We had to figure out what to do with the farm, Wetzel said, so we took a class from Terry Gompert. They were advised to start a grass-based dairy and thats what they did. Theres no money in farming unless youre huge, Wetzel said, or unless the farmer develops specialty products, which is what they did.

In their business, the Wetzels used the fats in the milk and the skim milk was a waste product. We had a lot of extra skim milk and we started dumping it on our fields, Wetzel said. At first we had a tank and drove it up and down the fields with the spout open. Later we borrowed a neighbors sprayer.

Sometime in the winter of 2002 they had arranged to have some soil samples taken by a fertilizer company and on the day company employees arrived to do the sampling, it was 15 below zero. To their astonishment they discovered the probe went right into the soil in the fields where raw milk had been applied. In other fields the probe would not penetrate at all.

I didnt realize what we had, Wetzel said. I had an inkling something was going on and I thought it was probably the right thing to do. For a number of years he continued to apply the milk the same way he had been doing, but in recent years he has had a local fertilizer company spray a mixture that includes liquid molasses and liquid fish, as well as raw milk. In addition he spreads 100 to 200 pounds of lime each year.

Gompert, the extension agent that suggested Wetzel start a grass-based dairy, had always been nearby literally. The two are neighbors and talk frequently. It was in 2005 that Gompert, with the help of university soils specialist Charles Shapiro and weed specialist Stevan Kenzevic, conducted a test to determine the effectiveness of what Wetzel had been doing.

That the raw milk had a big impact on the pasture was never in doubt, according to Gompert. You could see by both the color and the volume of the grass that there was a big increase in production. In the test the raw milk was sprayed on at four different rates 3, 5, 10 and 20 gallons per acre on four separate tracts of land. At the 3-gallon rate 17 gallons of water were mixed with the milk, while the 20-gallon rate was straight milk. Surprisingly the test showed no difference between the 3-, 5-, 10- and 20-gallon rates.

The test began with the spraying of the milk in mid-May, with mid-April being a reasonable target date here in central Missouri. Forty-five days later the 16 plots were clipped and an extra 1200 pounds of grass on a dry matter basis were shown to have been grown on the treated versus non-treated land. Thats phenomenal, but possibly even more amazing is the fact the porosity of the soil that is, the ability to absorb water and air was found to have doubled.

So whats going on? Gompert and Wetzel are both convinced what we have here is microbial action. When raw milk is applied to land that has been abused, it feeds what is left of the microbes, plus it introduces microbes to the soil, Wetzel explained, adding that In my calculations it is much more profitable (to put milk on his pastures) than to sell to any co-op for the price they are paying.

Wetzels Observations

Wetzel has been applying raw milk to his fields for 10 years, and during that time has made the following observations:

* Raw milk can be sprayed on the ground or the grass; either will work.

* Spraying milk on land causes grasshoppers to disappear. The theory is that insects do not bother healthy plants, which are defined by how much sugar is in the plants. Insects (including grasshoppers) do not have a pancreas so they cannot process sugar. Milk is a wonderful source of sugar and the grasshoppers cannot handle the sugar. They die or leave as fast as their little hoppers can take them.

* Theory why milk works. The air is 78% nitrogen. God did not put this in the air for us but rather the plants. Raw milk feeds microbes/bugs in the soil. What do microbes need for growth? Protein, sugar, water, heat. Raw milk has one of the most complete amino acid (protein) structures known in a food. Raw milk has one of the best sugar complexes known in a food, including the natural enzyme structure to utilize these sugars. For explosive microbe growth the microbes utilize vitamin B and enzymes. What do you give a cow when the cows rumen is not functioning on all cylinders (the microbes are not working)? Many will give a vitamin B shot (natural farmers will give a mouthful of raw milk yogurt). Vitamin B is a super duper microbe stimulant. There is not a food that is more potent in the complete vitamin B complex than raw milk (this complex is destroyed with pasteurization). Raw milk is one of the best sources for enzymes, which break down food into more usable forms for both plants and microbes. (Again, pasteurization destroys enzyme systems.)

