A Dairy Farmer's Right to Sell Raw Milk

Kolczynski fights the laws regarding selling raw milk.

| March/April 1977


John Kolczynski poses with Gina, one of 14 Jerseys and Guernseys in his herd. John owns a small dairy farm where he fought for the right to sell natural milk to consumers directly.


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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