Jury Finds Peaceful Dairy Farmer Does Not Need Licenses

The Wisconsin raw dairy farmer, Vernon Hershberger, received a verdict of three “not guilty” counts and one count “guilty” for distributing raw milk through private direct trade. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund called the verdict “a victory for the food rights movement.”

| May 30, 2013

Old fashioned milk cans

The raw milk debate has stirred controversies in many states, including Wisconsin.

Photo by Fotolia/christianthiel.net

Reposted with permission from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

After a long and riveting week in court for raw dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, the jury returned a verdict of three “not guilty” counts and one count “guilty” for violation of a holding order.

The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products.

Hershberger and supporters are happy with the three counts of not guilty and feel that this sets a precedent for other farmers who seek to feed their communities through private direct trade.  Following the verdict, which came at 1:30 Saturday morning, May 25, Hershberger told supporters:

“I am extremely grateful to the almighty God that I have been acquitted from the first 3 criminal counts that were filed against me: operating a retail food establishment without a license, operating without a milk producer’s license and operating without a dairy plant license. 

I am very proud of the people in Sauk County who served on the jury for sending the message to the state and DATCP that it is absolute nonsense and a complete waste of tax dollars to interfere with peaceful peoples’ natural right to peacefully assemble to procure the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice.                         

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