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Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Is Latest Target in Food Sovereignty Battle

Because he supplied a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products, dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was charged with four misdemeanors, including operating a retail food establishment without a license.

| May 09, 2013

  • Fresh Milk
    Hershberger, and other farmers around the country, are facing state or federal charges against them for providing fresh foods to wanting individuals.
    By Fotolia/volff

  • Fresh Milk

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

Food rights activists from across North America will meet at the Sauk County Courthouse on May 20 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, whose trial begins that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land the husband and father in county jail for up to 30 months with fines of more than $10,000.

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.

DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly rejects this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations. “There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.”

A little more than a year ago, food rights activists from around the country stood in support of Hershberger at a pre-trial hearing.  They read and signed a “Declaration of Food Independence” that asserts inherent rights in food choice. This month after the trial each day, many of the same food rights activists plus others will gather at the Al Ringling Theater across the street from the courthouse and hear presentations by leaders in the food rights movement. Notable speakers include Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, Mountain Man show star Eustace Conway, and food rights organizer from Maine, Deborah Evans.

Hershberger, and other farmers around the country, are facing state or federal charges against them for providing fresh foods to wanting individuals. In recent months the FDA has conducted several long undercover sting operations and raids against peaceful farmers and buying clubs that have resulted in farms shutting down and consumers without access to the food they depend on.

5/13/2013 5:51:24 PM

  Wisconsin is a foreign country?

The assault on Americans and their right can be attributed to a unfamiliar policy referred to as the Federal Conformity Clause. In essence, the system is designed to facilitate defacto  government encroachment in the several states.

 Case in point, Congress created the Food for Peace program, (7 U.S.C. 1691 et seq),an international agreement, administered through the Department of Interior,(Agriculture) (Commodity Credit Corporation), hats are changed, according to the background.

One of the pertinent provisions of the Act, is that it's not be exercised in the several states. With that as a background,  the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer authority, amended per Public Law  111-8 reproduced  below, is limited to the Food for Peace Act.


          “jurisdiction  once challenged  cannot be presumed” numerous court decisions.





§ 1701. Economic assistance and food security

(a) In general

The President shall establish a program under this subchapter to provide for the sale of agricultural

commodities to developing countries and private entities for dollars on credit terms, or for local

currencies (including for local currencies on credit terms) for use under this subchapter. Such program

shall be implemented by the Secretary.

(b) General authority

To carry out the policies and accomplish the objectives described in section 1691 of this title, the

Secretary may negotiate and execute agreements with developing countries and private entities to

finance the sale and exportation of agricultural commodities to such countries and entities.


2009 Amendments




[[Page 123 STAT. 524]]


Public Law 111-8

111th Congress

Sec. 718. None of the funds made available in fiscal year 2009 or

preceding fiscal years for programs authorized under the Food for Peace

Act (7 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.) in excess of $20,000,000 shall be used to

reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation for the release of eligible

commodities under section 302(f)(2)(A) of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian

Trust Act (7 U.S.C. 1736f-1): Provided, That any such funds made

available to reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation shall only be

used pursuant to section 302(b)(2)(B)(i) of the Bill Emerson

Humanitarian Trust Act.


Sec. 732. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, there is

hereby appropriated:

            (1) $1,877,000 of which $1,408,000 shall be for a grant to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and $469,000 shall be for a grant to the Vermont  Agency of Agriculture, Foods, and Markets, as authorized by  section 6402 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of   2002 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note);


5/12/2013 12:36:27 AM

A company has the right to have proprietary information - that has turned into thousands of products in daily use whose ingredients we don't know. A company has the right to use generally recognized as safe ingredients - that has turned into a self-policing of ingredients by industry  - even when there are many suspected toxins and carcinogens in the lists they create.  My point is that any execption to food safety will be exploited by industry so that they can avoid record-keeping and increase profit - while claiming to follow the law.

We have to be careful.

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