A Raw Milk Deal: Farmer Faces 180 Days Jail and Could Lose the Farm and Family Food Ministry


Fundraiser Announced

A family who owns and operates a small farm and natural food ministry offers farm, fresh milk (raw) to their customers now face 180 days in jail and stand to lose their farm. It is called Bechard Family Farm and they raise turkeys, pork, beef, chickens, eggs and make soap. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department in Springfield, Missouri, says the Bechard teenage daughters sold their undercover agents two gallons of raw milk at one of the customer delivery points . The health department employees did not identity themselves. The father, Armand Bechard, who was not there at the time is being charged because he is the producer of the milk. Both the City and State are suing him.

Friday (June 4, 2010), the local trial is being held and many in Missouri and around the U.S. are watching. As many as 100 folks–perhaps many more– are showing up for the court and rally in support of the Bechards. There were 60 at the previous hearing as reported in the Journal back in March. The Alliance for Raw Milk Internationale (ARMi) and its Missouri ARMi division started a Fundraiser today to help with the mounting legal expenses. (Armand was badly injured last week when a car fell on him: he was under the car when the jack failed. He is expected to be in good enough shape to stand trial.)

The State also is also suing Armand for the same offense and the Attorney General has been busy mounting up for the case. The AG is representing the State Milk Board. The Supervisor at the health department has been recently appointed as Chairman of the Milk Board. The State is seeking to prevent the Bechards from using a central distribution point to sell raw milk to customers who pay in advance, while the city is suing because they did not have a food service permit for what is defined as a “food establishment”—but they will not give them a permit.

The Bechards want to win and help to keep the state from tightening down on rules. Armand said the City has no proof it was his daughters who sold the milk (to the agents that demanded it from the kids.)          

I spoke to the Bechard’s for an hour this week and today I had a 30-minute telecon with the Karen Prescott, Supervisor at the Health Department in order to sniff all of this out. Prescott reiterated that to deliver to a customer in the city is permissible but one cannot sell to a new customer off the street, such as her employees. Asked why a permit could not be issued, Prescott said “the raw milk is not from an approved source.”  (The list is developed and controlled be committees of bureaucrats from FDA, USDA, HHS and those in big Ag, Food, and Pharma–then adapted by their counterparts in each states)

She said that people do not have to drive up to two hours to get their milk from Bechard’s farm; there are many farms offering raw milk in Missouri on Craig’s List.

There is always more to the story– and there is more to come. It seems as if the city could have simply issued a notice of violation, if there was legitimate, anonymous complaint to begin with. That is standard procedure– not attaching it to a court summons at the same time. The City and the State are together on this and want to make it a big point. I will make my big point: I think that we are being Buffaloed by Springfield and the Show Me State.– Augie

The Missouri law states this:

Only pasteurized graded fluid milk and fluid milk products as defined in subdivision (3) of section 196.931 shall be sold to the final consumer, or to restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments; except an individual may purchase and have delivered to him for his own use raw milk or cream from a farm.


Anybody on Facebook can make a donation for the ARMi fundraiser for the Bechards. From there you can go to the Event Posting and show your support. All who love raw milk and support the freedom of choice are encouraged to attend the trial and rally before and after. (as low as $5—every little bit helps).


Here is the link to this story to send to your FB friends, groups etc. http://wp.me/phmll-12v

If I lived in Missouri (or any state– as the legal precedent affects all states) I would be tempted to pick up the phone, call the Springfield health department and register a formal, anonymous complaint for their actions and overreactions. (if you are not donating, its the least you can do) They have to make a record of it. (If you do, please state also in the comments– it is important.)

  • Phone: 417-864-1658
  • Fax: 417-864-1099

 BREAKING NOW:  AMISH BUSTED IN WISCONSIN FOR RAW https://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/alert-amishman-busted-for-raw-milk/

Background information:

Two stories and a video news cast are provided here.

Story at the Springfield MO News-Leader.

33 responses to “A Raw Milk Deal: Farmer Faces 180 Days Jail and Could Lose the Farm and Family Food Ministry

  1. Pingback: Family Faces Potential Loss of Farm, Improsonment… « Liberation Wellness

  2. Two important aspects of any business – the ability to advertise and transport product. Raw Milk Farmers are unfairly hobbled and harassed. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund intends to change this.

