HENRY COUNTY, Ky. – What do you mean, exactly, when you say the word ‘milk?’ Is it the dairy drink from cows, or the stuff in that soy latte? That’s up for debate now, since a bill has been filed in the Kentucky legislature on the topic. Senate Bill 81 would have the word ‘milk’ mean only the stuff that comes from hooved animals, like cows.
Dairy Farmer Terry Rowlett wants the bill to become law. He grows cows on his farm in Henry County, raises them to produce milk to be bottled and marketed. ‘Milk’ to him, means only that liquid like that he’s getting from his animals; to Rowlett, it’s not the liquid produced from almonds or soybeans or oats.
“I have yet to figure out how you will milk an almond or milk a soy…bean,” says Rowlett. “Milk is kind of a term that we feel should only be used for what it is, milked from an animal.”
The bill that’s been filed is done so by a farmer, but sponsor Sen. Matt Castlen (R- Owensboro) says he’s not really pushing for it to pass, or move forward in any committee really at least until he gets the wording straightened out as it applies to ‘milks’ like almond or soy.
Castlen tells Spectrum News 1 he mostly just wants to raise awareness for the dairy industry in Kentucky, which he says is declining; Castlen claims there’s been a 66% decrease in dairies in the Bluegrass since 2005. He wants consumers to be aware of that, and pay attention to what’s in the beverages they’re drinking.
After all, almonds and oats and soybeans are agriculture, too, he notes, saying “our agriculture is what makes us the strongest country in the world.”
Rowlett is interested in clearing up what he considers to be confusion, if the bill were to pass.
“As far as helping, I don’t- monetarily- I don’t know. But it will give he dairy farmer a little piece of mind from the standpoint of saying ‘what I produce and market is the most wholesome and nutritious product that there is,'” he claims.