The "Final Chapter" for Michael Schmidt? A Meeting with Ontario Premier Would End Hunger Strike

Canadian raw dairy farmer Michael Schmidt personally delivered a letter to Ontario's premier, Dalton McGuinty, today. In it, he explains why he is carrying on his hunger strike, and what it will take for him to end it. Schmidt states his position more clearly and eloquently than I ever could, so I am publishing it as is.Here is information on contacting the premier, to follow up on Schmidt's letter.

Premier of Ontario, Honorable Dalton McGuinty,

Choice is something that is inherent in our national identity. People come to this country from all around the world because Canada is a place of liberty, and these are the values we hold most dear.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuintyYet, despite this, I have been fighting since 1994 for the right of men, women and children in Canada to be able to make the simplest and most important of all choices -what they eat.

Over the last 17 years I have made every effort to engage the authorities in a constructive dialogue about the issue of non-pasteurized milk in Ontario and Canada. In return my farm has been raided by armed officers, my family has been terrorized and I been dragged through the courts – first being acquitted and then being found guilty.

Today, farmers like me in Ontario and around the country are scared. We are scared that people with guns who claim to be acting in our best interests will snatch our livelihoods from us. We are scared that we will be tried for the "crime" of believing that informed consumers and citizens in our free country should be able to choose what they eat and drink.

This is why, on September 29th, I began my hunger strike. Today is day 19 without food. And whilst I am suffering and my body is weakening by the hour, I am resolutely determined that this will be the final chapter of this 17-year fight.

The right to buy food direct from a farmer is as old as our country. Yet, today, that right is being taken away from Canadians by a government that insists that only corporate Canada be responsible for feeding our citizens.

I respectfully call on you, Premier McGuinty, to meet with me in person, as soon as possible, to find a way of ensuring that this right is respected and that the government renounces in taking away the most fundamental of all our rights – that to choose what we eat.

The end of my hunger strike is dependent on it. I am very hopeful that we will be able to resolve this issue, once and for all, by working together in an open and constructive way and I very much hope that the opportunity to do so comes soon.

Yours respectfully

Michael Schmidt

Brother Michael....

Finnaly, a reach across the bridge of reason to the executive branch of government and an abandonment of the judges...

Awesome!! Glorious!! Fantastic!! I am with you all the way!!

Deepest respect,

Mark

Thank you David,
for posting this letter. It explains a lot.

If Michael's appeal to Premier (what a title!) McGinty does not receive a prompt response, the premier will go down in infamy. The ball is in his court, and his integrity to serving his province .

I pray this gets lots of accurate media attention.

Mark,
I support RAWMI's stated goals and I don't believe you are out to get the little guy. Sometimes on this blog you make statements that alarm people, but I get what you're doing.
Thank you for carrying the torch,
-Blair

Thank you Blair,

I will try to tone it down a little. But...the passion of truth, the studies and 65000 raw milk consuming CA people reinforce how powerful raw milk is for us all. Farmers and consumers alike. It is hard for me to stand by and let people stand in it's way....people from the FDA or even on the raw milk side.

I deeply respect what you have done at RMAC.

Mark,

Thanks so much for your kind comments about my farm but I do digress with your comment about my blog . . .

"Your site is covered in links to all types of raw milk events and activist sorts of things."

Wondering which blog you went to because I have no links to any site and I am totally non-political in my writings . . . it is all about my farm, food, community and family. I make it a point to be non-political on my blog . .

You lied about me, Mark . . . and it says so much about who you are . . .

See for yourself folks . . .

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Mark and I are with you . . .Michael . . . we will be fasting with you in solidarity on Thursday , ,

With very best wishes from fellow farmers and raw milk consumers in Maine . . .

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

You sure got balls to call me lazy Mark....but as always you take a slap at small farmers that work their farms alone. If I was 'selfish' I damn sure would be pouring every minute of every day into my farm... Talk about hollow words. Deceiving others again. Tsk tsk.

You are guessing Mark, and hoping to make an impression with your response. You don't know me or the community that I have built around my milk and other farm products. But since I don't agree with your 'vision' you trash them as insignificant, and me as even less than that. You are infatuated with size....that bigger and more is better. How common, and shallow.

That you are the only one 'teaching' also is false. Yes your crowds are bigger, but the quality of interaction is always sacrificed when you play to a larger audience. I am content in my efforts to initiate change, and have no delusions of 'changing the world'. If I can influence small portion of it, I can be satisfied........and I can devote myself more deeply to those that I touch. Ten 'markets' of 100 is better than a single market of 1000....for many reasons. You don't need to be a homeopath to understand that less is really more....

