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Published March 19, 2008 at 5:08 a.m.

Vermont House bill H.616 aims to allow farmers to sell unlimited quantities of carefully regulated raw milk. But despite a huge number of sponsors, the bill as written will have to wait until next year to reach a full vote.

Unable to resolve a concern about who would regulate the milk's safety, members of the House Agriculture Committee "voted a very limited version out of committee," explains Rural Vermont Director Amy Shollenberger, who helped shepherd the bill. If this severely pared-down version passes, it will increase the number of raw quarts a farmer can sell daily from 25 to 50.

The ag committee also requested that the Agency of Agriculture lift a ban on advertising the sale of raw milk. The agency complied.

"We would have been thrilled if the bill had passed the way we proposed it," Shollenberger reflects. But, she says, "It's clear that the House Agriculture Committee is interested in gathering more information and coming back to the bill next year."

* In other dairy news, Anthony Pollina kicked off his gubernatorial campaign this week and resigned from his post running Hardwick's Vermont Milk Company. Looks like he'll be milking his time on the campaign trail for all it's worth.

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