Since writing this article, many people have donated to the The Hershberger Family Farm Food Freedom (4-F) Fund (Facebook), planned a rally for this Friday, wrote letters and made phone calls. The mailing address for donations is below if you are not on Facebook. — Augie
We are sliding into a state of emergency if farmers, the foundation of society, are systematically eliminated through over-regulation, licenses, raids and economic strangulation. Unless the consumers who care about their food rally around the last remaining farms we will face a crisis beyond imagination. Our food system is a fragile house of cards.—Michael Schmidt, Canadian biodynamic dairyman, ARMi Co-director
I spoke with Vernon Hershberger again tonight to let him know nice money is coming in for his defense from the Wisconsin ARMi fundraiser. He also gave me some big news you have not yet heard that I will reveal at the end of the article.
For the third time since the raid last week, the State and its agents came on the property. Yesterday, as the armed deputies with the judge’s warrant approached the door after Vernon refused them entry, “the kids locked the door from the inside . . . just in the nick of time.”
With continued courage, Vernon Hershberger and his family, continues his acts of defiance and disobedience to the government officials and bureaucrats—who demands that he stop providing food to those who already own it—until he gets a license that they will not issue—and threatening fines of $4000 per day per violation of rules he believes do not apply.
There are the constitutional guarantees at issue here:
1) the right to own private property
2) the right to privately contract (make an agreement) with individuals
3) the right to learn and decide what foods and health options are best for you and your family
4) the right to do business with those you trust and honor and wish to trade with;
5) the right to contract for one’s food for a future delivery; the right to take delivery; and the right to own a share of a farm/food production operation.
Why must we run to the State to ask permission to exercise rights that have already been given freely and endowed by the Creator and affirmed by the Constitution?
Then there is the major issue of interference of the State on freedom to practice ones religious faith—in this case the belief that the purpose of work is in part to have something left over to share with someone who is in need.
Many believe in the command from a higher law to share and give of their abundance to those you choose. Many believe that when the law of the State and the law of God conflict, is is better to obey the latter and disobey the State– and to suffer whatever penalty is applied. To break one’s faith in action is difficult– and not without public outcry.
The State is claiming jurisdiction over these simple basic rights—the right to work and share/give of the food they produce to those who have said they need it for their health and have agreed to accept the food in a private arrangement.
Pete Kennedy, an attorney with Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Foundation quoted Vernon’s own words in a legal update yesterday:
Coming from an Amish background, we had been taught the biblical principles of non-resistance and loving and praying for our enemies and those who persecute us.
I slept only a few hours and meditated a long time, seeking the Lord and His will in these troubling circumstances. What would Jesus do? Bible passages like: “Blessed are you, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake”. (Matt. 5:11) “But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, Bless them that curse you, do good to them which hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you’.” (Matt. 5:44) Also Psalms 37 has promises that we can claim for our own if we trust in him.
There is another phrase that is very powerful that I strongly believe in: There’s no greater love that a man can have than to lay down his life for his friend. If we become so passionate about something that we are willing to lay down our lives for it, there is a power that kicks in, which is beyond measure. As all these things were going around in my head, I thought to myself: As we head into the future we do not know what it holds but we know Who holds it and that’s what counts.
Many may not understand “laying down one’s life” does not require dying for a cause or a person—it means a huge sacrifice in some way—to make the way better for others.
Rosanne Lindsay is co-director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Raw Milk (WI ARMi) a rapid-growth 1000 member-Facebook site. Lindsay told the Journal:
The state’s invasion of Vernon’s farm and the threats against Vernon and his family represent a broader threat against liberty. Raw milk has become a linch pin in a fight for food sovereignty and health freedom. Vernon and Erma are leading us to the truth by their actions of civil disobedience. Will we follow and preserve the rights we were born with?
Many are saying now (along with actions taken by state and federal agents nationally) that the State is calling evil good and good evil. The fires of passion are beginning to spread.
In my opinion, I think if the farmers and consumers of Wisconsin should join together in a class action against the state in a civil suit for triple personal and business damages. I also challenge those within the local and state agencies who might side with the Hershberger’s situation to come out of the closet and speak out.
Vernon told me a lawsuit against the State may be pending for its actions—being called by his supporters as illegal. The Hershberger Farm Food Freedom Fund has reached only $1600 for his defense and what may be a countersuit ($2300 total gifts received). Give generously and help make the point where the line is drawn.