Your approach is a conventional one. You see to pigeon hole milk into the standard delivery system. There is so much more change that we can foster, if we just don't alter the stuff in the jug from boiled to fresh. Milk deserves better that the industrialization and commoditization that your institute and standards will facilitate. But you are so focused on the goal, you are failing to fully realize the full implications of your action.

That rawmi will only be a positive is not reality. There will be negative ramifications too...but you gloss them over and belittle those who bring them up. You seem to me to be like a used car salesman, selling a bill of goods that sounds wonderful, and looks great on the outside, but refuses to let others see what might be under the hood. It's the unintended consequences that are scary.

Allowing raw milk profits to be had by large chain grocery stores is self defeating...if you are indeed a proponent of local food. The grocer lobby is strong and powerful, and they spend their money well making sure that little guys like me are at a disadvantage. Supporting them is a slap in the face....voluntary or not.

I wonder what the protocol is for a farmer that doesn't measure up to your standards. Even though no one has been made sick, and their customers are happy with their milk...what happens if to them if their number aren't to your approval? Blacklisting? Negative press? or, god forbid, dismembership?

And what happens when a rawmi certified dairy is accused of making someone sick? Do you really think that there will never be an incident with one of your members? (you really can't be foolish enough to think that you can control raw milk to that extent...can you?) What happens when the pathogen testing comes back a week later...after the 'kids' are in the hospital? Do you really think that the courts are going to believe you and your tests, over the tests and accusations of the 'authorities?

What happens when you test on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays....and the $7 hung over Mexican skips a shit covered teat on Thursday? Membership isn't going be required to test daily are they? (that can be very expensive...at least for the little guys)

What about raw milk producers in states where it is illegal to produce and sell raw milk? Are you going to list their names and addresses on your website? If you don't, how is that 'list of numbers' going to help that farmer increase his market? Will those numbers be there just for the customers who know the 'secret code?

Rawmi doesn't only teach raw milk. There's a lot more that you are conveniently leaving out. We can sit here and think how great it is going to be, ignore the possible pitfalls, and be very disappointed later on... We can buy into your rhetoric, or we can see reality for what it truly is.

The day the FDA accepts your standards will be the day the raw milk is forever lost into the hands of corporate greed. Pardon those of us who aren't blinded by the passion or potential of the good stuff, and have the guts to point it out to those who would hear.

Back in the days when Raw Certified Milk was in place & very prolific throughout the U.S. there were standards in place that ensured pure, safe, nutritious milk to the consumers. Some of these standards included:

Cleanliness: milk samples tested daily

Bacteria count: milk & cream - 10,000/ml maximum

Anaerobic bacteria test: once per week

Streptococci test: once per month

Herd tests: each cow's blood tested for brucellosis before entering milk herd & retested at least once a year. Reactors removed from herd

T.B. skin test: every 180 days by veterinarian

Health of cows: heifer calves vaccinated for brucellosis between 3-5 mths old, herd tested for TB every 6 mths

Now these are just a few of the items that raw milk producers at that time followed & these standards were much higher than the commercial pasteurized milk companies that were beginning to come about. It showed the higher quality of care & attention that the raw milk producers followed to ensure a very safe product. Unfortunately, these standards were abandoned when the effort to shut down all raw milk producers nation wide began & gained momentum. Getting back to some sort of standards I think would only help in proving a safer product is being produced & shows that the raw milk producer, whether small, medium or large, takes great pride & care with their product. Yes, this is to placate the government agencies, but they are the ones that are threatening the availability of these products, not disgruntled customers, irritated neighbors, etc.

For me, as a consumer, if a standard is put into place that will strengthen the ability of bringing back raw milk production to the public...I'm all for that. I don't want this trend of trying to take away our raw milk products to continue. It used to be that I could get my raw milk products from a number of stores within my area, but now it is down to only three stores! I don't want to see it end up being totally taken away. For those very few states that have access to raw milk products legally, they are very lucky, but with the growing trend of trying to put an end to raw milk products nationwide, it just may end up on their door step any time soon. That possibility is very real, especially at the rate these government agencies are getting away with their outrageous assaults!

The history of raw milk production & consumption is an absolutely fascinating subject. There are a lot of documents, writings, proper research & books available to review. Some of the information is very enlightening, especially some information that had been deliberately made up, fabricated, as well as, out right falsified by those against raw milk products. What's more interesting is how they got away with this!

Michael,

It's an extraordinary letter that pulls together everything that those of us who want the freedom to choose the food we eat and drink are so passionate about. It's so simple, really, and this letter crystallizes it all.

