Changes to raw milk law causes issue for some farmers
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Robert Ragels tends to more than 100 goats on his farm in New Braunfels, and he knows them each by name.

The retired veteran first found solace in tending to a couple goats. His hobby turned into a full-fledged dairy.

With 95 milking goats, Ragels makes cheese, but also has a clientele for milk in its rawest form. Tim Webber visits the New Braunfels farm for raw milk every two months.

“I consider it a superfood. I definitely feel the health benefits from it,” said Webber.

Raw milk isn’t pasteurized, so it is under stricter state regulation.

“It should be readily available for everybody to have access to with no difficulty,” said Webber.

Until now, Ragels could only sell his raw goat milk straight from his farm in face-to-face transactions.

But lawmakers voted to change the rules in what they considered to be an attempt to make raw milk more accessible to consumers.

The new law allows for the transportation of raw milk, which was previously banned. This may sound simple enough, but there’s a caveat — payment.

“They made it very difficult to do raw milk sales because everything has to be preordered and pre-paid for before it can leave the farm,” said Ragels.

That complicates the backend process for farmers, Ragels says.

There’s also another change regarding fewer quality assurance checks.

“So, now, I get tested by the state 60% less,” said Ragels.

Ragels says he trusts his product, but appreciated the stamp of approval by the state on these goats and their milk for the sake of his customers.

Nominations are open for Fonterra’s board election but a repeat of the drama that rocked the vote three years ago can be ruled out.

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