- FISA Court Colludes with NSA to Allow Unconstitutional SurveillancePosted 4 years ago
- Ron Paul says U.S. Gov’t Considers its Citizens to be the EnemyPosted 4 years ago
- U.S. Officials don’t know how much Secret Material Snowden TookPosted 4 years ago
- Nancy Pelosi: We Should Give up Liberty for Security, Snowden a Criminal – Booed by AudiencePosted 4 years ago
- US Officials Leave 700 Troops in Jordan, Patriot Missiles and Fighter Jets – Escalation of Syrian WarPosted 4 years ago
- If Obama Wants No More Snowdens, He Should Stop Spying and Assassinating, Says WikiLeaksPosted 4 years ago
- EFF Sues NSA, DOJ Over Secret Surveillance ProgramPosted 4 years ago
- Yahoo Was Reportedly Forced to Join PRISM By a Secret CourtPosted 4 years ago
- the Organic Review: Final Verdict for Raw Milk Farmer – $1,000 Fine & No Jail TimePosted 4 years ago
- US Deepens Fight in Syria; Many Skeptical of Chemical Weapons, Ron Paul says Same Rhetoric as IraqPosted 4 years ago
the Organic Review: Put on Trial for Raw Milk; Activist Gives Details
by Ali Papademetriou
Just a little over 3 years ago this week, on June 2, 2010, Amish Dairy Farmer Vernon Hershberger of Wisconsin was startled to discover agents from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) as well as county Sanitarians standing in his private store, seeking entry into his farm for inspection. Interestingly though, Hershberger had never applied for a license to publically sell his products and only sold to his “private buying club”, which is something he proclaimed to the officials after they threatened to obtain a warrant.
Shortly following the dispute, the Field Service Director from the DATCP arrived with a handful of Sherriff’s deputies and a warrant. After inspecting essentially every inch of Vernon’s facility, taking samples of all of his food, and sealing shut his food supplies, officials discovered his raw milk, demanded that the milk be disposed of, and even contaminated it with blue dye to ensure that not even the Hershberger family could use it.
From May 20, 2013 until May 24, 2013 Vernon Hershberger’s court trial took place at the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo, Wisconsin. After discovering about Mr. Hershberger’s incident, many food sovereignty advocates paid close attention and were committed to following his trial. SLN had the opportunity to speak with one dedicated activist: Derrick J. Freeman of Peace News Now.
Derrick traveled to Wisconsin to not only see for himself what this raw milk trial was all about but also to have the chance to sit in on the hearings and get up close and personal with what was actually being said and what was actually happening within the courtroom. “I went to Wisconsin to cover the trial of Amish Dairy Farmer Vernon Hershberger because I heard that armed agents of the state had raided his personal kitchen and stolen food that he produced himself, leaving his wife and 10 children with just a few days’ supply of food,” explained Derrick.
He went on to detail, “Such immoral actions cannot go unchecked. Silence is compliance, and so I went to Wisconsin to generate media and help raise awareness for this issue. If the government can barge into Vernon’s home and cage him for engaging in natural, healthy, human behavior, then what’s next? Anyone who cares about the future of their food supply would do anything they can to help this honorable man who stood on principle against the State like David and Goliath. Vernon did the hard work. I just played my part to tell his story.”
Freeman consistently updated readers on details from the courthouse including the jury being repeatedly ordered to leave the courtroom as well as the defense questioning, “Judge, if I call Vernon to the stand, you’re going to prevent him from providing a complete description?” With the Judge responding, “We’ll see.”
On May 24, 2013, Derrick posted on PNN that the jury had not yet returned a verdict on any of the four criminal counts that Hershberger was facing, which included “distributing milk from his “Grazin’ Acres” dairy farm without a milk producer’s license, operating a retail food establishment without a state license, operating a dairy plant without a state license, and violating a “hold order” placed on his dairy products after the state raided his farm.”
Then finally at 1:00 A.M. on Saturday May 25, 2013, final verdicts were reached. Derrick and others were thrilled to discover that Vernon Hershberger was found not guilty for three of the four counts that he was being charged with. The count that he is being charged with though could serve to hold the greatest potential punishment: Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.00 for the holding order violation.