NEW BRUNSWICK — Michael Schmidt ran a successful dairy farm in Germany, where raw milk is allowed, but he was looking for a challenge, so he moved to Canada.
“My farm in Germany was perfect. It was built to feed Napoleon’s army. I had perfect cows. But I can’t live in eternal beauty.”
He found the challenge he was looking for, Schmidt told a packed lecture hall at Princeton University as the closing speaker at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey annual Winter Conference.
He farmed 600 acres initially, but the cost of fighting Canada’s law against selling raw milk caused him to lose all but 50 acres and all of his machinery.
He went from 100 cows to three.
Schmidt spent 12 years rebuilding his farm only to have it surrounded by police and to have his milk dumped.
Schmidt is still fighting to prove raw milk is safe.
“For 17 years, I always kept my optimism,” he said. “I wrote to the premier, health officials to ask how to provide a safe supply of raw milk. I heard silence.”
In his crusade to talk to the premier, Schmidt went on a hunger strike. By the fourth week of the strike, the premier’s office was receiving 300 calls a day plus letters.
Finally, he got an audience with the premier who allowed him to speak to Parliament and the party caucuses….”