I've sent an e-mail via the premier's contact page (thank you, David, for providing the link). I hope and pray that the premier meets with him, and that something good comes of it.

And Michael, my heart and prayers have been with you and will continue so.

Mark,

Do you an email I can reach you at? I have some questions better addresed privately.

"I'm sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you." This is a mantra/prayer as taught by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. One can 'google' this to find out more about this, but today I ask that we collectively repeat this all day long as much as we can for Michael Schmidt. Implore as many as you can to do the same. Farmer Schmidt, an honorable man, has declared his fasting intent, and I could never ask him to change, (even though I would want to), so what can I do to support him? Prayer, especially collective prayer can move mountains! Please pray together with me today and everyday and go on your social internet 'networks' and ask people to join in! Even if you don't like the above mantra...then use your own, but, please, just do it! Do not be afraid or ashamed to talk to the Divine Creator of this Universe in Michael Schmidt's name! Thank you!

"What about raw milk producers in states where it is illegal to produce and sell raw milk? Are you going to list their names and addresses on your website?"

Perhaps they would be considered collateral damage? Make a martyr of them?

I wouldn't buy raw milk from any chain stores, that would not only make the quality of the milk questionable, it would also make it questionable how the milk was processed.

What does it cost to have labs done each time? What does the equipment cost to obtain the samples,hold them and transport them? What does it cost to hire some one to collect and transport samples? Where are the closest labs? Are there only certain labs "accepted" by the govt?

Why would a TB test be done every 180 days? That is injecting a chemical into the cow. That would kill the organic label..... Or is it tested through blood samples?

"Your site is covered in links to all types of raw milk events and activist sorts of things."

When I read that, I thought I missed something....I didn't see it on Violets blog.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/19/listeria-outbreak-was-cau_n_1019851.html?ir=Food

"(CDC) ......, the FDA says it was able to positively trace the source of the outbreak to southwestern Colorado cantaloupe growers Jensen Farms."

How long before the public was notified of the "potential" contamination?

"The investigation found that the Listeria monocytogenes strains MAY have been introduced by a low level of the bacteria in the fields where the fruit were grown and contaminated the storage facility. The facility COULD HAVE also been affected by a truck used to haul the fruits to a cattle operation," (emphasis mine)

Sounds like they still are NOT sure.... wonder if Jenson's had a HACCP and/or RAMP.... Doesn't OSHA,CDC,FDA,etc require some sort of "RAMP" for facilities and workers? They obviously didn't work to prevent contamination.

Ahhh, but you see, Sylvia, that's how they squeeze out the little folk, how they've always done it... make the requirements and restrictions so onerous that small farmers are forced to give up: "Get big or get OUT." Well, what if we don't want to get big?

Mark and Gordon always make me laugh out loud when they accuse me of being jealous of their success. LOLOL I don't WANT their success. I'm perfectly happy serving the folks I do... mostly liberals and hippies in a small college town which is still 40 miles from my farm, 100 miles to the nearest city of over 60,000 people. Retail fresh milk is illegal in this state and unlikely ever to be legal--in my lifetime anyway; cow/goat shares are barely tolerated as it is. I just can't see RAWMI changing anything for us.

Sadly, most people in this state are perfectly happy drinking commercial pasteurized swill, despite my "teach teach teach." Worse, they don't WANT to know the bad things about swill, just like they don't want to take responsibility for their own health. So don't lecture ME about teaching... I've been providing and expounding about fresh milk since 1996. Never made anyone sick all those years either, but sure have made a lot of people healthier and happier, including CHILDREN, even BABIES, who grow big and strong on my milk, year after year. And to me, THAT'S success, not how much money I have in the bank or how large my farm is or how many people I employ so I can fly here and there.

From what I've read, Mark has always lived where fresh milk is legal in stores; he has no concept of the nervousness, the fear and the worry that fresh milk "providers" have in states where it's illegal. So I don't care if Mark thinks I'm a coward for not stating my name publicly on this forum... the way I see it, I'm actually protecting my customers' milk source. I sure don't see how that makes me selfish to expose myself.

Mark's swagger and semi-threatening bombast is beginning to sound like the FDA, and getting to the point where I'm skipping his comments, just like I do with Mary's novelette segments. Between the two of them, I'm starting to find reasons not to come here anymore, which saddens me because I've been reading this blog since David first wrote about the milk seizures in Detroit.

Oh well, that's the way it goes, I guess.

