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Defiant Milk Man Goes to Trial

 

Unknown-1Will the jury uphold our right to consume raw milk and other real farm foods?

The milk Gestapo is at it again, this time in Wisconsin. Vernon Hershberger, an Amish farmer, has been providing people in the cheese state with fresh, raw, unadulterated milk. One would think with a nickname like “the Cheese State” raw milk wouldn’t be such a big deal… but it is. You see, if you’re a farmer and choose not to process – by that I mean pasteurize and kill all of the life-giving enzymes and beneficial bacteria – your milk, the chances you’ll get a surprise visit from the food police are high.

And that is exactly what happened to Hershberger. He chose to buck the system that outlaws the sale of raw milk in his state and start a cow-share program. Rather than “sell” his milk to the public, members of his private buying club agreed to purchase part-ownership of a cow, paying Hershberger to board, care for and milk it for them, as there is no law in any state against consuming raw milk from one’s own cow.

It was a mutually beneficial arrangement for the farmer and consumer, not for the state of Wisconsin or the greedy processors, who couldn’t get a cut of Hershberger’s action. So, they raided him, locked up his products and charged him with four crimes.

What’s his crime?

“As proceedings draw closer, we will no doubt hear much from the local media that this is a case about food and dairy licensing, and Hershberger’s refusal to obtain essential licenses. Hershberger is accused of four criminal misdemeanors–failing to have a retail food establishment license, operating a dairy farm as a milk producer without a license, and operating a dairy plant without a license (though Wisconsin issues no licenses for raw milk producers). The fourth accusation is that Hershberger violated a holding order from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection in June 2010, when he cut the agency tape shuttering his farm store, and resumed serving his food club member,” wrote David Gumpert who broke Hershberger’s story on his website images-1TheCompletePatient.com. In a recent interview with Gumpert on Food Riot Radio, we discussed exactly what’s at stake in the Hershberger trial. This case is not about whether Hershberger had the proper licenses or permits; it’s about private contractual agreements and whether we, as Americans, have a right to engage in them, without interference from Big Brother.

Hershberger’s trial is pivotal in the battle for food freedom. If Vernon wins, and his contractual rights are restored, it will set a precedent for farmers facing similar plights around the country and may cause enforcers of arbitrary laws to back off. If he loses, we may see an unprecedented reign of terror from local and federal regulators, amped up on the judge’s confirmation of their authority. But why are these government officials so hell bent on taking out small, peaceful farmers?

Because these farmers pose a threat to the mega-food processors, that’s why. Big Dairy processors want good little slave-like farmers, who will feed their cows Monsanto’s genetically modified grain and growth hormones, so they have a cheap “raw” product to process, mark up and profit from. And Big Food processors are worried, because, as Gumpert pointed out, once customers have to go all the way to the farm to get their milk, they start getting the rest of their food there too.

That’s why these goons aim to limit our access to raw milk. It’s the “gateway” food to other unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods, like pastured meats, poultry and eggs, as well as some lightly processed, homemade products like chicken pot-pie and sprouted breads. The processors prefer us to be dependent on their prepackaged, genetically modified, sterile foods.

Government works on behalf of big corporations by taking away our right to choose. It’s called fascism or corporatism.

Food-freedom fighters

So, if Vernon loses and we can’t engage in mutually beneficial contracts with our farmers, can we really call this the land of the free and the home of the brave?

imagesThe land of the free may have been lost long ago, but I do think there are plenty of brave people left, like Vernon Hershberger, who, instead of submitting to a holding order by the State of Wisconsin, ripped down the red tape and sold his product to willing and waiting customers. The same can be said of Rawesome Foods owner James Stewart for selling raw milk illegally and then breaking bail, or Mark McAfee for suing the FDA over its ban on the interstate sale of raw milk, or Mark Baker for challenging the Big Pork industry. These are true patriots that need to be admired for their courage in the face of tyranny. Its brave

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men like this who weak men – the ones who hide behind their expensive suits and executive boards – are so afraid of.

Big Food thinks we’re just going to roll over and accept their boxed treats. Well I got bad news for you Jack – it’s not going to happen. It may be a slow awakening but it’s happening. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. They want real foods. They want to live, and they’ll drive all the way to the farm to make sure this happens.

The more people run to the farm for local, healthy foods, the more processors are running scared to government regulators, begging them to eliminate their competition, in the guise of safety, of course. Yes, the old safety card, one of the oldest tricks in the book. Companies have been using it for decades to consolidate their industries into one-size-fits-all markets – in this case – grocery stores.

Well, we don’t have to be slaves to their system, not yet anyway. We can still support Hershberger, and farmers like him, with our dollars, and stand with him by the hundreds, if not thousands, at his upcoming trial.

