Is it a crime to farm without a license?

Here’s an excerpt of a story by Doreen Hannes on News with Views.com

“Throughout this nation it is becoming commonplace for state and federal governments to raid food buying clubsprivate food co-opsfamily farms and even micro farms. The reason these raids are taking place is that the FDA has determined that we are not smart enough to decide what we want to eat. They are making sure that we have a hard time getting food that is actually good for us and fulfilling their public health mission.

This is the first in a three article series profiling two cases in the state of Missouri to illustrate what will be terrifically commonplace once Senate Bill 510, (The Food Safety Modernization Act-third article) is in place.

In Missouri we have families, and a food freedom movement, that are being persecuted, and I use that term intentionally, with accusation aforethought. The first family I am going to profile is the Bechard’s of Conway, Missouri. They are facing prosecution by Attorney General Koster for violating the following State statute and were also taken to court -and convicted- by Green County Health Department for “operating a food establishment without a permit”. Basically, they are being taken to court for trying to make a living from their lawful product. Their crime? Providing people with fresh milk that tested out to be perfectly fine and had no complaints or reports of illness associated with it at all.

The Bechard’s have a small farm, where they raise sheep, poultry and cattle and sell their products directly to consumers. They milk six cows and are not a “graded” facility. They deliver milk to their customers at a pre-arranged pick up point in the parking lot of Mama Jeans Natural Foods in Springfield, Missouri. In April of 2009, their eldest daughters were delivering the milk and were approached by someone wanting to buy a half-gallon of milk. Since they had it, they sold it to the man. Two weeks later, the same thing occurred. These two on the spot sales were to employees of the Green County Health Department.

The Health Department tested the milk. What they found was that there was no problem with the milk at all. The first half-gallon was kept overnight possibly on a kitchen counter and did have a high somatic cell count. The second batch was taken to the lab within an hour and had a very low somatic cell count attesting to the Bechard’s cleanliness. These two sales landed the Bechard’s in court.

Let’s look at the state charge first. Here is the pertinent Missouri law on milk:….”

Read it all here.

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