Sylvia,
Good questions about testing. RMAC's Goat Standards Committee had a devil of a time with TB and Brucellosis test standards for goats. Generally speaking, goat producers are more adamant about not exposing their animals to vaccines, other routine chemicals and shots. They eventually decided to make a one-time test for TB & Brucellosis mandatory, and as long as it was a closed herd and Colorado remained a TB and Brucellosis "free" state, no further testing required. Otherwise, testing was required every 3 years for goats, every year for cows.

We test for Salmonella and e.coli 015:H7, and total coliform and SPC. Cost is $20.50 for the 4 tests, plus overnight shipping. Once a month.

We had a lot of resistance to testing at first, but every year more and more people see the value of it. There were issues about confidentiality, regulation, etc. RMAC does not police their members - we emphasize that what they do affects all raw dairies, and publish anonymous group test results so they can compare their numbers with their peers.

The Colorado statute requires producers to share all test results with their shareholders. Our biggest priority now is teaching shareholders to ask for test results and help them understand the results, which includes looking at the overall trend, instead of one month's data. It's a touchy issue because most consumers belong to local yahoo groups, and reputations can be ruined or panic infected with one under-educated post.

-Blair

With the listeria outbreak in CO, does anyone know if those cantaloupes were genetically modified? I don't know of anyone who's addressed the issue of GMOs and foodborne illness.

--Blue Dog

$20.50 plus mailing (I have to clue what shipping costs)

According to mark's RAMP on his web site, he sends in samples twice a week. $12.50X2= $25/week X52weeks=$1300/year plus shipping.... That adds up. Mark does your RAWMI require your members to test twice a week?

If the animals are getting vaccinations, are they considered organic?

"Mark's swagger and semi-threatening bombast is beginning to sound like the FDA, "

Ditto

Blue Dog- haven't seen anything about GMOs and the cantaloupe

Violet, that is indeed very illuminating. I appreciate you highlighting the disparity between the claim and reality of your web site.

Short of searching the entire site, is there any way I can find your fiber/yarn goods that are currently for sale?

These are the Quixote lyrics that I know...from Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Lyrics by Joe Darion
In this song, Quixote explains his quest and the reasons behind it ... in doing so,
he captures the essence of the play and its philosophical underpinnings.
(For me, it is absolutely magical.)

To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...

And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

That we have lost our basic rights down to the issue of food sovereignty is a tragedy, that one honorable North American Farmer must take on this kind of quest should shame and at the same time outrage every citizen at least on this side of the world! What have we come to that we are not raising our own "Holy Hell" and standing with this man? Please people, turn your attention to contemplative thought and 'be with' Michael Schmidt, and pray, meditate, sing, appeal to the Creator! Anything along these lines will be an authentic force of universal energy that will bear support in these times of darkness for this purposed gentleman. My mantra: "I'm sorry, Please forgive me, I Love You, Thank You. (Ho'oponopono) Let this run in the background of your consciousness while you go about your daily activities. Let it become a universal "hummmm" over these next few days and weeks of uncertainty!
God Bless Michael Schmidt and God have mercy on us all!

October 19, 2006
Day 43 Hospital

When the doctors made their rounds, discussions took place about possibly of doing a laparoscopy to check the opening of Chris pancreas. Due to the length of time Chris pancreas had not been working, he was moving into the category of having chronic pancreatitis. We were still in the process of being released from the hospital, but had been waiting for the TPN nurse specialist to meet with us. They didnt know if this would take place through LLUCH or our HMO. We would have been released tomorrow, but someone forgot to inform the TPN nurse. That means we would be here for another week. I felt relieved. I didnt feel ready to take on the responsibility for everything involved with his TPN and PICC line care.

Chriss last day of taking methadone was yesterday. He was down to only taking one medication orally, keppra. The GI doctor informed us that he was going to try this medication as a last ditch effort to see if it would stimulate Chris pancreas. It was given through is I.V.

Lipids were added back to his TPN and they were beginning to slowly lower the dose of dextrose. He was down to 15 % for the last few days. Tomorrow they would lower him to 10%. This process needed to be done slowly or something negative would happen to him. It would be too much of a shock on his body to go from a high dose of daily dextrose to a low dose.

Chris was still having a difficult time with the daily finger pricks. He would always start crying saying he didnt want to be hurt anymore. One of the nurses had shown us this trick with a dry washcloth. If we rubbed the washcloth hard on his finger for about 30 seconds, it would naturally numb the finger and it wouldnt feel as painful. This helped the process tremendously.

Chris had his first normal, solid bowl movement since before he entered the hospital. Even though his pancreas wasnt working properly, his intestinal track seemed to be returning to normal. We always had to find a positive every day to focus on.

Chris was able to complete his homework today, despite being hungry.

http://www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com/

Violet,

I visited your wonderful website and I saw all sorts of links to political activities etc. David Gumpert speaking etc.

