The defendant in a long-awaited trial for raw milk violations in Wisconsin has won a further delay of the proceedings.
Vernon Hershberger, the raw milk producer charged with four misdemeanors related to the sale of unpasteurized milk, was set to face trial Jan. 7.
However, before that happens, the Sauk County court has to sort out religious-based objections that were raised in briefs filed Dec. 21 by Hershberger’s attorney. The attorney claims her client cannot assist in his defense because of his religious beliefs.
The raw milk dairy farmer says he was raised Amish and still maintains many of those beliefs.
Hershberger was charged two years ago after a raid on his Loganville farm caused the state Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection to shut down the on-farm retail store that sold raw milk and other dairy products.
Hershberger then set up a so-called “buyer’s club,” involving 100 families who purchased raw milk and assorted other raw dairy products including ice cream. He faces charges of distributing milk from a dairy farm without a milk producers license, operating a retail food establishment without a license, operating a dairy plant without a license and selling raw milk.
A conference on Jan. 4 is now expected to rule on the farmer’s religious concerns and set a new trial date. Also involved in Hershberger’s defense is the nationally known Farmer-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which has also acknowledged that jury nullification might be a strategy in the case.© Food Safety News