* Sodium in the soil is reduced by half. I assume this reflects damage from chemicals is broken down/cleaned up by the microbes and or enzymes.

* If you choose to buy raw milk from a neighbor to spread on your land, consider offering the farmer double or triple what he is paid to sell to the local dairy plant. Reward the dairy farmer as this will start a conversation and stir the pot. The cost for the milk, even at double or triple the price of conventional marketing, is still a very cheap soil enhancer.

* Encourage all to use their imagination to grow the potential applications of raw milk in agriculture, horticulture and the like even industrial uses possibly waste water treatment.

Microbes

The purpose of this story is to convince farmers and livestock producers in this area to look into the possibility of using raw milk, compost tea, earthworm castings tea, liquid fish or sea minerals or some combination thereof to boost production at an affordable cost. Its my experience that people in the Midwest are to a great extent unaware of the benefits of microbes. If the first part of this story has caught your attention and you intend to consider the use of raw milk or any of the other methods, you need to learn about microbes and the best way I have discovered is a book co-authored by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, Teaming with Microbes.

In this story I cannot go into detail about microbes, the miniscule little critters that exist in abundance in good soil. There are four principal types of microbes bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. To get an example of their size, consider that there are a billion bacteria in one teaspoon of good soil. The role of microbes is to consume carbon, along with other minerals and nutrients, and these are stored in their cells until their ultimate release for use by plants. Microbes also store water, which make them drought-fighters as well.

I realize this is an inadequate description, but you need to read the book.

Brix

Brix is another concept that is not widely understood in the middle of the country. Brix is the measure of the sugar content of a plant (thats an oversimplification but good enough for this article) and is measured by a device called a refractometer. If your grass has a brix of 1, thats cause for nightmares. Our grass is routinely a 1. Clover and johnsongrass might on occasion measure 4 or 5 in the middle of the afternoon on a bright, sunny day. Thats deplorable for plants that should be double or triple that figure.

Its not just our farm that has grass thats not fit to feed livestock. I communicate frequently with three young cattlemen from this area Jeremia Markway, Bruce Shanks and Chris Boeckmann and they have the same problem. Last summer we were singing the blues over lunch and decided our refractometers must be broken. Someone came up with the idea of measuring sugar water. We tried it. Boom. The refractometer measured 26. Our equipment wasnt broken, only our grass.

About three months ago Markway discovered a short article on what Wetzel and Gompert had been doing in Nebraska with raw milk. He emailed the article to me and thats what got me to do this story. An interesting thing is what Markway discovered about the impact of raw milk on brix levels. He has a milk cow and took some of her milk, mixed with water and sprayed on his pastures with a small hand sprayer. Where he sprayed, the brix level of the grass was raised to a level of 10. Thats a great start and was good news to Wetzel and Gompert, who had not been measuring the brix levels of Wetzels grass.

Compost Tea

Raw milk is not the only thing that will improve soil. Compost tea is a liquid made by running compost through a brewer, a device somewhat akin to a fish tank, in that oxygen is added to the water containing the compost and this action flushes the microbes out of the compost into the water. The resulting liquid is a tea that can be sprayed on pastures and crops, to their great benefit.

Two men that make extensive use of compost tea are Mark Sturges and David Herringshaw. These two have never met and until recently had not even heard of each other.

Sturges lives in western Oregon near the coast and for 10 years has had a business spraying compost tea on vineyards, cranberry bogs, fruit and nut trees and pastures. Sturges adds malt extract, kelp and seas minerals to his tea, and if he is spraying pastures, he adds molasses to build the bacteria content.

Herringshaw lives in the near-desert southeast part of Oregon at an elevation of 4,100 feet. He uses compost tea on his own land and has the brix level of his pasture and hay ground up to 22. Thats tantamount to feeding corn. Herringshaw attributes the high brix to the compost tea and also sea minerals, which he applies at the same time. He uses nothing else.

I have seen the compost Sturges produces. It is so alive it literally moves. I have not seen the compost Herringshaw makes at the other end of the state. I can only imagine how good it might be. He fortifies it with raw milk.

