A Dairy Farmer's Right to Sell Raw Milk

Kolczynski fights the laws regarding selling raw milk.

| March/April 1977

There's an old American proverb (you probably first heard it in grade school) that says: "You can't fight city hall." According to this dictum, you shouldn't try even try to confront the Powers That Be ... because "you can't win."

"I guess I never learned that proverb," says John A. Kolezynski of Long Valley, New Jersey," Beacuse when the creameries — and the Department of Health — in my state conspired to me out of the dairy bussiness, I was 'dumb' enough to fight back. And when I did, I found out something interesting about the American system of justice: It still works. Sometimes."

On April 15, 1974, I received a summons to appear in court. I was being sued by the state of New Jersey.

Specifically, I was charged with violating a state law which read: "No person shall sell or distribute to the ultimate consumer any milk, cream, or other unpasteurized dairy product that is not certified." On May 10, 1974 (the summons said) I was to appear before his honor, Judge Robert H. Muir, Jr., at the Morris County Superior Court, to receive a "cease and desist" order.

To Begin at the Beginning

I'm a dairy farmer. (Have been since 1947.) And I enjoy what I do ... but I've never harbored any desire to become a giant in the world of agribusiness. I've never wanted to become a "big-time" dairy farmer ... although when I was younger, that was what I thought I had to do to keep my business profitable.

Back in the fifties, my wife and I expanded our operation from 13 to 50-some-odd cows (and mortgaged the better part of our lives to buy 123 acres of land). At our peak, we managed a herd that produced a ton of milk per day.

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