    • Not just that Cathy, fresh farm food is more expensive because factory food is subsidized by the government. That is unfair competition with Big Ag/Food and that is suppose to be illegal.

  3. I hate to see my tax dollars funding these stakeouts when they should be using it to clean up the big corporations that get away with selling poison.

  4. I keep saying it. My face keeps turning blue.
    “private CONTRACT” If I have a private contract with you so that you can purchase and eat my dog’s poop, it is still a private contract and NO ONE…no body, no law, outside person of any form has ANY legal right to do a damn thing about it AS LONG AS WE MAINTAIN “PRIVATE CONTRACT” and do NOT ask permission or bind ourselves with permits, licenses, taxes or any other in the box pieces that cause this harassment. Private contract is legally binding. So long as you ONLY use the words private contract and my property, you will all be fine. If you insist on using the words raw milk, producer of milk, distributor, Milk Act, Milk Board etc., you WILL continue to have this fight. It’s too simple. Private contract and private property…that’s it. If they ask, “in your private contract, are you dealing with raw milk?”
    The answer can only be, ” I have a private contract for private property.”
    “Yes, but will you admit that that private property is raw milk.”
    “No Sir. I will not admit that. I have a private contract for private property”
    “For reasons outlined in the Milk Act you do recognize that this is raw milk.”
    Ni sir. I have a private contract for private property.”

    • Brilliant and that is the way to look at it and think.

      However, here is why it may not work. The State controls contracts and defines them (commercial contractual law) on a case by case basis. And there is no such thing as private. There is that. YOU cannot make a contract or private property unless it is approved by the state (auto e.g.) Then there is no YOU; because YOU are the state’s– when they stole your name and made it in all CAPS. That is called ficticious (straw man) and that is who transacts and contracts for the property of the state. When you transact with the Federal Reserve not– the property of the FR Bank– you are transferring their property– such that the IRS then must know about it– and takes a cut–as well as the state and county–and you must account for it. It is worse for milk–because it is a controlled substance– and they have changed its definition–so that only the approved look-alike product is legal. This is another reason why we need a Savior– who supplies for our need– rather than the state.

      The above is too absurd and cannot be believed– so we then want to talk in terms of the simplicity of private (win/win) contract with MY private property (for which I have earned through me labor).

  5. George Whitfield

    I think morea people will be identifying with this video from Missouri:

  6. why can’t we buy and drink and eat what we want. this is crap !!!

  7. Keep in mind, the FDA, AMA, and all the other initialed people do not want us to be well. They have spent the last 100+years dedicated to making us and keeping in a state of unwellness. Yes, I will gladly contribute money to the Bechard’s defense fund.

  8. “Teya” If this proposal for wording is/were true, wouldnt anyone be legal under private contract to sell any private property they want ? Legal material or not ? Real estate, cars, marijuana, pharmaceuticals etc ?

  9. If two strangers approached these young girls and demanded the milk from them, they would have been inclined to oblige–especially if the agents asked in the right way (sometimes they have a sob story of how they need it).

    The ethics displayed by the agents and their boss is highly questionable. (Its one thing if someone is involved in real crime— dealing in the other white stuff–cocaine. But most important, their religion may require it to give to them that have need. So if the girls would have refused they would have broken the command of God. If so, they are being punished for practicing their religion– which requires and allows and encourages giving nourishment– especially if they were ignorant of the interpretation of the law and its applicability. (I doubt if they did).

    They may have thought the customers needed the raw milk with the real vitamin D and fats to absorb it—to build immunity from the swine flu–rather than the vaccinations offered by the health department.

  10. According to author and naturopathic physician, Ron Schmid, raw milk has been victimized by the same forces that gave us Wonder Bread, processed Amercian cheese, and pasteurized beer. Rather than dealing with the challenges of handling fresh, unadulterated products, the food processing factories have elected to give us fancier packaging and longer shelf life. The only casualty appears to be our health.