Think for a second what Wetzel said about using your imagination to grow the applications for raw milk. Herringshaw has already used his imagination.

Earthworm Castings Tea

This tea is identical to compost tea except that worm poop is substituted for compost. Almost everyone thinks tea from earthworm castings is great stuff, and some even think this tea is superior to compost tea. Earthworm castings are known to suppress certain diseases of grass and some people think the use of castings might suppress harmful bacteria such as staph and E. coli.

There is a story going around that a university was having problems with athletes getting staph infections from burns sustained on grass practice fields and the university stopped applying chemicals to the grass and instead turned to worm castings and solved the problem. I spent two weeks trying to track down this story and at this point I dont believe it is true. Maybe someone will prove me wrong.

I did, however, come across an interesting situation in St. Louis County, Mo., where the Parkway school district turned to earthworm castings in lieu of commercial fertilizer. The groundskeeper there is Matt Jenne, who prior to coming to St. Louis was a golf course superintendent in Florida. While working in Florida he noticed earthworms had built up their castings on the greens. They picked up the castings as part of cutting the grass, and then piled the grass-castings mixture and let it compost, after which they used it with great success on new grass and bare spots. To feed the life they had in the soil, they applied molasses once a month with their irrigation system.

When he got to St. Louis Jenne decided to go with worm castings on two football fields, applying between half a ton and a ton per field. The castings are applied dry and work best when the field has been aerated.

Jenne may have an explanation for the staph infection story. He says that artificial turf causes staph and the only way this can be controlled is to disinfect the artificial turf.

Here in Osage County earthworm castings are available at Eisterhold Brothers on U.S. 63 between Westphalia and Freeburg. Unfortunately they have decided to close their business when their current supply runs out.

Fish

Liquid fish or fish fertilizer is another product that has been successfully applied to pastures. Teddy Gentry, the founder of South Poll cattle, has been using a fish product for years and is pleased with the results. It seems especially beneficial in fighting the effects of a drought. Gentry mixes the fish with liquid calcium and is thinking about adding sea minerals to his mixture.

Sea Minerals

Sea minerals might be the best way to improve poor or depleted soils. We all know that a large deer in Iowa will weigh 100 pounds more than a large deer from that part of Missouri south of the Missouri River. Many people ascribe the difference to the mineral level of the soils. Its difficult if not impossible to produce high-quality grass on soil that is no properly mineralized. It took Herringshaw years to get his grass to the 22 brix level and he is convinced he would not have gotten there without the seal minerals. Herringshaw prefers Redmond salt, while Sturges uses Sea-90. Sturges applies his sea minerals as a spray, along with compost tea. Herringshaw makes both dry and spray applications. He estimates he has broadcast approximately 85 pounds of Redmond salt per acre since he started using that product. This is in addition to what he has sprayed on. For both Sturges and Herringshaw a foliar application is one pound or less per acre.

Another individual that makes extensive use of sea minerals is Doug Gunnink of Gaylord, Minn. Gunnink produces high-brix grass for his grass-fed beef operation by the foliar application of liquid fish and sea minerals. He also tests his grass and adds those minerals that are in short supply in his pastures, whether boron, sulfur, copper or some other mineral.

Fish hydrolysate, Gunnink explained, is the entire fish ground up and then preserved with phosphoric or sulfuric acid. If the preservative is phosphoric acid, the phosphorus bumps up the Brix, he said, adding that phosphorus gives grass power. High-brix grass produces more organic matter, which in turn holds more water, Gunnink explained, stating that a 1% increase in organic matter will hold an additional 53,000 gallons of water per acre. Organic matter is the sponge that holds water for dry spells.

The organic matter also holds the nutrients that plants need.

Conventional Fertilizers

This story is not meant to be a war on conventional fertilizers. The late Dr. Maynard Murray, the pioneer that first advocated use of sea minerals, said there is a place for conventional N, P and K. We do, however, need to come up with better ways to use them. Bill Totemeier, a friend in southeast Iowa that is a commercial hay producer, uses ammonium sulfate rather than ammonium nitrate because the former is much more earthworm-friendly. He applies fertilizer two or three times per year in smaller amounts rather one large application in the spring. This reduces the shock to the microbes.