I am going to reserve all comments and stay positive.

Mark

Jax,

Thanks so much for your posting . . .

E-mail me privately at: violetjwillis@yahoo.com or even call me at (207) 726-4765 and I will be able to give you the range of our fiber products from our Icelandic Sheep . . . glad you took the time btw to realize that Mark McAfee was wrong about my blog:) At this point . . . I don't think he even looked at it . . .30 minutes . . . is that right Mark:)

Getting ready to fast tomorrow . . .remember . . . Canada is a very Socialist country . . it is not free . . . (we are heading towards this path) . . . the Premier's office would not even speak to me once they found out that I was calling from the US . . .Michael should immigrate to America . . .Michael, Please, set up a farm in the US . . .we will support you and your methods of producing raw milk. . .

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Mark,

That was a post about our open farm day . . . we had three speakers who spoke about food rights . . . and believe it or not, all three are personal friends . . . :)

Kind regards,

Violet
www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Yes, per comments by Mark and Violet, I had a great time at Violet's farm on Saturday. She and husband Mark hosted a community open house, which included talks by Scott D'Amboise, a candidate for the U.S. Senate; Bob St. Peter, a leader of the Food Sovereignty movement; and myself. It was a beautiful day, and about 100 area residents showed up at her way Downeast outpost...yes, Dennysville is close to the easternmost town in the U.S. I meant to thank her on the blog for her hospitality, but with all that is going on with Michael Schmidt, I've let a few things slide. Violet has posted a nice writeup about the day at her site:

http://kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com/2011/10/open-farm-day-october-15th-2011.html

By the way, I was real impressed with Scott D'Amboise, the Republican challenger to incumbent, Sen. Olympia Snowe. He's the first politician I've heard who not only cares about food rights, but speaks intelligently about the subject.

David

Violet,

If I did not report properly about your website, I deeply apologize. The website I visited had a right hand margin filled with links. It was the address that you use at your name address. Did I not visit the wrong website?

Blue dog www.mark@organicpastures.com Or you can call me 1877 raw milk.

As to the RAWMI standards, we have learned much from the lessons of the AAMMC certified raw milk movement. We have learned much from RMAC. At RAWMI we hope to bring a fresh new era to raw milk safety and transparency. A track record with many dairies of all sizes is critical if we intend to bring raw milk out of the 50 state chaos and FDA PMO applied Dark Ages.

In Texas, at the WAP national convention, we will try our best to explain RAWMI and offer it's benefits to all. It is my hope that the Common Standards are seen as achievable, affordable and reasonable. Dr Cat Berg DVM PHD ( rawmi director )has been truly inspirational in her concept of meaningful relevant data collection and it's rational interpretation. RAWMI is farmer and consumer friendly....this is our tool. If you are in an illegal raw milk state, RAWMI standards can be your resource, but obviously we would not post your data, until your state moved to align with states that are more progressive.

RAWMI is fully dedicated to raw milk access for all citizens.

Mark does your RAWMI require your members to test twice a week? You didn't answer this question?

If I was in a state where selling raw milk was illegal, I would not join any entity as there would be fear of the feds invading that entity that holds records of my lab results, etc leading the govt to invade me.....

"The website I visited had a right hand margin filled with links." "I saw all sorts of links to political activities etc."

The site she lists as hers doesn't have a side margin with links, or are you referring to the archive list? If so, they are not links to other sites; if you open them, you'll see they talk about her garden, sheep,food, etc Nothing political. If you start at the beginning, you'll see how she started in Va and ended up where she is. I can envision myself starting with a garden and fish pond...."(right land - wrong house, wrong house - right land)" currently my dilemma now.

The only post I saw was the one David referenced in regards to the one he was at along with, what was it 2 politicians who attended. Is David a politician? If so I wasn't aware. That would certainly put him in a different light. It was an opened house for the farm. Is that political? Not hardly.

It is worth repeating Goatmaid's comments from above. Although she/he fears revealing an identity, the situation seems so famiiliar to me in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where more and more people are coming from farther and farther away, hoping to find fresh milk. They are mothers with babies, adults with health issues, liberals, conservatives, all united in a belief that local farmers are an antidote to industrial, processed corporate foods and their greed. Their voices, as yet, aren't strong enough. But unlike many of you, including Goatmaid, I believe that people will rise up to claim their rights. We are already seeing a backlash in this country against banking greed. Government ought to heed the opening salvos of an all out war against onerous and selfish regulations.
I am proud to offer my name, fully realizing that many battles may be lost before the war is won, but you also should be proud to stand forward..
Brigitte Ruthman

Goatmaid wrote-
"Ahhh, but you see, Sylvia, that's how they squeeze out the little folk, how they've always done it... make the requirements and restrictions so onerous that small farmers are forced to give up: "Get big or get OUT." Well, what if we don't want to get big?

