Indiana’s virtual public hearing on raw milk ends in a mater of hours. Since June 1, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been accepting public testimony on raw milk policy. The comment period ends September 1. BOAH is conducting the virtual public hearing to help it carrying out its charge to report on raw milk no later than Dec. 1 so the Indiana Legislature may consider its policy advice in 2013. Indiana is one of 20 states to ban the commercial sale of raw milk entirely. In 2012, Hoosier lawmakers in Indianapolis tested that policy before they opted to ask BOAH to study the issue. The 11-member animal health board includes six veterinarians, and it’s used to wielding power to keep Indiana farm animals healthy. It went with the virtual public hearing instead of holding a series of public hearings at specific times and places around the state over the summer. With its new collection of public comments and the other research it’s done before submitting its report to the Legislature on Dec. 1, BOAH’s report will represent the most comprehensive state study of the raw milk issue since a Wisconsin task force appointed in 2010 by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle completed its assignment. Until midnight Aug. 31, Indiana’s virtual public hearing remains open at the BOAH website. . Anyone who comments must provide his or her name and contact information for possible follow-up. BOAH wants to hear from people who are both for and against commercial sales of raw milk. There is also still time to submit written testimony via U.S. Mail to: BOAH, Attn: Raw milk comments, Discovery Hall , Suite 110, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205-2898. Created by the Legislature in 1889, BOAH’s duties now include: – Enhancing Indiana’s economy by protecting Hoosiers’ investment in animal agriculture, wildlife, horses and companion animals. – Protecting public health by preventing and controlling the spread of animal diseases, such as rabies, which pose a threat to people. – Maintaining a vital link in a safe food supply through the state meat and poultry and dairy inspection programs. – Helping and their animals who are victims of large-scale disasters such as floods and tornadoes.