Houston-area rancher Tom McGrady spread ammonium sulfate on his ryegrass pasture in early March. In his area ammonium nitrate is no longer available. That may be a good thing.

For Row Crop Farmers

Row crop farmers can also benefit greatly from some of these practices. Lowenfels, who co-authored the book on microbes, urges anyone who uses herbicides or insecticides to soon thereafter apply compost tea to increase the microbe population that was probably greatly reduced by the chemical spray. Fish would also work in this situation.

For the busy grain guy, there are companies that make products ready to go into the sprayer. One such firm is AgriEnergy Resources. Mike Wyatt, an independent consultant that works with AgriEnergy, has helped me gain some insight into world of microbes.

Hunters

If you want bigger deer like you read about in Iowa and Illinois, the methods set out in this article should be used on your hunting land, especially the food plots. Animals are clearly attracted to plants that have been treated with sea salt. And they also choose high-brix plants over those with low brix levels.

My Experience

I know Terry Gompert personally. Hes the real deal. In 2007 he organized a high-stock-density grazing seminar in as remote an area of northeast Nebraska as you can find and attracted over 200 people. Included among that crew were Jeremia Markway and me. Based on my knowledge of and respect for Gompert and the results Markway experiences just down the road from us, why wouldnt I be willing to try this? To me its a no-brainer. Ive made arrangements to buy milk from Alfred Brandt, who lives just south of Linn, and Chamois MFA has agreed to spray 50 or 100 acres in mid-April. A 1,000 gallon tank containing 150 gallons of raw milk and 850 gallons of water will provide the perfect ratio of three gallons of milk and 17 gallons of water, which applied at the rate of 20 gallons per acre will cover 50 acres. I hope to get over at least 100 acres. Whether we include something with the milk such as fish, molasses or earthworm casting tea is a decision we havent made at this time.

We are also going to broadcast one ton of sea salt at a rate of 20 pounds per acre.

Conclusion

For years Ive been a dung beetle fanatic, thinking that I needed dung beetles to build my soil. Ive probably been wrong in this regard. I now think I need to build my soil and the dung beetles will come. Dr. James Nardi, in his classic work Life in the Soil, describes dung beetles as picky eaters. That may seem strange, but my experience convinces me his assessment is totally accurate. I hope and I do believe this will happen dung beetles will choose to come to our farm because we have upgraded the food supply.

"So yes, people that have gotten sick from drinking raw milk have not died because of the saving treatments available from our medical society, but that still hasn't saved those that died from drinking the PMO crap. That alone would make me more nervous of the PMO stuff than the raw stuff."

Excellent point, Brandon. After all these years on this forum, it still amazes me that the anti-raw-milk crowd refuse to be persuaded by such logic. However, we must consider that, for them, accepting our point of view creates cognitive dissonance in their brains: After all, pasteurization has been the norm for so many decades; therefore, raw milk proponents cannot possibly be right.

This is very similar to the crisis now occurring for the "Lipid-Theory" proponents. Mounting evidence now shows that saturated fats and cholesterol do not cause heart disease after all, and in fact provide necessary health benefits. Yet, those stand-fast lipid-theory physicians and scientists still vehemently defend their dying theory all the harder. After all, this was their whole life's work... changing would mean their life's work has meant nothing and even has caused harm to the populace because they were so convinced they were right.

In such a way, cognitive dissonance causes the anti-raw-milk crowd to attack raw milk ever harder to defend their now-faulty theory. Thus, we also must redouble our arguments and proofs of benefits.

I remember when CDFA collected some old expired OPDC raw milk that was out of cold chain etc. They used that data against us in there investigation.

Mark, your statement made me curious so I had to read the CDFA report on the outbreak investigation. You really never cease to amaze me with the spin you always put on the facts. On page 5 of the report it states, Patients consumed raw milk with code dates between 09/03/06 and 9/13/06. Product samples of several lots with code dates of 9/17/06 or later were retrieved from store shelves and the dairy and were tested by CDFA, CDHS and local health department laboratories.

