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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Legalizing The Sale Of Raw Milk On Wednesday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
/
Montana Public Radio

The debate over legalizing the sale of raw milk returns to the Montana Legislature Wednesday with House Bill 245.

The bill’s sponsor is Republican Representative Nancy Ballance of Hamilton. She says it doesn’t allow the milk to be sold in stores, a large fear of opponents last session, and would also answer some safety concerns by adding handling precautions and testing.

“Ag community has some issues relative to wanting to give up control of the milk industry. But the issues that come forward are the health issues. The testing is what will make it easier to regulate.”

The new bill includes safety rules, but would largely leave farmers to regulate themselves. That is, farmers with, at most, 15 cows, 30 goats or 30 sheep and who sell the raw milk at their own farm.

Those in the large-scale Montana milk industry must be federally regulated for their milk to be sold after processing.

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