Wis. dairy farmer faces jail time in raw milk case

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It may be the end of the road for a defiant Wisconsin dairy farmer now facing possible jail time after continuing to sell dairy products, including raw milk, without a license and ignoring a previous order to cease sales.

Vernon Hershberger of Loganville, Wis., has been charged with four misdemeanors as reported by WND.com.

Pete Kennedy, who wrote in a Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund commentary on the case, noted that one of the key facts of the case is Hershberger’s private, contractual agreement to provide food for food buyers clubs.

“If Hershberger is convicted of the charges against him, it could have a chilling effect on consumer access to raw milk for those who don’t own and board their own cows. The farmer currently is leasing his cows to the right to Choose Healthy Food Buyers Club,” Kennedy wrote.

The case adds to mounting headaches for raw milk supporters. In addition to a four-state campylobacteriosis outbreak linked to raw milk sold from a Pennsylvania dairy and an injunction against another Pennsylvania raw milk producer, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last week that showed that the rate of disease outbreaks linked to raw milk was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.  

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February, 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM

Your stuff helped a lot

Laurie Kyle    
Elkhorn  |  March, 01, 2012 at 08:32 AM

I am a dairy producer and a nutritionist and am saddened by this news. It is a fact that pasteurized milk is healthier and does not change the milk. The heat process is necessary in order to kill the harmful bacteria. There is a reason there are rules and regulations in the dairy industry. We are the most regulated industry and dairy producers pride themselves in providing an affordable, healthy power drink. Why anyone would want to risk their freedom in order to sell raw milk is not something I can understand. It is unfortunate that certain groups don't heed the advice of the Center for Disease Control. The scientists have spent much time studying raw milk products and the health concerns that go along with consuming them. In the dairy industry we all need to work together and do what is morally and ethically correct!

Janet Fulton    
March, 01, 2012 at 05:39 PM

You are right on, but I don't think you should be saddened. Hopefully these outbreaks will remind some, and show the younger generations the dangers of raw milk.

amy bratt    
new york  |  March, 01, 2012 at 07:08 PM

i hear raw milk is healthy and no sicknesses. Pastuerized milk is full of antibiotics, pesticides ect.

Minnesota  |  March, 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM

Amy, milk you buy in the store does not contain antibiotics or pesticides. We dairy producers, are not allowed to sell milk that contains either. This is a law that we must obey. We will be fined and have to pay for the semi load or silo full of milk that is contaminated. The milk is tested either before it leaves the farm or at the creamery. If you pick up raw milk from a farm are these same regulations enforced? I don't know because I don't work with selling raw milk direct to the customer but I am familiar with selling milk to a creamery where it is processed.

azuma yamagata    
Japan  |  March, 01, 2012 at 09:09 PM

I am working at dairy farm. We have same regulation about dealing with row milk. We can not sell row milk because hygine reason. If I practice it, must be in jail

Laurie Kyle    
Elkhorn  |  March, 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM

Thanks Eric for your opinion. Yes, as a nutritionist and dairy producer I know first-hand what is involved in the dairy industry and know that pasteurized and homogenized milk is what all consumers should be drinking in order to be healthiest. The cool thing about milk and all dairy products is that farm families take great care with their animals alongside their families in order to provide these unique healthy foods. I know that special interest groups have played on the sympathies of unknowing consumers and convinced them with unfounded information that raw is better for you then pasteurized and homogenized milk. Most of the websites about raw milk do not contain information from reliable doctors. Consumers can be assured that no one cares about quali milk more then the producer. Honestly farmers are passionate about the land and their animals. I don't know a group of people that work harder then farmers. Who else would work 24/7 and not complain! I would encourage you to go and visit a working dairy farm in your area and get to know who provides you with your dairy products. If the state of Wisconsin decided that it was not in our best interest to sell raw milk then why break the law? I want consumers todo their homework and talk to a dairy producer or go to a reliable website that gives correct information about dairy practices. A reliable website is www.dairyfarming.org. There are real dairy producers on this site and educated individuals that provide the science-based facts through many studies that have been conducted. One of the reasons that I went back to college to get my nutrition degree was so I could educate the non-believer. I am all about standing up for what I believe in, but I would never let anyone risk their safety and health by giving a consumer misinformation.

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