On page 3 of the CDC report it states, 56 product samples from several lots with code dates of September 17, 2006, or later were retrieved from retail stores and dairy A and were tested for aerobic microflora, total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli 0157:H7. The outbreak strain of E.coli 0157:H7 was not found in any product samples. However, standard aerobic plate counts and total coliform counts of collected samples with code dates of September 17 through October 9, 2006, were indicative of contamination. Colostrum samples had high standard plate counts and total coliform counts, and fecal coliform counts of 210-46, 000MPN/g.

Your dairy was shut down on September 21st. They did not have old samples of milk and colostrum. I was always under the assumption that your dairy was shut down because of sick kids. On page 2 of the CDC report it states, Dairy A also was placed under a separate restriction by CDFA during September 21-29 that prevented it from bottling fluid milk and cream because of persistent high standard plate counts.

This all sounds like a sanitation problem to me. This was pre-RAMP and when you outsourced for colostrum and cream.

cp

Ken,

Thanks for the clarification.

MW

CP. Sorry to report that your information is incorrect. After our 2006 recall we were not given back our Grade A permit immediately after it was determined that there were only two kids in hospitals and not six....that the two kids did not have matching pathogens and that all milk and cows tests clear of pathogens....not because of Standard Plate Counts but because of Somatic Cell Counts. SSC have nothing to do with pathogens or cleanliness.

How fun it is to beat a five old dead horse. Perhaps you can find more relevance in the 1300 people that were sickened in CA in 2006 from pasteurized milk instead of two that were possibly sickened by raw milk with ( no causation found ).

Your persistent beating of this settled and buried dead horse is pathetic.

Mark

Violet and Smy, I just heard back from my Extension agent; here are some links for NZ dairy genetics:

www.creativegeneticsofca.com
www.taurus-service.com
www.normandegenetics.com
Check out Foust Hill Swiss on Facebook

He said these links were all from www.grazeonline.com

CP...I forgot....

In CP world, thousands of sickened people is preferred over one or two and,
one death is an outrage yet thousands of deaths are culturally A OK.
Strange place in CP-FDA-PMO-NCIMS-CAFO-CDC world.

Mark

Smy,

Some folks have stopped feeding grain during summer months but still fed some during winter to wean off over a couple of years. It's better to take it slow than to stop and refuse to feed any no matter what. That has been a hard lesson for some. Are you feeding grain to your young stock? I never fed grain to them, so that may have helped. We had no trouble keeping cows in great condition, but the last couple years of the drought, when we had so little to graze and had to buy in a lot of hay, made it more of a challenge. I think there is great benefit from feeding the cows from the land they live on. They always did better on our own hay vs purchased hay. Kelp has been my mineral source since the mid 90's.

I graze very tall forage (knee to waist high) to get a good balance for the cows. Short grass has very high protein and little fiber. It takes a LOT of energy to process the extra protein. (MUN and BUN) Grain can help with that, but with no grain it comes off the cows back. I will feed some grassy hay if I don't have tall enough pasture. I use manure consistency as my guide. I avoid runny manure always, and try to avoid loose manure as much as possible.

Winter hay quality is equally as important. I like grassy mix with alfalfa and clover. Pure alfalfa has too much soluble protein, not enough energy. Even the universities are finally figuring out the benefits of grass. Better WAY late than never. LOL!! If winter feed is an issue, it is worth buying in some good quality hay to make up the difference. I bought a load of 4th cut alfalfa once as a protein supplement.

The quality of the grass is most important. This past year we had good rains, but the grass and hay is low on energy, so milk has been down from normal. We had cloudy weather a lot last summer. I do soil test and add some trace minerals and foliar fertilizer to help boost the quality, but I don't haul in the truckloads of stuff some suggest. I don't see that as very sustainable long term, so I feed the soil with bedding pack manure, and crop residue that I till in. I would address a critical shortage if you have one. I think mob grazing is going to be the best way (most sustainable) to bring poor land back to life. Trampling the "waste" to feed the biology and bring them back to life. Our young stock, or beef, will be perfect for this.

