In 2018, the legislature requested that a Joint Task Force be assembled on milk rules and regulations in WV. The Task Force was made in response to concerns of the current declining dairy industry in WV. The Task Force collected data and pertinent information from dairy farmers, industry representative, and regulators from West Virginia, other states, and the FDA. Following the review of the information, the Joint Task Force concluded that potential benefits and economies of scale would best be realized by transferring the authority to promulgate milk rules and regulations from the WV Department of Health and Human Services to the WV Department of Agriculture under House Bill 4179.
On January 1, 2020, the WVDA was given the authority to regulate milk and milk products in West Virginia to ensure that milk products produced, manufactured or sold in West Virginia are safe while fostering the stability and growth of the dairy industry in West Virginia.
Dairy foods are among the safest and most tested foods in the U.S and to ensure this: WVDA will be overseeing the on farms inspections, milk plant inspections, milk sampling for the dairy farms, milk sampling for the milk plants, sampling of the jugs, lids and seals and sampling of the finished pasteurized products that are in the store.
Roughly ten years, ago, WV housed 106 Grade A Dairy Farms.
Currently, West Virginia is home to 44 Grade A dairy farms, 1 Grade A milk processor – United Dairy Inc. Charleston, WV 54-40 and 1 Goat Creamery- Shepherd’s Whey Creamery in Martinsburg WV.
Dairy farms are rapidly declining throughout the country.
The WVDA’s goal is to minimize the future loss of the farms in WV and educate consumers on the importance of dairy in their diets.
Did you know?
West Virginia’s 44 dairy farms produce about 12.9 million gallons of milk annually.
The total economic impact of dairy products produced and sold in West Virginia is 1.5 billion dollars which generates 9,800 jobs for West Virginians.
What changes are coming in the future?
In the 2020 WV Legislative Session
- -WVDA plans to adopt a new version (2017) of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) for Grade A Milk. This will be similar to the older version that WV had been following but will assist WV in meeting federal standards.
- -The Dairy Industry will conduct all dairy farm inspections, bulk milk tanker inspections, and water sample collections.
- -All enforcement and actions will be conducted through the WVDA.
Should you have any questions about the New Grade A Dairy Program, please contact the WVDA Dairy Program Manager, Rachel Shockey at email@example.com