From Kimberly Hartke at the Weston A Price Foundation:
But please jail the sustainable farmer who humanely raises his animals and provides the best of chemically-free, nutrient dense food…yeah, throw that criminal in jail! — picture and caption via Farm Food Freedom Coalition, on FB.
Baraboo, Wisconsin—June 3, 2013 —Less than a week after the jury acquitted him of three criminal charges, Eric Defort and Phillip Ferris, attorneys for the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), move to have the judge revoke the terms of the bond and jail Vernon Hershberger.
In January 2012 Vernon Hershberger was arraigned at the Sauk County Courthouse on four criminal misdemeanor charges for violations of the state food and dairy code; after appearing before Judge Guy Reynolds, he was released on a $500 bond with the bond containing conditions he was not to violate. Continue reading
From Rick Barrett, in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Image via Peace News Network. Click pic to go there now.
Baraboo — Dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was acquitted on three of four criminal charges early Saturday morning in a trial that’s drawn national attention from supporters of the raw, unpasteurized milk movement.
Jurors in Sauk County District Court deliberated about four hours, until nearly 1 a.m. Saturday, before returning a verdict of guilty on one charge of violating a holding order placed on products on the Hershberger farm, following a raid on the farm in the summer of 2010.
The 41-year-old farmer faces up to a year in jail and $10,000 in fines on that conviction. A sentencing date will be announced later, said Judge Guy Reynolds. Continue reading
Here’s the message Rawsome foods co-founder Aajonus Vonderplanitz sent out to people on his email list recently in connection with the Hershberger trial. Presumably, this represents his own views on the case, and the issues around it:
“Hi, healthy-food lovers,
I am in Baraboo, Wisconsin immersed in a real-life satirical trial, droning with irony. The trial is the persecution of our dedicated and brave farmer Vernon Hershberger. This jury trial is about food-safety but the judge ruled that food-safety cannot be discussed in the trial. The charges are about contaminated RAW MILK but the judge ruled that raw milk cannot be discussed in the trial.
Governments do not want a true and factual hearing on raw milk in this Hershberger-case because their raw-milk junk-science would not hold to rational jurors minds. Thankfully, we have four very good attorneys representing Vernon that are working diligently for him/us in the midst of outrageous and incoherent courtroom injustices. Of the first 2 days of trial, I estimate that the judge has illogically ruled 65% for the irrational requests of the State and 35% for rational requests of Vernon. Fair trial? Continue reading
The trial of Amish raw milk man Vernon Herschberger is unfolding this week in Baraboo Wisconsin. American food rights journalist David E. Gumpert has published many blog posts detailing the pre-courthouse skirmishes in the case, intended for the most part to avoid dealing with the larger raw milk and food rights issues at stake and focusing the case purely on the purported regulatory improprieties Herschberger is charged with. If you haven’t been following David’s “The Complete Patient” blog lately, do scroll down there to read some of the backstory. Here’s an excerpt from David’s latest report from the Baraboo courthouse:
Raw milk farmers Michael Schmidt and Vernon Herschberger, at a raw milk event in Wisconsin, from when Michael was still allowed to travel. Photo via Modern Farmer. Click to go there.
“I had assumed that the tension and drama in the Vernon Hershberger raw milk trial would build gradually over the expected five days of the proceedings, culminating in a verdict that would either acquit him or possibly send him to jail for up to two-and-a-half years. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on The Complete Patient blog:
“But the technical legalities of the case fail to convey that, at its heart, this is a political case rather more than a legal case. Most fundamentally, the case is about whether Hershberger has the right to distribute food privately to individuals who have contracted with him, without regulatory interference.
The reason the case is so important politically is that it isn’t just about whether Hershberger has the right to distribute food privately, it is about whether all of us have this right on either end of the equation–to distribute food privately or to contract with producers to obtain food privately. If Hershberger is acquitted by the jury of his peers, the shock effects will reverberate throughout the country, and regulators will be forced to re-examine their crackdown on private food distribution. If Hershberger loses, not only could he go to jail for more than a year, but regulators everywhere will lick their chops and go after private food more aggressively than ever. Continue reading
Via the Activist Post:
“Update (2/22/13): We would like to encourage readers to take 1 day out of their busy schedules to show your support for Vernon Hershberger by attending a pre-trial hearing that is now set for March 18, 2013 at 1 PM at Sauk County Courthouse, 515 Oak Street Baraboo, Wisconsin.
A flyer can be downloaded here, courtesy of foodfreedomusa.org, printed out and shared with your friends, posted around town, or plastered on the university bulletin boards. Get active and raise awareness to the plight of this peaceful farmer who never injured anyone. Get started waking up people in your neighborhood with this flyer and the article below which provides details of Vernon’s case and other updates about the legal proceedings. Continue reading
David Gumpert isn’t the only one who sees the Vernon Herschberger case as a bellwether. From Margo Redmond in the Baraboo News Republic:
“…The Wisconsin Farm Bureau is an advocate of corporate farming. Two years ago I spoke with Jeff Lyons — now second in command at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection — while he was assigned to the raw milk issue at the Bureau. I asked him if the Bureau represented the interests of big and small farmers. He replied that small family farms need to become corporate farms, as that is the only realistic kind of farming today.
I could tell he considered me silly for saying I missed seeing cows grazing on Wisconsin grass. But it is practical to prefer milk from truly contented cows that graze on grass because it nourishes them and, in turn, us. I do not apologize for using animal products and even eating them, but I believe they are owed, in return, a natural, decent life. Continue reading
Falls Church, VA, Aug. 28, 2012 ( GlobeNewswire ) – Wisconsin dairy farmer, Vernon Hershberger of Loganville, has retained the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) to represent him in his upcoming criminal trial on four misdemeanor counts for alleged violations of the Wisconsin food and dairy code. The trial was originally supposed to take place on September 25 in Sauk County Circuit Court in Baraboo but Judge Guy Reynolds has postponed the trial until January 7. The judge has set aside five days for the trial.
Hershberger had been representing himself since the criminal complaint was filed against him in January 2012. FTCLDF vice president and Wisconsin attorney, Elizabeth Rich, will be litigating the case. Rich has over twenty years experience in the Wisconsin courts. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“Prosecutors seeking to jail Vernon Hershberger for distributing his farm’s food privately to members of a food club betrayed their nervousness yesterday when they filed motions intended to limit the evidence the Wisconsin farmer can present to a jury.
The lawyers for the Wisconsin Attorney General filed a series of “Motions in Limine“, which are designed to shield a jury from hearing information that could be prejudicial to one side or the other. Most commonly, such motions are used by defendants in serious criminal trials who want to prevent the prosecution from presenting incriminating medical or financial information. Continue reading
From Alicia Abercrombie, in the Reedburg Times Press:
“BARABOO — Braving the increasingly blowing snow, more than 150 supporters of raw-milk farming gathered outside the Sauk County Courthouse on Friday as part of a two-day rally to support a Loganville dairy farmer charged with selling food and dairy products without a license.
The supporters traveled from as far away as Maryland and Canada to speak on the behalf of Vernon Hershberger, saying the ability to buy and drink raw (unpasteurized) milk is a constitutional right.
“We want the government to decriminalize raw milk,” supporter Liz Reitzig said. “My two older daughters are allergic to pasteurized milk but fine with raw. Continue reading