Raw-Milk Advocates in South Carolina are hopeful for second time around in 2015 – Cowsmo

Raw-Milk Advocates in South Carolina are hopeful for second time around in 2015

The South Carolina Legislature will have only one more Republican vote next year than it had this year, but Delegate Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell) thinks her colleagues may be more “liberty minded” in 2015. During the 2014 session, Sobonya sponsored two bills to promote raw milk sales in South Carolina, but both measures were killed in committee.

When the legislature convenes in Charleston in January, Sobonya will be back with her bills, one to permit the commercial sale of unpasteurized milk, and the other to allow raw milk to be acquired through herd shares. She won’t be alone.

Ernie Fazenbaker, owner of Windy Ridge Dairy in Independence, is looking to Sobonya and South Carolina State Sen. Daniel Hall (R-Wyoming) to push raw milk during the coming session. Hall introduced measures in the Senate that were similar to those backed by Sobonya in the House. Hall’s bills also died in committee.

Hall will chair the SC Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee come January, but he’ll need support from Sen. Ryan Ferns, who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee, if raw milk legislation is going to get a SC Senate floor vote. Hall, who will also be majority whip, predicts that Fern will give raw milk “a fair shot.”

Sobonya says that raw milk is part of “food freedom” and that all food comes “with a risk.” She points to raw oysters, sushi, rare steaks, and other foods people enjoy, but that come with a certain amount of danger.

Fazenbaker says he is only seeking to sell raw milk from his 35 dairy cows to his friends and neighbors. Some returning South Carolina lawmakers say they will oppose retail sales of raw milk in the state, but might be open to herd or cow share schemes to allow people who really want raw milk a way of obtaining it.

As in other states, the pasteurized dairy industry is expected to continue to oppose bills to liberalize raw-milk sales in South Carolina.

The GOP next year will have a 28-18 edge in the South Carolina Senate and a 78-46 margin in the House.

Source: Food Safety News

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