    For a reasonably quick read, see the article titled: “The Rise and Fall of Raw Milk”


  11. Thank you for an accurate presentaton. I would like to send it to my son:
    who is marrying a lady from MO June 24,2010.

  12. Re: Private Contract –
    Article I, section 10, clause 1 of the Constitution provides that “No State shall … pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”
    I agree!
    Conduct your business on a Private Contract basis and complete that contract with real money (gold/silver). Then the State will not have any lawful interest in that!

  13. On Facebook
    Kathy Teal commented on your link:

    “This is an email I sent to friends tonight.

    Elaine and I were Teddi Bechard’s midwife about 15 years ago when they lived in Denver. Now the Bechard’s have a farm in MO and sell raw milk and dairy products + other homemade products. They should be receiving a slap on the wrists for a minor infraction when their children sold 2 gallons of left over milk to unidentified undercover agents instead of regular customers as is allowed by law.

    See what the State of MO and the City of Springfield plan to do to them instead… because they can. They have joined force to make an example of the Bechard’s and plan to throw the parents in jail and fine them… because they can!

    The small family farmer is slowly gaining a foothold again because the public is becoming better educated about eating healthy grown and prepared foods like we did back before the 1950’s when big farm took over after big government subsidized them. Small farms went into the land bank and never came out. Money talks!

    I think this is just the beginning of an attack on small family farmers to drive them back into submission. What do you think?

    I made a small donation to the fundraiser. I think I will do it each month. Anyone who is interested in having grass-fed beef, chickens, eggs, and other healthy foods like raw milk, should donate what they can afford to help this family with the unbelievable high legal bills the Bechard’s will be left with.

    They will be ruined financially. The will have to sell their farm and other possessions and it still won’t cover what they will owe. If we all band together, we can accomplish a lot with just a little bit of effort. “I would rather have the efforts of 1% of 100 men than 100% of one man”. ~ J. Paul Getty.

    Raw Milk Deal: Faces 180 days jail and lose farm and food ministry. First Alliance of Raw Milk (ARMi) Fundraiser!! The Story is Up! http://www.facebook.com/l/bcef4;http://www.facebook.com/l/32974;wp.me/phmll-12v. Buffalo Springfield Song: Whats Goin Down? http://www.facebook.com/?tid=430295611102&sk=messages

    Pass this email along to other interested people.

    Love and blessings,

  14. Words to the song Augie Augenstein mentioned in that article:
    There’s something happening here
    What it is ain’t exactly clear
    There’s a man with a gun over there
    Telling me I got to beware

    I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

    There’s battle lines being drawn
    Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
    Young people speaking their minds
    Getting so much resistance from behind

    I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

    What a field-day for the heat
    A thousand people in the street
    Singing songs and carrying signs
    Mostly say, hooray for our side

    It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    You step out of line, the man come and take you away

    We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Somebody gave us the words to the song:

    Everybody look what’s going down
    Stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down
    Stop, now, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down
    Stop, children, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

  15. Pingback: Undercover agents used in sting operation against Missouri raw milk farmer « The Bovine

  16. Perhaps what is so perplexing about this is, not only the slap on the wrist that should be, but I think it was Kathy that said the slew of initials striving to keep us unwell (or something to that effect), are also the ones deciding that salt is bad for us and therefore illegal (sorry not yet, but you get my drift). Even if it is bad for me, I do not want big brother telling me what I can and can not eat. If I choose to go to my local farm and pick blackberries, then that is exactly what I want to do and I am choosing to eat them. I’d rather not have that choice taken from me.

  17. Pingback: YOUR Power Factor « Living! Not Surviving

  18. Outrageous, like most things, when handled correctly raw milk is perfectly safe. It’s health benefits far outweigh homogonized, pasteurized milk. There is no reason for this fear and harassment, its based on ignorance.

  19. We order unpasterized milk every Wednesday from a farm and we’ve had no problems with ours.

  20. Pingback: Top Posts — WordPress.com

  21. The whole scenario about the government telling us what we can and cannot do is paramount. As soon as we surrender our rights to allowing someone else to tell us what we can and cannot do, eat and cannot eat, we are sunk.

