Friday, March 02, 2012


Rally March 2nd for Farmer Facing Three Years in Prison

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

If you're available this Friday you may want to help rally to defend Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger who is being targeted by the raw milk police again.

Last June, the Department of Agriculture and Trade Consumer Protection (DATCP) raided Vernon and taped his coolers closed. Not agreeing with this move, he cut the tape and continued distributing to the paying private buying club members.

The “raw milk police” are fond of destroying people's food like schoolyard bullies -- they also made sure to destroy the bulk tank milk by pouring blue dye in it.

He is now facing up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines for operating dairy and food retail establishments without a license. There have been no complaints by the private club members.

Let's stop and clarify three things here:
  1. In 2003, DATCP gave their blessing on the private buying club set-up. It's in the last couple of years they have started cracking down on dairy farmers like Vernon that they used to support.
  2. These are not retail food & dairy businesses! Members are actual participants in the growth and production of the food – they literally work the farm. It is a trade agreement. This is like selling or trading something on Craigslist and getting busted for not having a business license.
  3. Why doesn't Vernon simply get license? “There are no raw milk licenses available in Wisconsin,” he says.

The forceful moves are intended to intimidate peaceful farmers and shut them down. Up until last year, Vernon, a lifelong dairy farmer, has followed every letter of the law – they are not interested in allowing him to continue, and the constant legal(?) add-ons make it impossible. That is the entire point.

A pre-court rally is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. in front of the Sauk County Courthouse, 515 Oak Street, Baraboo, Wisconsin; about an hour and half from Madison and two hours from Chicago. Supporters will engage in a signing ceremony for their “Declaration of Food Independence.”

Liz Reitzig of Raw Milk Freedom Riders reports that people are flying in from all over the country to lend their support. With previous rallies that gained much media attention, this is indeed another milestone in the food freedom movement.

Liz is imploring support more than ever. She says that it's not enough to rely on the voice of individual small farmers across the country who are facing extreme persecution – it's up to the consumers to stand by them. There are not enough farmers left to stand up to the likes of the FDA and DATCP alone. Her farmer was the highly publicized Dan Allgyer who was recently shut down forever, leaving hundreds without the raw milk and dairy they relied on.

“I am proud of what I am doing.” says Hersberger. "There is nothing wrong with peacefully providing food to members of my community who want it. The state might put me in jail, but they cannot stop people from feeding their neighbors.”

“Our family will be there, standing with Vernon. I never dreamed that the US government would try to prevent citizens from choosing their food and where they get it, much less putting people in jail for doing so. I’ve seen first hand the destruction of one wonderful farm family and I won’t stand idly by while another family is persecuted,” says mother and activist, Karen Goeben.

On March 1, the day before the rally, Raw Milk Freedom Riders and co-sponsor Food Farm Freedom Coalition will be holding a “Rights Workshop” from 2-5:30 pm to help supporters know how to defend themselves against such intrusions and remain active.

Liz Reitzig, David Gumpert (author of The Raw Milk Revolution), filmmaker Max Kane and others will speak and answer questions. Suggested donation for workshop and farm fresh meals is $20 and attendees can sign up at Raw Milk Freedom Riders.

For those who cannot attend the rally, the event will also be available in live streaming, probably on one of the sites below. Keep watching – this is only the beginning!

DATCP Attempted Inspection At Hershberger's Farm

Vernon's Pre-trial Conference Not Allowed to Be Recorded

For more information and updates, visit:

Facebook event:
For more info on raw milk and sources:

For more into the back story of Vernon's plight & bio: 

Very recent interview with Vernon Hersberger & to donate to his legal fund click here. 

Donations to support the event can be made here. 


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