FACEBOOKERS ONLY–The Hershberger Family Farm Food Freedom (4-F) Fund
Send your checks to:
Grazin’ Acres Farm
6145 S Hwy 23
Loganville, WI 53943
(Where should the State draw the line? Do they want control of all property and all agreements (contracts) between individuals. These government officials and bureacrats should know there are civil and criminal fines and penalties set aside personally for those who knowingly participate in illegal actions in the line of duty. It is especially serious when this is all set within the widely known and broadcasted organized crime of the State conspiring together with the dairy, meat and poultry cartels to control food markets, set prices and compete unfairly—which is the subject of an investigation by the US Department of Justice and the Administration, not only in Wisconsin but many other states.)
See Original Story– Incident at Grazin Acres Farm
ACTION TO TAKE IS HERE
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has been on the farm of Vernon and Erma Hershberger (Grazin’ Acres) three times in the past week. The Hershbergers have been selling products of the farm at their on-farm store to members of a private buying club. DATCP is trying to shut down their operation and has referred the matter to the Sauk County District Attorney even though there have been no complaints against Grazin’ Acres nor any record of food produced at the farm ever making anyone ill.
The Hershbergers need your help in order to continue to provide healthy food to the many members of the buying club.
ACTION TO TAKE
1. DATCP has referred the Hershbergers’ case to the Sauk County District Attorney, Patricia Barrett, for potential prosecution. Everyone is urged to contact Barrett’s office and request that she not prosecute the Hershberger case. Sauk County residents are especially encouraged to contact the District Attorney and inform her that you will not vote for her the next election if she pursues the Hershberger case. The District Attorney has already taken so many calls on this case that they are no longer accepting them; but you can still contact the DA’s office by email, fax and/or postal mail. Here is the contact information:
Patricia Barrett, Esq.
Sauk County District Attorney
Sauk County Court House
515 Oak Street
Baraboo, WI 53913
Phone (608) 355-3207
2. Contact the Sauk County Sheriff’s office and urge them not to participate in any investigation of the Hershbergers. Here is the contact information:
Randy Stammen, Sheriff
Sauk County Sheriff
Law Enforcement Center
1300 Lange Court
Baraboo, WI 53913
Admin Phone (608) 355-3207
Fax (608) 355-3598
3. Use the talking points at the end of this alert to persuade the County DA and the Sheriff not to pursue the Hershberger case.
4. Enlist others to join in this campaign to help the Hershbergers and farms like Grazin’ Acres.
On June 2, DATCP officials, Jacqueline Owens and Cathleen Anderson along with Sauk County Health Department officials and deputies of the County Sheriff descended upon Vernon and Erma Hershberger’s dairy farm, Grazin’ Acres in Loganville, to execute a “special inspection” warrant. DATCP inspectors taped freezers in the Hershbergers’ farm store and placed a hold order on thousands of dollars of food in the store, mostly raw milk and raw milk products. Under the hold order, the Hershbergers were prohibited from selling or even moving any of the food in the taped freezers. DATCP sent inspectors out to the farm because the Hershbergers had refused to comply with an intrusive request by the agency for documents and information going back over seven years.
The Hershbergers’ on-farm store sold products only to members of the private buying club. Vernon told reporters that under the Constitution, he was allowed to enter into private contracts and that DATCP had no jurisdiction over his operation. DATCP has referred the matter to the Sauk County District Attorney.
On June 8, Owens and Anderson returned to the farm without a warrant, attempting to conduct another inspection of the farm store. Vernon refused the request for an inspection and the officials left his premises. Before leaving, they served Vernon a ‘Special Order’ which could subject him to fines of up to $5,000 per violation if he is not in compliance with Wisconsin food and dairy laws.
On June 10, Owens and Anderson again returned to the farm, this time with a warrant but the store doors were locked; so, again they left without searching the store.
POINTS TO MAKE
1. The County DA and Sheriff should not be spending taxpayer money, pursuing cases like this in which there is no victim or injury. There has been no complaint filed by anyone against the Hershbergers.
2. The only injury in a case like this occurs when the farmer or food distributor is prosecuted and consumers who were obtaining foods they deem best for their health and the health of their families have now lost their source of those foods.
3. The right of consumers to obtain the foods of their choice from the source of their choice is a political issue; cases like this in which there has been no injury do not belong in the courts nor should the Sheriff be participating in any investigation of them. The County DA and Sheriff should exercise their discretion not to get involved in these cases.
4. With the tough economic times and all the cutbacks in government spending, the County DA and Sheriff should not be using their remaining enforcement dollars pursuing victimless crimes.
5. Let the County DA and Sheriff know how food direct from farms has benefitted your health and the health of your family.
PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL WHEN YOU CONTACT THESE OFFICIALS
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