by Edwin Shank, January 9, 2017
Happy 2017 Family Cow Friends!
New years are for looking forward, of course, but I also can't help but reflecting back a bit.
2016 was an exciting year in the raw milk world. As some of you regulars know, a few years ago our Family Cow farm was among the first few farms in the world to be listed under the high standards of the then-newly-formed RAW MILK INSTITUTE (RAWMI).
It takes a lot of dedication, organization, commitment, and proving to achieve a RAWMI listing. It's tough enough that so far only a few raw milk farmers have shown that they have what it takes to get it done. But the interest is definitely picking up across the world. Dawn and I have been helping and encouraging a few in that direction and so have most of the other RAWMI farmers. We tend to be a passionate lot.
I think we need to be. Doing safe raw milk flies in the face of so much "inside-the-box conventional wisdom" and we face such opposition that only the passionate survive the first year!
But anyway, some do have what it takes, and RAWMI has made some great moves forward in 2016. I'll just let you read all about it in the words of Mark McAfee, the president of RAWMI, from a newsletter sent just before Christmas.
A Big Year for Raw Milk
-By Mark McAfee, president of RAWMI, December 2016
It has been a good year at RAWMI. We LISTED four more farmers this year including Susan Stover in Oregon, Dusty Copland in California, Rick Anglin in Arizona, Robert Greenfield of Ontario Canada.
We are now 13 strong and growing RAMP plan by RAMP plan and farmer by farmer. We have several more farmers that have applied for LISTING and will be LISTED in 2017. It would seem that RAWMI with just 13 farmers LISTED could not ever change the world. Well there is huge news... RAWMI has changed the world of raw milk! Since RAWMI was founded in 2010, the incidence of outbreaks and illness across the USA has dropped substantially. While we are not going to claim that all of this decline is attributed to RAWMI, we do believe that much of this trend is a direct result of our hard work. We have set the raw milk international scientific standard and expectation for low risk, safe raw milk!
Although we would love for all raw dairies to become LISTED and allow RAWMI to gather a much broader and deeper raw milk data base, we are not the raw milk police. We instead are a raw milk community built from the ground up for the betterment of raw milk farmers and their consumers' safety. This raw milk illness decline is truly significant and worthy of real appreciation, a standing ovation and loud applause. A huge thank you to LISTED farmers Edwin Shank and Shawna Barr for their mentoring efforts and assistance. Some of the LISTED dairies would not be LISTED today without their caring and unselfish help. I also would like to acknowledge the work done and technical support provided by Dr. Cat Berge and Dr. Ton Baars and the entire board.
Going forward, RAWMI will continue to LIST only those farmers that show a desire to become LISTED. Squeaky wheels get LISTED. RAWMI is an all-volunteer organization and does not have the time, resources or ability to LIST those that do not persist, self-start and want to be LISTED. This has acted as a self-screening process. This is a true measure of the passion and true purpose that each of the LISTED farmers feel for safe raw milk and the care they feel for their consumers. We are a gracious, ethical and warm community of loving, passionate caring people.
We have become international in our scope and influence. Dr. Cat Berge and Dr. Ton Baars have both worked in the EU to assist farmers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden in their raw milk efforts and safety plans. Both Dr. Cat Berge and Dr. Ton Baars have worked tirelessly with EU governments to educate and change expectations for raw milk and its potential for RAWMI demonstrated safety. In the very near future RAWMI expects to see some LISTED farmers in the EU and maybe even in the Azores and New Zealand.
I could not be prouder, filled with more purpose, more satisfied and happier in my heart and gut.
A Happy Healthy Christmas to all from RAWMI
- Mark McAfee
Family Cow Raw Milk Bottling Photo Journal
On the same subject I thought maybe you'd enjoy another photo journal. This one is on raw milk bottling at The Family Cow. We actually put this together a few months ago but never got it sent out. (I think we got sidetracked by Gwendolyn's wedding.) Whatever the reason, here it is now. I think you'll enjoy the peek behind the scenes at what all we put into our raw milk safety.
The bottling story is told through the eyes of our 20-year-old son Winfred. His co-bottler in the journal is Reuben Hege's 16-year-old son Randall. This past year was Randall's first year on The Family Cow team full time, but he is learning fast! Take it away Winfred and Randall!
Below is a preview. Here are the download links:
Your Farmer ~ Edwin Shank
To continue, download the show:
Know your farmer.
If you don't have one, find one.
If you can't find one, become one.