Oregon raw milk producers should create an organization that would provide training, consulting, farm visits and inspections, according to Charlotte Smith, owner of Champoeg Creamery in St. Paul, OR.
Smith who blogs about her farm has posted a recent call to action for raw milk producers in the state to join together and create an organization that will provide resources to raw milk producers and lend a voice to the grow industry,
“As a result of the recent ecoli [sic] outbreak in Wilsonville, once again it was proven to me that we need more resources to help the raw milk producers in Oregon. Right now there are few, and many don’t know the few we have. The Department of Agriculture at this time does not offer support or advice, other farmers are too busy, so most of us just read a book and buy a cow! Then what? Unfortunately, on the way up that learning curve, there is so much opportunity to make people ill. I am committed to doing all I can to help get a group organized and funded that will offer resources to raw milk producers in Oregon and also show Oregon Dairy Farmers Assoc. and Oregon Department of Agriculture that we are committed to producing safe and clean raw milk, and therefore protect our industry as it affects each of us if another farmer has an outbreak,” Smith wrote in a recent post.
In April, an E.coli outbreak linked to raw milk produced by Foundation Farm in Wilsonville,Or sickened 19 people, 15 of them were children, four of whom were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which causes kidney failure, stroke, coma and seizures.
Smith, who is hoping to have the group’s first meeting before the end of July, says she already has the support of Friends of Family Farmers, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and raw milk organizations in other states. Her goal is to “to present to the Board of Agriculture at their next quarterly meeting, that we as raw milk producers are taking action to produce safe raw milk in Oregon.”