Wisconsin Farmer Vernon Hershberger Faces Jail for Feeding Community
Trial of Vernon Hershberger set for May 20-24 in Baraboo, WI
Customers and Other Supporters to Attend Court with Farmer
Food rights activists from around North America will meet in Baraboo, WI at the Sauk County Courthouse May 20th – 24th to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, whose trial begins May 20, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land this husband and father in county jail for up to 30 months with fines of over $10,000.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), is spending tens of thousands of dollars to prevent Wisconsin citizens from having access to the foods of their choice. The method is to prosecute peaceful farmers like Hershberger, who have contracted directly with individuals actively seeking fresh farm foods, including raw milk and other raw dairy products.
Hershberger is specifically charged with providing raw milk for his members and is facing a week long jury trial with over 70 witnesses. The state will allege he was violating state dairy licensing regulations and defying DATCP orders.
At the center of this case is the billion dollar conventional dairy industry. Dairy is a global commodity, WI ranks 2nd in the nation behind California in milk production. Raw milk proponents have suggested that state regulators are acting under pressure from powerful dairy industry interests while milk is a potent competitor in the marketplace.
In a separate case in 2011, Wisconsin Judge Patrick J. Fiedler ruled …”no, plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of your choice… no right to contract with a farmer… no right to own a cow.” Three weeks later he resigned from the bench and joined a law firm that represents Monsanto – the developer of the first commercialized GMO product, BGH, a growth hormone injected into dairy cows to increase the animal’s milk production.
Hershberger’s supporters contend that everyone needs to get involved and needs to support our dedicated, ethical, organic family farmers and direct marketers. Furthermore, they are calling for development of local food sovereignty laws and an end to government bullying when citizens opt out of the commercial food supply system.
After the trial each day, members of Vernon Hershberger’s Grazin Acres food club are inviting the public to join them at the Al Ringling Theater across the street from the courthouse to hear presentations by leaders in the food rights movement. Notable speakers include Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, author, blogger, David Gumpert, California raw milk producer and activist Mark McAfee, founder of The Cornucopia Institute, Mark Kastel, constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik, and many more.
If you have the opportunity during the week of May 20-24, the open discussion of the facts surrounding the loss of the right to produce and consume the foods of one’s choice should prove both fruitful and educational.
For more information, visit: http://www.farmfoodfreedom.org/event/vernon-hershberger-trial