“The video below seems almost mundane in its discussion about dairy rules and regulations. But it’s what is not said that is most important here.
Ostensibly, Jackie Owens was at the farm last Thursday to carry out an inspection. Part of her regulatory duty, since her Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is responsible for overseeing farms of all sorts, as she politely explained. And just as politely, the farm’s owner, Verson Hershberger, declined her request for the inspection.
But Vernon Hershberger’s farm not just any ordinary farm. His farm’s milk and other produce are available only to the 100-plus members of his food club.
In addition, Hershberger is facing three misdemeanor charges that accuse him of operating his farm without a dairy permit and of operating a retail store without a retailer permit. He is free on bail, and the terms of his bail prohibit “manufacturing or processing of dairy products for distribution without a valid dairy plant license” and “sale or distribution of milk produced on his dairy farm without a valid milk producer license.”
Just to try to ensure there is no escape,and that the farm can’t truly operate as a farm, the bail terms mandate, “The defendant may not allow anyone else to operate his farm, or any room or building on his property in violation of any of these conditions.”
Hershberger in an emotional courtroom statement two weeks ago renounced the bail agreement. “Your honor, I have spent many sleepless hours since signing the bond due to my conscience being plagued by the thought of shutting up my bowels of compassion to my Brethren who are dependent on the food that is provided by and for them on our farm. To most of them it is not merely a matter of preference but much more a matter of life or death! If the owners of the food cannot eat their own food, aren’t we living in a communist state? If our farm stopped feeding is owners families, there will be literally hundreds of children who will suffer malnutrition and even starvation. Your honor, I would much rather spend the rest of my life behind bars or even die than to be found guilty of such a gross sin before the Almighty God.”…