Raw milk hearing summary from member Gena Parkhurst

SUMMARY of June 6th raw milk rules hearing, Pierre, SD 12:30pm CST (left room about 3:30pm CST)


Hearing officer:  Hillary Brady

Ms. Brady welcomed everyone, and stated that the purpose of the hearing was to discuss the proposed raw milk rules, NOT to discuss the nutritional content or health benefits of raw milk.  She gave a 10 minute limit for testimony.  She noted that Courtney De La Rosa would be speaking for the proponents.  She asked who would speak for the opponents.  Gena Parkhurst volunteered.

Courtney referred to a dozen or two cases of raw milk related illnesses – this contradicts her multiple statements made at the Rapid City April 15 meeting where she said, more than once, that there were no cases of raw milk related illnesses, and rules were being changed in the spirit of Gov Daugaard’s Red Tape Review.  I called her on June 7th and asked about this, and she said there were reported at a state level, not to the CDC.  I asked her for the documentation and she said it would be part of the record and available to us soon.

Courtney said that 39-6-9 does give SDDA authority to promulgate rules for raw milk because the dairies that produce raw milk have grade A licenses.  Courtney went over her 10 minutes and asked for 1 extra minute if an extra minute was granted to the other side.  Ms. Brady granted this request.

Dustin Oedekoven DVM State Veterinarian briefly stated his perceived need for 12:81:03:06 (new TB and brucellosis testing requirements).

Then it was time for 14 opponents to testify.

After the testimony, hearing officer Ms. Brady offered 5 minutes of rebuttal time to both sides.  Courtney declined.  Gena accepted.  During her 5 minutes, Gena addressed the following:

1.  For the record, submitted part of Dawn Habeck’s testimony in writing

2.  For the record, submitted Travis Lasseter’s emails re: legality of herdshares

3.  Requested that all written comments submitted be added to the record, with a count of proponents and opponents

4.  Requested the impact statement on small business – Ms. Brady said no such document was submitted

5.  Commented on Courtney’s statement that SD’s proposed rules would put the state in a position of being average among other states with raw milk rules…Gena said that MI, ND, and Maine had recently adopted legislation that called for little to no regulation of herdshares

6.  Commented on Courtney’s statement that 39-6-9 applied to raw milk because raw milk dairies had grade A permits – Gena noted that not all of the raw milk dairies have a grade A permit – one has a manufacturing grade permit and thus did not fall under 39-6-9 (afterwards Gena asked Darwin about this and he said you are right, so 40-32-18 applies)

7.  Gena commented that TB and brucellosis testing are unnecessary because SD has been an accredited TB/bruc state for quite a few years, and also mentioned that meat cattle and pasteurized dairy herds are not tested for TB/bruc, and that laws exist to test animals before they enter SD

SDCL 1-26-4  8) The agency shall serve the minutes of the hearing (Courtney says this refers to Interim Rules Review hearing, NOT yesterday’s comment hearing) – turn over written record on the day of the hearing), a complete record of written comments, the impact statement on small business, the fiscal note, the information required in § 1-26-4.8, and a corrected copy of the rules on the members of the Interim Rules Review Committee at least five days before the agency appears before the committee to present the rules.

Note:  Secretary of Ag Lucas Lentsch did not attend the hearing – he greeted attendees before the hearing started, and left before any testimony was given, supposedly because he wanted to remain neutral!  The reason we drove all the way to Pierre to speak at the hearing was for him and his department to hear us speak.

After the hearing we asked Courtney and Darwin questions.  First of all they said the comment period was extended 10 more days to June 17th.  Comments can be submitted by letter via postal mail or email at agmail@state.sd.us

Courtney said to tell people that if they have already written a letter to you, please indicate that they have, so they can keep that person’s comments together and this will make it easier for the Ag Sec to go through the comments- this is a continuation of my testimony, or this is further comment, in addition to my earlier letter.

Sec. Lentsch will review all written and oral comments by June 24th or so.  At that time, Courtney will know if the rules will be thrown out, modified, or taken to the next step as-is (next step is Interim Rules Review Committee hearing).

The Interim Rules Review Committee meets on July 9th.  SDDA only needs to give 5 days notice.

Transcript available from Carla Bachand, Capitol Reporting Services, PO Box 903, Pierre SD 57501 605-224-7611 – can order and pay for a copy from her and receive within a few days after she is done typing them up (she needs 4 days to type them), or can wait and write a letter to Courtney requesting the public records which will contain the transcript – takes 2 to 3 weeks and costs 10 cents per page.

Yesterday’s hearing was NOT recorded or broadcast.  The next one would be.


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