One Small Win for Raw Milk

Kelsey Gee
The Wall Street Journal

Raw-milk proponents celebrated a Wisconsin farmer’s acquittal on three of four counts related to selling unpasteurized milk and cheese, bolstering their hopes of legalizing the products in America’s Dairyland.

Jurors found Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old Loganville, Wis., farmer, innocent of producing milk without a license, selling milk and cheese products without a license, and operating a retail establishment without a license. He was found guilty of one count of breaking a holding order issued by the state in June 2010, which barred him from moving any of the food he produced without a license.

The verdict means Mr. Hershberger can continue to sell his farm’s products to members of the buying club he started, said one of his attorneys, Elizabeth Rich. He faces as long as a year in jail and $10,000 in fines for the one guilty count; a sentencing date has yet to be announced.

“This is a huge win for food rights,” said Liz Reitzig, a founder of Farm Food Freedom Coalition, a group advocating for greater consumer access to natural, unprocessed food. The case “should give small farmers renewed courage to continue to operate within their communities.”…

…The case followed a nearly four-year investigation of Mr. Hershberger and his farm, Grazin Acres LLC, by the state, the No. 2 dairy producer after California. During deliberations, which capped a five-day trial in Sauk County Circuit Court, dozens of farmers, food-rights activists and Hershberger family members filled the courthouse, sharing raw milk from Mr. Hershberger’s farm.

Some 30 states allow raw milk sales for human consumption, according to the Food and Drug Administration, although federal rules prohibit the movement of these products across state lines…


The complete article, with video, is at The Wall Street Journal.

Reason Magazine has more.


Related: Can a Farmer’s Rebellion Lift the California GOP?

Democrats were writing obituaries for California’s GOP after winning a supermajority in the state legislature last November, thus gaining veto-proof power to raise taxes. But their legislative lock may have slipped after this week’s special election in which Republican farmer Andy Vidak appears to have defeated a Democrat—in a heavily Democratic senate district—who had championed high-speed rail and a higher minimum wage…



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