North Dakota's New Raw Milk Law
Starting August 1, 2023, dairy producers in our state will be able to sell raw milk directly to consumers without government oversight or regulation.
The new law has the following provisions:
Sales must take place directly between the dairy producer and the end consumer for personal consumption.
Sales can only take place within the boundaries of the State of North Dakota. (This prevents us from violating interstate commerce laws. Someone from another state may travel to ND and purchase the milk here, but a producer may not take milk across the border.)
NO retail or wholesale sales of raw milk are allowed. (Those are reserved for licensed, permitted Grade A and Grade B dairies in a separate section of law and highly regulated.)
Raw milk may not be donated to community events, potlucks, or other places where all of the consumers may not fully understand what they are drinking. (This is not intended to prevent you from sharing milk with a neighbor who has full knowledge.)
The law also specifically exempts producers from regulation under these chapters of Century Code:
Any other provisions of Title 4.1-25 (Dairy Product Regulation - Ag Department)
Title 4.1-05 – Dairy Promotion Checkoff
Title 4.1-25 – Dairy Product Regulation (Ag Department)
Title 4.1-26 – Milk Marketing Board
Title 19 – Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (Health Department)
Title 23.9 – Food and Lodging (Health Department)
Title 64 – Weights and Measures (Public Service Commission)
This is a "willing seller, willing buyer" law, with BOTH parties responsible for providing and maintaining a good quality product. Producers need to educate themselves on best practices for providing this nutrient-dense, farm-fresh food. Consumers need to ask questions so they understand what they are purchasing.
All producers and consumers of raw milk owe a big debt to our supporters in the State Legislature,
especially the Conference Committee members who agreed to the final exemptions.
Conference committee members were: Representatives Fisher, Henderson, and Finley-DeVille and Senators Lemm, Weston, and Luick.
You can find contact information for all legislators here.
House Vote - Final Version
Senate Vote - Final Version
Final version of the new law as passed.
This law is exactly what Food Freedom advocates have worked for.
In 2013, we passed the best "share" law in the nation, with no government oversight or restrictions. That has worked well in our state. Share laws are basically "sales with paperwork."
In 2017, Representative Luke Simons proposed his sweeping Food Freedom law, which included raw milk plus cottage foods. While the cottage food law was passed without raw milk, the new law allowing producers to sell directly to consumers without government regulation set a precedent and survived a strong debate in the 2019 legislative session plus a court challenge.
While share programs work, they can be cumbersome, particularly for the producer who only has extra milk for a few months of the year. Legislators listened to their constituents and voted accordingly.
ND Food Freedom, in conjunction with other groups, is planning a series of dairy producer get-togethers for this summer to discuss the new law, milk handling, dealing with customers, etc. If you would like notice of these programs, please contact LeAnn Harner at 701-516-0707.