Mark and Gordon always make me laugh out loud when they accuse me of being jealous of their success. LOLOL I don't WANT their success. I'm perfectly happy serving the folks I do... mostly liberals and hippies in a small college town which is still 40 miles from my farm, 100 miles to the nearest city of over 60,000 people. Retail fresh milk is illegal in this state and unlikely ever to be legal--in my lifetime anyway; cow/goat shares are barely tolerated as it is. I just can't see RAWMI changing anything for us.

Sadly, most people in this state are perfectly happy drinking commercial pasteurized swill, despite my "teach teach teach." Worse, they don't WANT to know the bad things about swill, just like they don't want to take responsibility for their own health. So don't lecture ME about teaching... I've been providing and expounding about fresh milk since 1996. Never made anyone sick all those years either, but sure have made a lot of people healthier and happier, including CHILDREN, even BABIES, who grow big and strong on my milk, year after year. And to me, THAT'S success, not how much money I have in the bank or how large my farm is or how many people I employ so I can fly here and there.

From what I've read, Mark has always lived where fresh milk is legal in stores; he has no concept of the nervousness, the fear and the worry that fresh milk "providers" have in states where it's illegal. So I don't care if Mark thinks I'm a coward for not stating my name publicly on this forum... the way I see it, I'm actually protecting my customers' milk source. I sure don't see how that makes me selfish to expose myself.

Mark's swagger and semi-threatening bombast is beginning to sound like the FDA, and getting to the point where I'm skipping his comments, just like I do with Mary's novelette segments. Between the two of them, I'm starting to find reasons not to come here anymore, which saddens me because I've been reading this blog since David first wrote about the milk seizures in Detroit.

Sylvia,
There was one politician at Violet Willis' open house on Saturday, Scott D'Amboise. Bob St. Peter and I, also spoke, but we're not politicians. I'm not sure sometimes where these ideas get going, such as the notion that only politicians spoke there.

David

David,

I believe it was Mark's post "I visited your wonderful website and I saw all sorts of links to political activities etc. David Gumpert speaking etc. " that alluded to or put you in the same category as a politician.

I've read Violet's blog and did not see any political activities on it, as it appeared that Mark did per his statements.

I've no doubt that many are proud to "stand forward" in preventing invasion from the govt. Some aren't foolish enough to toss everything away they've worked hard for all their lives. They don't want to make their family destitute. They have to survive to fight another day, they cannot do that if they rot in jail, nor can they fight the fight scavenging for food and shelter. Not everyone fights battles in the same way. Trying to force one belief/way on everyone is no different than the idealogy of Marxism-Leninism, etc.

I doubt that any dairy farmer wants their consumers to become ill, that would be suicide. It has been said many times on this blog, that the general population is opening their eyes, and they are very slowly speaking out regarding their food.

When I was a travel nurse (contract) I was not in fear of speaking out for unsafe staffing/patient care. The local nurses rarely spoke out as they were in fear of losing their jobs and being black-balled, your work environment can become very hostile. . Per my contract, as long as I didn't screw up, if they cancelled the contract, I'd still get paid the full amount of the contract to include completion bonuses.... I was quite vocal and put many issues/incidents in writing. I never had anything less than a stellar evaluation from any job. If I had to worry about supporting my family, I'd guard my words more carefully. I had nothing to lose by speaking out, the other nurses did. It did not make them less of a person, they had their priorities straight, their families came first above what they believed.....Mark can even understand that belief.

Mark is in the same basic situation I was in;I could advocate without fear for my family. He may lose his farm, he may go to jail, BUT his family won't be destitute.

To answer the question of testing frequency, RAWMI has not fully settled on the testing protocol.

We have discussed that smaller operations would test much less frequently than larger commercial operations. I can not see any operation testing more than 1 time per month. Smaller operations perhaps once every 3 months. That is our best guess at this time. We will see how the final concept comes out.

Remember that testing does not assure safety. It is the consistency of the plan and controls in place that make for safety. Testing is a surveilance program to measure how well your plans, conditions and controls are doing.

A food safety plan is the plan for RAWMI. When the conditions remain constant, the results tend to remain constant.

RAWMI expects to lay down the transparent track record using mostly state testing data. If a dairy is already in a state that tests, then that data is very useful and can be used. I do know that when a dairy is selling retail, that dairy generally wants more data. That dairy does not want surprizes. That dairy wants to know what the trends are far before the state comes to check and test.

