Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Durst: Drink Your Milk, Idaho

Posted on Tue, Feb 12, 2008 at 4:00 AM

What goes nicely with potatoes? Why, milk, of course.

At least, that's what first-term Rep. Branden Durst, a Boise Democrat thinks. Although he had no telltale white mustache when he said so, Durst thinks Idaho ought to have a state drink, and it ought to be loaded with calcium.

Durst has sponsored House Bill 485, which would make cow juice the state beverage of Idaho.

"I think it's important as a state that we provide some direction toward good diets," Durst told BW.

Milk, he said, can help students avoid what he calls "a real epidemic of obesity."

Not to mention, he said, Idaho's dairy industry "has just become gigantic."

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that Idaho has about 488,000 head of dairy cattle, pumping out enough milk to rank Idaho 6th nationally for milk production.

All of which is anathema for those who disdain the white beverage in favor of something—anything—other than cow fluids.

"In the same way we've solidified potatoes as our state vegetable, the same thing could be said about milk," Durst said.

The USDA says Durst's home county, Ada, has about 19,000 milk cows, none of whom are registered to vote.

The bill is headed for—surprise—the House Agricultural Affairs Committee.

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