Bad Laws for Good Food

4th April 2012

By Victoria  LaFont

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Wisconsin Statute 97.24 requires that milk sold to consumers be Grade A, and requires that Grade A products be effectively pasteurized.   The state allows incidental raw milk sales directly to consumer at a farm where raw milk is produced.   ‘Incidental,’ however, only covers one sale of the raw milk to a consumer, not multiple sales.   The retail sale of raw milk is not allowed in Wisconsin.

In the fall of 2007 I spent a month volunteering on a biodynamic farm in Polk County, Wisconsin.   On the drive home I made a pit stop at a farm in Loganville, WI. The Hershberger’s farm stood out from the others surrounding it – it was well kept and the hay was tied in a traditional way, rather than the square bales seen in most other fields. Vernon and his boys used draft horses to till the moderate acreage that he farmed.   But the difference that brought me to the farm? The Hershberger’s  manage a food club that is stocked with nutrient dense foods, including raw dairy products (like delicious raw ice cream) as well as other grocery items and bulk goods. In order to obtain goods at the food club I had to become a member; essentially, I became part owner in the traditional co-op style. I was given a full tour of the farm, including the pastures where the cows were grazing, the outbuildings where Vernon kept his draft horses, and finally the back rooms of the buying club’s main building.   I met his wife and children.   I had an insightful conversation with him on his innovative techniques for cooling and heating water through passive means. I definitely bought some food  as a member of a food club.

Vernon Hershberger and his family are currently under Wisconsin state investigation for selling raw milk. He has been charged with:

– operating a retail food establishment without a license

– operating a dairy farm as a milk producer without a license

– operating a dairy plant without a license

– violating a holding order of his dairy products issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

The Hershbergers are not guilty of these charges.   They are the managers of a food club that sells only to members.   They do not own a retail store, nor are they selling raw milk through retail means.

When charged with four misdemeanors, and released on $500 bail, Vernon signed an agreement in which he committed to “no manufacturing or processing of dairy products” and “no sale or distribution of milk produced on his dairy farm” without appropriate licenses.   However, as a current owner of the cows that Vernon and his family steward, I can personally attest to the fact that the Hershberger farm is in no way distributing raw dairy without appropriate licenses.    They are simply caring for dairy animals that I own.   And, they are helping to supply what are, in my opinion, life giving foods well within the confines of the law.

There are multitudes of conversations surrounding the possibility of government involvement with our food consumption. Discussions have been raised around a legal age limit or even a possible tax placed on sugary soft drinks. Some countries have already placed taxes on what are considered snack foods. Yet, with evidence mounting through varied sources of research that many processed food ingredients (refined sugar, specifically) are detrimental not only to our health but to our economy, there has been no attack mounted that can compare in intensity to the war waged on local farmers selling unpasteurized unhomogenized dairy products – raw milk.

Speaking as a certified Nutritional Therapist, and viewing the raw milk debate from a purely biochemical viewpoint, I am perpetually baffled by the opponents, be they health care or politically based.   The science is plain – there is no danger in drinking raw dairy.   In fact, there is current debate, hosted by Harvard Law school, that actually supports the contrary. To force a small, incredibly successful family farm into the financial and emotional stress of state persecution, simply because they help to supply raw milk….this is the real crime.

Vernon and his family are currently dealing with this situation.   Please contact these members of Wisconsin state bureaucracy to let them know your stance on this matter. Let them know that you support the food club that Vernon and his family have established, and that you believe he is in no way breaking Wisconsin state law.   Thank you.

Ben Brancel, Secretary of Wisconsin Dept of Ag.

Office Phone: 608-224-5012

Office Fax: 608-224-5034

Scott Walker, Wisconsin Governor

(608) 266-1212

Fax (608) 267-8983

[email protected]

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

(608) 266-1221

Fax (608) 267-2779

Eric DeFort, Asst. Attorney General

WI DOJ, Special Prosecutor for the County of Sauk


Judge Guy Reynolds

(608) 355-3222

About the Author  

I am a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association, located in Olympia, Washington.   For over a decade I have explored varied diets and healing modalities, ranging from raw veganism to the Primal Diet.   My interest in diet stemmed from a strong desire to heal life long health problems without continued reliance on prescription drugs.

In 2006 I graduated magne cum laude from Murray State University with a bachelor of arts degree, emphasis in medical anthropology and professional writing.   My time studying varied culture’s practices sparked my interest in continuing to investigate the link between chronic illness/ degenerative disease and dietary habits.

The teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Nutritional Therapy Association, paired with my background in medical anthropology, have led me to believe that a properly prepared, whole food, nutrient dense diet is one of the primary keys to optimal health. I can be contacted further via my site


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