There is a difference between tall and mature. I mobbed my heifers and bulls on mature pasture last year with excellent results, but I don't push my milkers that hard. I only graze annuals once a day, so the diet doesn't change too dramatically. If there was ever any imbalances in an annual, it wouldn't be as bad as if I was just feeding all of one thing. I graze pastures the other half of the day, or feed hay late fall to stretch what's left.

We grow some annuals every year to fill in and extend the grazing season. Cereal rye or triticale to start off the spring while the grass is still growing. Plant oats early spring to graze off in June, replant in Aug. for Oct. grazing. Japanese millet or sorghum sudan for summer. We just came through the worst drought since the 30's from 2005-2009. Some say it was worse. Winter triticale, early planted oats, and Japanese millet is what kept us grazing when pastures were dead/dormant. Turnips for Nov. when the ground is froze and cold sets in. This year we got snow mid Nov. and were done grazing, but most years we can make it to Dec. 1st with some very high quality forage. It is only a part of the diet, but I think it is important to give the cows something live as long as possible. I will plant a lot less annuals now that the drought has hopefully ended.

There will be a difference in where you live and types of grasses. I can go longer in northern WI than someone in a warmer climate. Grasses will lignify sooner.Try different things, experiment on a small scale to see what the results are. Here's an article I wrote for Graze that will give more details. http://www.files.vaes.vt.edu/SPAREC/Cheyenne-Christianson-Article-Graze-Magazine.pdf

With this needed knowledge: grass/forage rotation/animal health/animal nutrition/milking, etc; is the reason I have no problem paying for someone to do it correctly. It is a lot to know and having not grown up with daily farm workings, it would be like me doing a hip replacement; I've seen it done and have seen various results. It is not something just anyone off the street can do safely without a lot of instruction and practice.

It just make no sense that the govt doesn't appear to work with farmers to help all produce safe healthy foods.

This is great!!

San Fransisco's most famous cheese monger writes an open letter to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board in support of the striking workers here!!

http://gordonzola.net/2011/02/22/open-letter-to-the-wisconsin-milk-marketing-board/

Here is his famous book "Cheesemonger: A life on the wedge"

http://www.amazon.com/Cheesemonger-Life-Wedge-Gordon-Edgar/dp/1603582371

THE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTION IS GOING STRONG IN AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND! I just got word that Madison's labor council has passed a resolution for a nation-wide general strike if this union-busting bill is passed.

We won't pay for their crises! Bailout workers and farmers, not Wall Street!

Thank you so much Cheyenne, Goatmaid, Galina, and everyone -
the info being shared here is amazing.

MW

I would like to elaborate on my reply to your statement, I think you have suggested incorrectly that the udder is full of bacteria.

Although milk is virtually sterile when secreted into the alveoli, it is my understanding that a natural flora exists within the udder that gradually colonizes milk with bacteria, a biological right of passage so to speak to the outside world which gives raw milk its self preserving qualities. These organisms within the udder of a healthy cow are not considered to contribute significantly to the total numbers of microorganisms in the bulk milk.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.03004.x/full

As described in the above articles conclusion, Bacilli present in the udder microbiota of healthy cows can produce a variety of broadly active inhibitors of Gram-positive bacteria, including potential mastitis pathogens, which in turn is likely the reason why the introduction of certain types of antibiotics as part of a of dry cow treatment protocol have been so problematic.

With respect to the significance and impact of the study the article also states that, Inhibitor-producing strains of commensal Bacillus species have been identified, which may have the potential for use as possible antimastitis probiotics.

Ken Conrad

Ken-

AWSOME! Thanks so much for the link to that study. Very valuable information...

Dave,
I'm not able to get the CDC link on prophylactic antibiotics to work. Do you know of somewhere else where I might be able to obtain that information? It is a subject of great interest to me right now.
Thanks!
Gail