State Prosecutes Raw Milk Farmer

Wisconsin agricultural officials are prosecuting a Saulk County farmer selling illegal raw milk to local consumers.

The debate over raw milk has been ongoing in the U.S. for years. Unpasteurized milk and dairy products are restricted from sale across state lines. Sales within states and communities are usually restricted or strictly regulated in some form. In Wisconsin, the sale of raw milk is currently prohibited, with a bill that would have allowed its sale to local consumers being vetoed in 2010.

Raw milk supporters say that this attitude is indicative of larger national trends pitting state and federal government agencies against small farmers. Raw milk, they argue is healthier that pasteurized milk, with supporters downplaying evidence of increased bacteria activity in unpasteurized dairy. Opponents of raw milk, however, argue that it is unsafe and contributes to foodborne illness.

The Wisconsinite farmer in question has a customer base of over 100 regulars, selling raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products across Saulk County, portraying his business as merely offering consumption choice to his neighbors and community.

Raw milk advocates have portrayed the state’s prosecution as persecution, with the executive director of the Family Farm Defenders saying, “This Big Brother in the barnyard bullying behavior against small dairy farmers like Vernon Hershberger has got to stop.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer