Until last week, Kansas raw milk farmers were permitted to produce raw milk and sell it directly from the farm but were prohibited from advertising it off-premises. According to the Raw Milk Advertising Ban, raw milk farmers were limited in advertising their product to the “erection of a sign upon the premises of the dairy farm.” In other words, customers had to know about the dairy farm to find out about the dairy farm.
On November 6, 2019, the Shawnee County District Court ruled that “the Raw Milk Advertising Ban is unconstitutional.” In its Judgment, the court also permanently enjoined, or prohibited, the Kansas Department of Agriculture from enforcing the unconstitutional ban.
The case involved raw goat milk and cheese producers Mark and Coraleen Bunner, near Pfeifer, Kansas. Their dairy was isolated, and the advertising ban hit the farm hard. The farm was represented by the Kansas Justice Institute, specifically attorney Sam MacRoberts.
MacRoberts explains the importance of the decision: “This case isn’t just about raw milk. It’s about free speech. It’s about aggressively defending the right to talk. The government doesn’t get to tell us what we can or can’t say. I’m proud of the Bunners for standing up and fighting against censorship. Kansas is better off because of them.”
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is thrilled with this decision and is certain that it will benefit its raw milk producers in Kansas seeking to expand their raw milk on-farm sales. Our members’ First Amendment rights to advertise a lawful product has finally been acknowledged and farmers may now advertise their production and on-farm sales of raw milk.
To read more about this decision, please read Judge Declares Unconstitutional Kansas’ Limits on Raw Milk Ads
YOUR FUND AT WORK
Services provided by FTCLDF go beyond legal representation for members in court cases.
Educational and policy work also provide an avenue for FTCLDF to build grassroots activism to create the most favorable regulatory climate possible. In addition to advising on bill language, FTCLDF supports favorable legislation via action alerts and social media outreach.