For areas in the US or Canada that sell raw milk through Share programs then obviously the state does not test. So the individual dairy manager would test according to the RAWMI schedule for his size operation.

I know that in CA some of the smallest Share Dairies get the best bacteria counts and are very proud of them. They should be proud.

If a small dairy is threatened by RAWMI becuase they feel that larger commercial dairies will displace them, they should really reconsider that idea. OPDC raw milk is sold all over CA in 400 stores, 50 buyers clubs and 40 farmers markets, yet there are 130 cow share programs that are thriving in CA. None of those cow share programs seem to be suffering any lost of sales ( customers etc ). In fact, I would claim that it has been the success and teaching of OPDC that has been a very essential part of growing the market and giving smaller operations the incentive, local demand and space to move forward. When raw milk succeeds we all succeed.

There will never be enough safe raw milk for everyone that wants it, if all of us teach raw milk!!

Please do not feel threatened by growing interest in Raw Milk. What we should be collectively working on is this...... The collective voice of raw milk. So we can all speak to one another and stop the RAIDS. RAIDS are a symptom of FDA PMO BIG AG Processor Fear and regulatory ignorance and jealousy.

RAWMI is the tool to join our voices and lay down a track record and normalize raw milk. RAWMI will lead Raw Milk Out of the DARK AGES. If we continue to hide our raw milk successes we will never be respected and the Oppression, 50 State Chaos and RAIDS will continue.

Mark

Mark

I wish you the best with your RAWMI program however keep in mind that our desire to bring about positive change through controlling standards can be a slippery slope to perdition. Farmers and the public have both been brainwashed into believing that the current system of production, processing and distribution of food is adequate despite its failures and a gross disrespect for the environment and natural process and for this reason education aught to be RAWMI's sole objective.

I admire and I am enviable of the fact that raw milk is available for sale in many states south of the border. I hope that greed and self righteous political ideals will not pervade and undermine your dairy industry to the same extent that it has in Canada.

Dairy Farmers of Canada has supposedly been the voice of Canadian dairy farmers since 1934. Originally called the Canadian Federation of Milk Producers, it was part of the National Dairy Council which was an organization representing dairy processors. The organization was renamed "Dairy Farmers of Canada" in 1942.

On February 1, 1994, Dairy Farmers of Canada merged with the Dairy Bureau of Canada, the national organization responsible for the overall promotion of Canadian dairy products. All policy, marketing, nutrition and market research activities were regrouped under the newly formed organization, which retained the name "Dairy Farmers of Canada". Why they have chosen to use dairy farmers in their title is beyond me since their policies have failed to support and in many instances have undermined the small family dairy farm.

In Ontario raw milk sales are primarily a black market deal and have been so ever since the sale of the raw product was banned in 1938. The milk act which was passed by the Ontario government in 1965 resulted in the formation of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board (OMMB) aka Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) in order to address the chaos and disarray in the milk marketing system. What it also did however was serve to further reinforce the above ban, by mandating all milk sales through the marketing board.

Although the Milk Marketing Boards initial mandate was to support the small family dairy farm via a cap on quota and increased market return via a milk pricing formula, the cap was eventually removed in the 1990s and the formula was basically ignored in order to placate the processors. This led to a rapid decline in the number of family farms in Ontario.

In 1991, 3-4 years after Michael Schmitt began his cow share operation; raw milk was officially banned for sale under Food and Drug Regulations. This was a calculated move by industry and government at large in order to deal with the publics increasing desire to consume raw milk.

I suppose initially all was done with good intention however in my mind dairy farmers including the consumer would be much better off without all this excessive manipulation hanging over their heads.

Ken Conrad

Mark,

I can't speak for others, only myself. It's not a matter of feeling threatened by growing interest in raw milk. I think it is great, more people are leaning towards more natural foods. Less processing, less adulterations.

One of the things that concerns me is that throughout history, it has shown that when something becomes "big" there is a tendency for increased contamination.
I can envision a 500 or greater heard supplying raw milk for consumption. It is not something I would be comfortable consuming. It's like running a day care center, the more kids you have, the more things you miss in watching them.

We've had a backyard garden since I was a little kid. We used home compost and cow manure. we have eaten stuff without washing, we've had cow chip fights....We have never gotten sick from our garden like people are getting sick from the "big" farms.

My friend Pattie, she tests her milk, she confers with the Vets at UCD, she is very attentive to her farm, cows and milk. She is a voracious reader. She is extremely conscientiousness. There is trust there. She has 2 cows. To my knowledge, she isn't planning on having 20 or more head. I am more comfortable obtaining my milk from the small farm.

