Dairy related issues took center stage last Wednesday. The Iowa Senate debated two bills related to the dairy production and marketing in Iowa. The first bill, SF 2309 legalized the sale of fresh milk for very small producers, ten animals or less, to sell directly to the consumer.
This bill ensures clear labeling on raw milk products, so consumers know they are buying an unpasteurized product. It maintains strong consumer protections and is like laws in adjacent states governing the sale of fresh milk. These very small producers can now access a new business opportunity to sell a niche product directly to consumers.
Earlier in the day the Senate also ran SF 2290 to foster and develop innovation in the traditional dairy industry. Last year the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill commonly referred as the Butcher Bill to address the overwhelming demand for meat processing in Iowa exacerbated by the pandemic. SF 2290 applies a number of those policy initiatives to the dairy industry as well. It creates a Dairy Processing and Milk Production Innovation and Revitalization program in the Iowa Economic Development Authority in coordination with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. An artisanal dairy study is also created to explore establishing an artisanal dairy processing program at a community college or university.
Iowa’s retail grocers and the commercial dairy industry, along with the Farm Bureau, oppose SF2309, but opponents were unsuccessful in getting a consumer warning label included in the version of the bill that was approved by the Senate.