Wisconsin raids another private, non commercial farm

By Pete Kennedy
Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Wisconsin: DATCP Raids Hershberger Farm

The morning of June 2, 2010 started out like most other busy days on the farm of Vernon & Erma Hershberger and their family of eight boys and one girl, ranging in age from 18 down to 2 years. Shortly before 10:00 a.m., Vernon went to pick up some equipment from a neighboring farm.  Immediately after he left, Cathleen Anderson, Regulatory Specialist from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) along with Sauk County Health Department Sanitarians, Nick Oasen and Mitch Lohr, arrived and entered the farm store building, paying no heed to “Private Property” signs posted on the building.  Erma immediately called Vernon on his cell phone; and she asked the officials to wait for him outside the building, which they did, stepping out into the parking lot.

Upon arriving at the scene, Vernon was asked by Anderson for his consent to let them do an inspection of his private facility.  Vernon refused consent even after they threatened to get a warrant, explaining to the officials that they had no jurisdiction to inspect his farm because he had not applied for a license and he was not selling to the public but merely distributing products to members of his private buying club.

At 11:45a.m. Jacqueline Owens, Field Service Director from DATCP, showed up with a warrant along with four or five deputies from the local Sherriff’s Department.  Anderson handed Vernon the warrant; Vernon requested a few minutes to look it over which they granted, but when he asked them to wait until he had called his attorney they refused saying that the warrant was valid and they would wait no longer. They then entered the farm store building.

They began the inspection in the storage freezers in what is call the “processing room” and took inventory of all the items that were in the freezers, also making notes about labels and temperatures.  They did a total inspection of the building including the restroom facilities, the lighting, and anything else that they would typically inspect in a licensed facility.  After they were done in the processing room they went into the grocery storage room and then into the culturing room, taking a basic inventory of everything that was on the shelves. They then moved on into the walk-in cooler.

Read full post at Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

12 responses to “Wisconsin raids another private, non commercial farm

  1. This tragity is happening in other parts of this country, I am told. We have got to become educated and vote these commie, marxists, out. We need to impeach all from obama right on down. This is going to become worse. I have a neighbor with a very small back yard garden and she shares. She is woried….John in AZ

  2. Here’s my letter:
    Dear Ms. Barrett,
    I was dismayed to hear about your county raiding a private family farm as was done to the Hershbergers. I don’t understand why this case was even filed. Had someone made a complaint? Was someone injured? I myself belong to a farm co-op in Colorado and I am part owner of the farm as a private citizen and I collect my produce when it is harvest time. I find it very disturbing that in any part of the country, someone could do this to a farm like mine and keep my family from eating the fresh food we like.

    I need protection from big factory farms that produce harmful waste, use harmful chemicals, genetically modify their food products and contribute to the pollution of our world by trucking these products across the country or world.

    If I am injured by the food on my farm, that is my own fault and not the government. Please stay off my farm. If I were part owner of the Hershberger’s farm I would be injured by my loss of the food, which would be the government’s fault.

    This is solely a political issue not a food safety issue. Please, please exercise discretion and do not take on these cases.

    Thank you so much for your time and understanding,
    Christine R. Childs

  3. This disgusts and saddens me. I feel so sorry for them! Unfortunately, I think this may just be the beginning of the end as far as the govt stepping in to prevent us from growing and eating REAL food. 😦

  4. Bob Henninger

    I find it amazing that Amish people with their rich history of staying close to the soil, avoiding ‘progress’ as it is called and doing business in a clean and orderly way are considered enemies of the people by the government of Wisconsin. I am from Indiana where there are lots of Amish settlements. I have never once heard of them harming the health and well being of anyone with their products or foodstuffs. Unfortunately this cannot be said of some of our large commercial farms. The Amish with their patience have beat these government punishments before and will do so again. Let the Amish discipline their own people. They do a better job of that than the government could ever do.

  5. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Food Freedom

  6. To the first John from this Jon. I share your utter disgust with this abominable governmental behavior, but you have confused Marxism with fascism, as so many have done recently. The merger of corporate interests with governmental rule is literally fascism. Mussolini himself defined it as such. Those truly on the left oppose these kinds of actions with just as much passion as you do. So let’s be clear on terminology. What existed in late-stage USSR and is China today is neither socialism nor communism, but state capitalism wherein the government owned and managed most enterprises. No one on the left I know advocates such a system!

  7. You are right Jon but I can see the merger of all three. Communism, marxism, and fascism. I watched this coming up though the ’60’s. I think we have a real ride coming so hang on. I am going to concentrate more on my two hobbies, Home brewing beer/wine and producing more pottery. I am 74 so hoping you younger folks to streighten things out. My affiliation to my savior is becoming tighter. Sorry spl. chk. is not here. John…www.johnnygo.bravehost.com .

  8. Jon…right on…
    John…not sure impeaching Obama will cure us of the corporate take over of the country.
    While I disagree with many of his policies, he also, inherited a heck of a mess…
    As for a solution…I do not know…As a young organic farmer in TX, I count on people knowing WHO their farmer is. And hoping that regulations on giant corporate farms do not harm little family farms…I think Senator Tester from MT had an amendment in regards to this?
    Keep on brewing beer, support local organic farmers, vote….etc…and hope that us young folk can make a difference!

  9. You are so right Jon. I may move to Texas. Two of my Children were born there. I lived in that great state for many years..

  10. This story just made me cry. How are we going to stop this crap from destroying our future? Our children will be dying a before middle age with all the toxins they are creating. We must band together and stop this.

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