A Sauk County, Wisconsin jury, meeting until 1 a.m. Saturday, acquitted Vernon Hershberger on three charges: operating a farm store without a retail food establishment permit, operating a dairy farm without a milk producer license, and operating a dairy plant without a license.
But it found him guilty on a fourth count.
That means when sentenced, the 41-year old Hershberger still could be jailed for up to one year and fined up to $10,000 for his conviction for violating a hold order placed on food on his farm in June 2010 by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
Attorney Elizabeth Rich, vice president for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, said Hershberger’s acquittal on three of four counts is a “victory for the food right movement.” His supporters said farmer of Amish roots faced charges stemming only from his leasing cows to a private buyers club and providing raw dairy and other nutrient-dense foods to the club members.
Prosecutors said the evidence clearly showed Hershberger’s club was a retail store, complete with product price list, a cash register, and a credit card machine.
The week-long trial brought food freedom activists to the Wisconsin town of Baraboo where the court is located. Judge Guy Reynolds has not yet set a date for sentencing the dairy farmer.
Wisconsin law prohibits the commercial sale of raw milk and raw milk products.© Food Safety News