The process of selling raw milk is legal in all 50 states of the United States. The process of making this milk available to the public differs, however, and various jurisdictions have dictated the way consumers can get their raw milk fix. From retail sales to farm purchases to cow-sharing methods, there are a few ways in which you can scratch that raw milk itch.
States Where Raw Milk is Legal in Retail Outlets
An array of states allows for unfettered access to raw milk stores in any retail store within the state. The least restrictive of rules to obtain raw milk, you can readily find raw milk in the refrigerators of retail stores in the following states: California, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. Raw milk can also be sold in retail establishments with some regulations in Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon.
In some of these thirteen states, there are some clarifications. In Utah and Oregon, state legislators have mandated that the retail outlet selling the raw milk must also be the owner of the farm that produced the milk. New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Idaho all require farmers to have a selling permit.
States Where Raw Milk is Legal on Producing Farms
A total of 29 states allow for the sale of raw milk, but their focus is not on the retail level but rather focuses on purchases closer to the source of the milk: farms. Twelve of those states—California, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, Arizona, and Connecticut—allow farm sales of raw milk with no license. The rest require a license to sell on the farm.
As such, obtaining your supply of raw milk will require loading up the family in the car and taking a trip to the nearest producing farm. Mitigating this necessity, four other states not only allow on-farm shopping but also have given the legal nod to the delivery of raw milk directly from the farm producing the milk to the consumer buying the raw milk. These states include Missouri, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. A further three states; Kentucky, Mississippi, and Rhode Island allow on-farm purchasing of raw goat milk, but not cow milk.
States Where Raw Milk is Legal Through Cow-Sharing Programs
A winning proposition for many raw milk adherents is entering into a cow share, or herd share that offers a chance to gain access to the availability of raw milk in those that offer the option. Under a cow share system, consumers buy a share in the animal’s care and upkeep which affords the consumer an interest in the cow’s production.
There are only nine states that make cow-sharing programs illegal. Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Massachusetts do not allow their residents to enter into cow-sharing programs. Twenty-three states have no explicit law on herd shares. The remaining states all allow for cow-sharing as a way to get raw milk when you want it.