I don't think the raw dairy farmers are fearing "big" raw dairy farms, I think they may be fearing turning raw milk into another big ag conglomeration and ruining raw milk like they've ruined plain old pasturized milk and all other foods and environment.

Sylvia,

I think that the sober facts of Alta Dena bear witness to your very correct observations. When 6000 cows ( Alta Dena operations in the 1980's ) are crowded together in wet CAFO conditions, it really does not matter how clean you try to make their udders during milking, the conditions microscopically will not be a match for raw milk. Alta Dena also used anti biotics and lots of grain...lots of it. Not a blade of grass ever. No sunny pastures.

So you are very very right.

We are at the dawn of a new day. Organic research matters even if you are not certified, we know the impact and essential role that conditions and nutrition plays in gut health and that means good bacteria. Safety plans matter, testing for surveilance matters.

We need lots of dairies to feed America. I love the small micro dairy concept. It is local and it is very low impact. It can achieve the best bacteria counts....and it is the community that matters in the connectivity of the source of the milk. That is why I am a part of the Sec of Ags working Group in CA. I want to see more well managed connected local small dairies. Kids need to see where their food comes from and they need to know a farmer. That means lots of farmers and lots of local.

We all can embrace appropriate Common Standards as we go forward. These are track record tools of education and understanding. These are not threatening outside forces.

Michael,

I am sure that Premier McGuinty has plenty of voices inside of his Agriculture Department telling him to not meet with you. That is what his message to the press has been.

Mike you need to erode the Premiers support systems. Meet or attempt to meet with every person that sits in power, through out all Canadian government. Take the press with you. Do a Michael Moore on these poor smucks. Walk to each office...serve them all with notice. Take this argument to each government official and appeals to them as parents.

I sent my letter and email to the Premier today. I spent 30 minutes on a radio talk show this morning in London Ontario.

God bless you Brother!

Mark

It's time to get on our knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness for turning from Him, trust Jesus Christ by faith for salvation and then pray for Michael Schmidt, and our food freedoms!

Jeremiah 33:3 God's phone#
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know

?2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God lead the Israelites out of Egypt, God saved the Jews as chronicled in the book of Esther and He is continuing to work every day in the lives of those who call upon Him, humble themselves, seek his face and pray!

Concerning Sylvias remarks (10/20), big is only a three letter word. There is no reason why a larger operation should be any less capable of producing healthy raw dairy products than a small operation, assuming the terrain is suitable for whatever number of cows the farmer wishes to maintain. Suppose that within a market area there were either 100 two-cow milk producing farms or one 200-cow farm. Is a consumer more likely to contract a sickening pathogen in one system than the other? As a consumer, I am interested in which system would better serve the customers. One small dairy farm may be the ideal scenario, but a lot of people seeking raw milk, for instance, may well be excluded.

Across the country there are varying physical conditions of soil, climate, etc., but there are also various differences of marketing options, many of which are dependent on state and local laws and regulations, and it seems to me that these differences influence the nature of operations of a raw milk facility more than the methods of establishing a clean production facility. A farm pickup only, a cow share operation or a legal retail sales environment present very different considerations as to how to market their products and as to how to serve customers. Unless one is giving his/her milk away, every farmer must consider the revenue flow of his/her farm operation whether he/she wants to become a big income producer or to just survive, and for those who have great concern for the quality of the product they produce- especially the very small operators- what about the right or desire of the consumers who are excluded from the market because your operation is too small to provide an adequate supply?

In todays climate of do-good legislators passing feel-good legislation, I am waiting for the law that ordains that no dairy farmer may operate who restricts his/her product to a limited number of buyers. After all, should there not be equal opportunity for everyone?

Regulation is the bane of every business in America today. No amount of regulation can remove the risk (or safety) factor entirely. So the question is, how much safety do we wish to instill- always at the cost of freedom? Every time a law is passed or a regulation approved, someone loses some freedom. The debate over small versus large is one that should be left to the free market. The question of who is the most virtuous producer (the single cow farmer of the large operator) is a question that has been debated even by our founders many decades ago (the elite versus we the people). The question of regulation versus individual freedom is one that is progressively destroying our country.

We certainly have the knowledge and technology available to produce safe food, and it is improving all the time. Beware the regulators. I dont know exactly what RAWMI is, but I cant imagine that it is not a set of guidelines that is adaptable. Among other things, the free enterprise system requires gentlemanly like conduct on behalf of the business community and intelligent consumers. There is no substitute for, as Mark reiterates, teach, teach, teach!

Dan