Raw Milk Law in TN
Article by Shawn Dady on July 25, 2012
At this time in TN, it is illegal for a dairy farmer to sell clean, fresh raw milk from his farm directly to the public FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. There are only 2 ways to legally obtain raw milk in the state of Tennessee right now. Here they are below
- It is legal for farmers to sell raw milk FOR PET CONSUMPTION only. It must be labeled as such.
- It is legal to obtain fresh raw milk through share programs. either cow shares, herd shares, or farm shares. Learn more about cow shares.
Not only can farmers now make raw milk obtainable for their cow share owners, they can also make MILK PRODUCTS available from their own milk, things like butter, cream, and cheeses.
Learn more about the law on butter, cream and cheese through cow shares.
We have been working diligently over the last 10 years to change the laws in the state of Tennessee and we have met with some success. The cow share law was a huge victory for our organization. See the links below for some of the history of what has happened with our raw milk efforts.
The Tennessee Cow Share Bill
Agriculture Committee 1
Amendment No. 1 to HB0720
Signature of Sponsor
Senate Bill No. 1114 House Bill No. 720*
by deleting all language of the printed bill after the enacting clause and by substituting instead the following:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 53, Chapter 3, Part 1, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section: ß 53-3-119.
Nothing in this part or any other provision of law shall be construed as prohibiting the independent or partial owner of any hoofed mammal from using the milk from such animal for the owner’s personal consumption or other personal use.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.
5/22/09–VICTORY IN TN! COW SHARES ARE LEGAL!
Greetings! What a historic day. The TN Cow Share bill is now law. The governor signed the bill into law today and it is a done deal. What this means is not that raw milk sales are legal, but it does mean that cow-shares and boarding have been fully recognized and declared as now legal. Contract law and private property rights, as outlined in our constitution, will be upheld in our state. This law SOLIDIFIES the postition that it is perfectly legal for an owner or a PARTIAL owner to drink THEIR OWN cow’s milk. PARTIAL is a very key word in this bill. In fact, without this word, the bill would not be the same and would not carry the weight and strength that it does. Partial owners are cow (or any hoofed mammal) share owners and the bill states their legal position loud and clear. Now farmers can enter into share/boarding contracts free from worry that a government agency will tell them they cannot. This bill clears the way for them.
It is truly a great day.
Here is a copy of an article from the local newspaper, The Tennessean.
Proposal Approving Owners’ Use of Raw Milk Now Law
May 22, 2009 17:16 EDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that supports owners’ use of raw milk for personal consumption in Tennessee is now law.
The measure was signed by Gov. Phil Bredesen on Thursday and takes effect immediately.
State agriculture officials say it was already legal for owners to drink milk from their animals, but the issue has been with purchasing it.
Supporters say the law allows people who want to drink raw milk to legally buy it from the animal’s owner by purchasing a share of the animal.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains and Sen. Mike Faulk of Kingsport. Both are Republicans.
Hey everyone. More great news. The cow share bill has passed in the full state HOUSE. This is amazing. Let’s keep praying. It has still got a ways to go. Will keep you informed.
Hi friends. As you may or may not know, state Representative Frank Nicely has been quietly working on a Cow-Share bill for the state of TN. This is a very good thing. He crafted the bill working with the Weston Price Foundation and the attorneys at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. The bill is modeled after the cow-share bill that passed in the state of Colorado, the only other state in the union where cow-shares have actually been passed into law. The bill is very much based on farmer freedom, and he has made a point to make it not limiting. Although the concept of farmers and consumers using cow shares to sell/obtain raw milk are already legal in the United States because of contract law and our Constitution, basically what this bill would do is reiterate that these kinds of contracts are 100% legal in TN. It would declare them legal instead of letting the question hang out there, waiting for someone to challenge a farmer in court when they set one up.
Well, I have some GREAT news to report. Rep. Nicely emailed me this morning and told me that the TN Cow Share bill passed unanimously out of the house Ag. Committee. This is a HUGE step. Now it goes to the Calendar and Rules Committee. After that it goes to the Senate Ag. Committee, the Senate Calendar and Rules Committee, then to the Full House Floor, then to the Senate Floor, then to the governor. I hope I am right on that progression. But the point is that Rep. Nicely feels pretty good about it that it will PASS and become law!
I cannot tell you what a momentous day this is for the raw milk movement in TN. It is historic.
Rep. Nicely has asked that we not lobby, but that we pray. If you are a praying person, please pray. This is an amazing time.
I will keep everyone updated as things progress,
Check this website regularly to get updates. We will let you know when action needs to be taken through the notification list on the WELCOME page of this website.
Click here to see the listing for the Representatives on the House Agricultural Committee.
Click here to see a sample letter to write to the legislator.
***Special Note*** If you live in any of the districts where there is an House Agricultural Committee member, it is EXTRA important that you take action when it is needed. If the men and women on the Agricultural Committees do not hear from you, any bill we support will not get out of committee.
For a listing of your representatives in general, click http://www.legislature.state.tn.us. This will take you to the TN General Assembly web site where you can choose District Maps. Once you do that, you can click on House or Senate and then on your county to see who is your representative.