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Organic Consumers Association

Want Raw Milk? Lease a Farm - and Hire a Lawyer

For two months earlier this year, Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger let the proposed contract sit unsigned on his desk.

The agreement specified that a nonprofit organization known as Right to Choose Healthy Food, and headed by raw food advocate Aajonus Vonderplanitz, would lease his farm's 50 cows and dozens of chickens -- "the works," says Hershberger. In exchange, the organization would have access to all the food from the animals: milk, eggs, and meat.

Then, on June 2, agents from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection raided his Grazin' Acres farm near Madison, and placed seals on the refrigerators in his small store. He was operating without a retailer license and a dairy license, the regulators said. The fact that he wasn't open to the general public, but was selling direct to "members" of his farm, didn't matter.

The day after the raid, Hershberger cut the DATCP seals and defiantly re-opened for business. His confidence was buttressed by the fact that he decided that day to sign the contract with Right to Choose Healthy Food.

The deal is "simple," says Hershberger, and besides, "I think Aajonus knows what he's doing."


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