The trial

We can’t rely on the justice system to bring Hershberger justice. The judges seem to tow the public “safety” line too, espousing the same rhetoric their corporate masters speak. They don’t side with the Constitution, or with what’s right. They don’t want to admit legislatures and regulators got it wrong with raw milk. So they stand their ground.

The system may seem insurmountable for a small farmer like Hershberger, but here he is, in the spotlight, with deck stacked against him. He’ll be outspent, out-lawyered, but he might not be out of luck.

Because his case will be decided by a jury, not a judge, he still has hope. If the men and women summoned to the courthouse can find their consciences, they can images-4set Hershberger free, by using a strategy called jury nullification. It’s a strategy they’ve been told not to use, in which jurors judge a case not based on whether Hershberger broke the law, but on whether the law was just or “lawful” to begin with in light of the Constitution.

Even though they’ve been ordered not to use the strategy, they could nullify the order not to nullify and just find him not guilty of the breaking the “laws” he obviously broke.

The jurors too could be heroes. They need to do what judges are too afraid to do and stand for freedom. Because if we don’t have the freedom to choose healthy food, we don’t have any freedom at all. May God be with those jurors on May 20th, and may luck blow Hershberger’s way.

 

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4 comments
CarlCollicott
CarlCollicott

Wisconsin is a foreign country?

The assault on Americans and their right can be attributed to a unfamiliar policy referred to as the Federal Conformity Clause. In essence, the system is designed to facilitate defacto government encroachment in the several states.

Case in point, Congress created the Food for Peace program, (7 U.S.C. 1691 et seq),an international agreement, administered through the Department of Interior,(Agriculture) (Commodity Credit Corporation), hats are changed, according to the background.

One of the pertinent provisions of the Act, is that it's not be exercised in the several states. With that as a background, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer authority, amended per Public Law 111-8 reproducedbelow, is limited to the Food for Peace Act.

“jurisdiction once challenged cannot be presumed” numerous court decisions.

TITLE 7 - AGRICULTURE

CHAPTER 41 - FOOD FOR PEACE SUBCHAPTER II - ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE AND FOOD SECURITY

§ 1701. Economic assistance and food security

(a) In general

The President shall establish a program under this subchapter to provide for the sale of agricultural

commodities to developing countries and private entities for dollars on credit terms, or for local

currencies (including for local currencies on credit terms) for use under this subchapter. Such program

shall be implemented by the Secretary.

(b) General authority

To carry out the policies and accomplish the objectives described in section 1691 of this title, the

Secretary may negotiate and execute agreements with developing countries and private entities to

finance the sale and exportation of agricultural commodities to such countries and entities.

2009 Amendments

OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2009

[[Page 123 STAT. 524]]

Public Law 111-8

111th Congress

Sec. 718. None of the funds made available in fiscal year 2009 or

preceding fiscal years for programs authorized under the Food for Peace

Act (7 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.) in excess of $20,000,000 shall be used to

reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation for the release of eligible

commodities under section 302(f)(2)(A) of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian

Trust Act (7 U.S.C. 1736f-1): Provided, That any such funds made

available to reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation shall only be

used pursuant to section 302(b)(2)(B)(i) of the Bill Emerson

Humanitarian Trust Act.

Sec. 732. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, there is

hereby appropriated:

(1) $1,877,000 of which $1,408,000 shall be for a grant to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and $469,000 shall be for a grant to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Foods, and Markets, as authorized by section 6402 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note);

Marc Gauthier
Marc Gauthier

Here's an idea: If the government regulators and the court keep playing the "food safety card"to completely ban to sale of raw milk, instead of fighting that argument and hoping for a complete permission to sell raw milk without any restrictions, the defense can propose that reasonable allowable disease standards be established. Such standards acknowledge the possibility of the presence of disease-causing elements in the producing and processing of various foodstuffs, and establish minimal guidelines to be complied to. These standards are already in use in many other segments of the food industry, so why not in this case? It could then be suggested that the looseness or strictness of those standards be determined in response to the OBSERVED health treats of raw milk, just like Homeland Security adjusting it's safety measures according to the level of treats received. An example of such health-related standards, although not from the food industry, is the EPA recreational water cleanliness standards, which allow 19 illnesses per 1,000 saltwater swimmers, and 8 illnesses per 1,000 freshwater swimmers. Complying with those standards can still be a pain but possibly better than not being allowed at all the produce and sell raw milk products.

DRK
DRK

@Marc Gauthier I will establish my own minimal guidelines. What the gestapo doesn't know doesn't hurt you, or anyone else.

organicmom
organicmom

I will keep Mr. Hershberger in my prayers that right will win and he will be allowed to provide healthy food for those that bought shares.  I thank God that I was able to find a farmer in my area that offers cow shares for raw milk.  My husband's asthma has improved because of it, as well as his eczema and allergies.  My 2 year old son is very healthy and refuses to drink commercial milk (he gags if he has any!)  I know many people in Michigan that are cheering for you!!!