    In our area, there has been one raw milk farm for the last two years selling organic raw milk, and that’s where we buy our milk. Recently, two more operations have opened up offering raw milk, and I hope this is a positive sign of more and more people realizing what’s going on, wanting to provide consumers with a healthy choice, and keep our food safe.

    It is a sad state of affairs when a small-time raw milk farmer trying to provide an ethical, wholesome product to his customers is threatened to be hauled away while corporation after corporation who have been in the media repeatedly for food recalls continue to sell toxic, industrial foods. They remain in business, don’t get fined or criminalized for their activities, and are allowed to state that their products are healthy and safe to consume. Wow, it’s frightening! We have to stand up for what is right, vote with our food dollars, and support our local, sustainable farmers to the end. Now, more than ever, it’s critical!!!!


  23. Pingback: A Raw Milk Deal: Farmer Faces 180 Days Jail and Could Lose the Farm and Family Food Ministry « Journal of Natural Food and Healing | Farm Fodder

  24. Pingback: ALERT: Amishman Busted for Raw Milk « Journal of Natural Food and Healing

  25. Lynn Swearingen

    Health department calls milk meeting:

    “The Christian County Health Department will hold a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss rules for the distribution of raw milk.

    The meeting will be at the health department office at 301 E. Brick St. in Ozark.

    Last week, the health department’s board of directors discussed whether its current policy — which allows farmers who make sales at their farms to use a booth at a farmers market for customers to pick up the milk — conflicts with state law.

    The board is struggling to interpret the state law, which states: “An individual may purchase and have delivered to him for his own use raw milk or cream from a farm.”

    However, Attorney General Chris Koster’s office interprets the law to state that it’s illegal for a farmer to distribute unprocessed milk or offer it for sale at a market or parking lot.”

  26. So, when is the new trial? I’ve been looking for a date & can’t find it. I was all set up to go to the trial on June 4. My bald head & I are in total support of them! I’m bald because I’ve just won (I hope) my battle w/ Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer & I think raw milk is one of the things that saved my life. It’s a long story, but I was on raw milk for 4 months of the time I didn’t know I had the cancer, even tho it was stage 4 by the time I got to my farm a few miles north of the Bechards. I had to leave my raw milk source & the cancer just blossomed. It ran over me like a wave & I was 1/2″ from dead less than 2 months after leaving the raw milk.

    I so totally feel like a raw milk poster child! I fought a battle much like this in the Los Angeles area. I couldn’t win, for all the money I was spending, until I fianally was able to get a good public turn out for a hearing. I want to be there, to support the Bechard’s the way so many people were there to support me. (Criminal charges twice for using mulch in my yard. City said it was a fire hazard, even tho they used it in all their own plantings & had done tests to see if it would catch fire… it wouldn’t.)

  27. OK, checked back, hoping the new date would be listed. I don’t really understand how this case has gone this far, except it has to be like my case was. A “don’t confuse the issue w/ facts” situation. When I was in Law School, we learned that the law is really a check list. So, if we use that concept here, we break the law down to a list. Were any of the elements of that list violated?
    The Missouri law states this:

    Only pasteurized graded fluid milk and fluid milk products as defined in subdivision (3) of section 196.931 shall be sold to the final consumer, or to restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments;

    an individual (were the purchasers individuals???)
    may purchase (gives a right to purchase, so…. did they purchase?)
    and have delivered (again, given the right to have the milk delivered. Did the girls deliver the milk into their hand?)
    to him for his own use (Now, here is where we might run into trouble. Those agents did not buy that milk for their own use. They bought it for the use of their employer! But, the law requires knowledge & intent. Who had the knowledge & intent? This girls? The agents?)
    raw milk or cream (We do know that the subject was raw milk, so this is a check.)
    from a farm. (Do we think it came from a grain mill in France? How about a clothing factory in NYC? A steel mill in Detroit, or a car factory? How about a Hollywood movie studio? No, I think we can safely ass-u-me that the item in question did indeed come from the Bechard Family Farm, at least that’s what the city is charging…. isn’t it?

    Seems to me that the Bechards are totally within the Law!

  28. Any updates??

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