House Bill 609, sponsored by Rep. Bill Pigott, who is the House Agriculture Committee Chairman, would have removed the current exemption that allows the sale of goat milk. Those who violated the law and continued to sell goat milk could have been sentenced to 60 days in jail with fines of up to $500.
HB 609 quickly and quietly cleared out of the Agriculture Committee but never made it passed the Public Health Committee, its next destination after constituent uproar. Still, the current law had a repealer on it, meaning it would have expired at the end of June without action. The exemption for goat milk was included in Senate Bill 2311, a bill that relates to Department of Health fees.
Because of that, the small freedom that government gives to goat farmers in Mississippi and those that enjoy goat milk remains on the books.
Under the current law, milk must be sold directly to the consumer on the premises of the production, you cannot have more than nine goats, and you can’t advertise your milk for sale.
Still, attempts to expand the freedom to buy and sale raw milk that are introduced regularly never see the light of day, dying – usually in one of the Agriculture Committee’s – without a discussion. Rather, the legislature should begin to trust consumers to start and grow businesses and trust consumers to make decisions for themselves and their families.