Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I don’t drink raw milk and I’m not a Hershberger Farm member. Does this effect me?
Yes! The reason this case is so important politically is that it isn’t just about whether Vernon has the right to distribute food privately, it is about whether all of us have this right on either end of the equation- to distribute food privately or to contract with producers to obtain food privately. If Vernon is acquitted by the jury of his peers, the shock effects will reverberate throughout the country, and regulators will be forced to re-examine their crackdown on private food distribution. If Vernon loses, not only could he go to jail for more than a year, but regulators everywhere will be emboldened to go after private food more aggressively than ever. We owe it to our children to preserve their inherent right to make private food choices.
Who is Vernon Hershberger?
He is a 41 year old father of 10 children who is committed to his family and to serving the 200 or so members of his food club. He was raised as an Amish farm boy and even though his family left the Amish community a number of years ago, the family remains very conservative Christians who love to work together as a family.
Why is Vernon on trial?
Vernon refuses to stop feeding his food club community as the Government has ordered him to do. He feels he has the right, used by people for hundreds of years in this country and other countries, to distribute food under private contract to members of his community. He also feels it is his calling from the Lord to feed his brethren as the Bible teaches (See 1 John 3:16 & 17).
What is Vernon being accused of?
He is being accused of being a criminal for producing and distributing raw milk and other foods without proper licenses. The State, however, refuses to give him a license covering raw milk because it has no such license. He is also accused of violating the state’s holding order from June 2010, when he refused to stop his members from getting the food that belongs to them.
Is Vernon above the law?
Absolutely not. He is following the law to the best of his knowledge and has tried his best to work with the State for the last 10 years. But he has been unable to keep up with all the varying interpretation and definition changes that have been applied to him and other Wisconsin farmers during that time. As a result, he decided several years ago that he should not be part of the state’s permit system, but should instead distribute milk, meat, and other foods his farm produces on a private basis to members of his farm.
Is raw dairy safe?
Like any food, raw dairy can make people sick if it isn’t properly produced and handled. If it is handled properly, it is as safe as any other food. Please see; http://www.westonaprice.org/press/flawed-government-report-thwarts-state-raw-milk-initiatives
This seems crazy! Has any other farmer gone through this?
Unfortunately, many owners of small farms have gone through this in the last 20 years, all over the country. The crackdown on small farms seems to be a result of government policies designed to aid large factory farms. The crackdown seems to have intensified as growing numbers of people have come to question the safety and nutritional quality of factory farm food and highly processed food produced by big food companies, and have organized food clubs and herd shares to acquire food directly from traditional small farms.
What can I do?
There are a few ways that you can help:
1) Tell everyone you know about this!
2) Attend the trial and “Grow Your Food Freedom” event in Baraboo, WI during the week of May 20th. Seewww.vernonhershberger.com & www.farmersontrial.com
3) Donate to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to help with legal expenses.http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/make-a-donation.html
4) Donate to the family itself, to help with the stress of the trial and the loss of their machine shed in the recent fire at their farm https://www.wepay.com/donations/vernon-hershberger