Raw milk business thrives despite more red tape

By Laurel Stowell -
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This time last year Edo and Anita Mooij thought new regulations would close their business - but it has survived and thrived despite new expense and some painful decisions.

Nearly three years ago they bought 18ha of land in the Okoia Valley near Whanganui, with the aim of keeping cows and selling unpasteurised milk direct to the public. There were no regulations around it then.

But on March 1 last year the Ministry for Primary Industries brought in stringent new rules to make sure the milk was safe for all users. Two other raw milk businesses in the region had to close - Chananel Farm near Marybank and Rudolf and Carlie van Dijk of Village Milk near Marton.

Supplying some of their customers has helped the Mooijs' business. But they are also paying off the $15,000 of new equipment they needed to comply with the regulations, and they had to replace some favourite cows.

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They now have 24 cows and farm as organically as they can. They sell about 1000 litres of milk a week, through the vending machine attached to their milking shed in No 3 Line.

At $2 a litre the family can make a living without working off the farm. It's a happy ending for them.

"We like supplying people with a good natural product that they can trust," Mr Mooij said.

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