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Another Delay in the Start of Wisconsin Raw Milk Trial

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
  • Just as a point of clarification, you all know he’s no longer practicing Amish, right?

  • L. Mullen

    I saw this post which came from article  written in the  Milwaukee Journal, by raw milk mike – Sep 21, 2012 11:55 AM –I thought it made a lot of sense. Fresh food is not a crime. Fresh milk is prohibited in Wisconsin for three reasons. Reason number one; direct farm sales of fresh milk would insure the survival of local small farms. Reason number two; fresh milk consumption practically eliminates the need for medicine which means it competes with your insurance company. Reason number three; the state is trying to force useless state testing on consumers that do their own more stringent testing. 
    I say prohibited because it is not illegal. There are no laws intended to limit your choice of food. Local family farmer, Vernon Hershberger is charged with not having permits that don’t exist. There is no such thing as a direct farm sales permit, a food club permit, a cow share permit, or a fresh milk permit. It’s not a permit if it doesn’t permit. Fresh milk is not prohibited because it’s dangerous since it has never been proven to be dangerous and besides we don’t make things illegal simply because they’re dangerous. The state has taken the side of large special interests against the citizens of Wisconsin. Vernon is fighting for your access to healthy food. These drug and junk food pushers have brought Vernon to court for providing us the healthy foods of our choice. Wisconsin is still a state of small dairy farms. These large special interests are petrified that this could catch on. Jan. 7, 2013 Sauk County district attorney Patricia Barrett will be prosecuting Vernon in front of Judge Guy Reynolds. Vernon Hershberge’s family farm is one of our few remaining sources of healthy food in Wisconsin. If he loses we all lose. These are the same people behind the banning of backyard gardens.