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Indiana Sheriff Intervenes Against Feds in Raw Milk Case

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Healthy Raw Milk:It's Our Right page and our Indiana News page.
David Hochstetler doesn't want to be in the limelight.

"I'd rather just be left alone," he said.

As a producer of raw milk, though, Hochstetler - operator of Forest Grove Dairy south of Middlebury - finds himself at the center of controversy. He's faced repeated inspections by federal regulators, apparently, and his situation prompted Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers to intervene, advising the feds to watch their step or face arrest by his department.

"With Mr. Hochstetler, he's had harassment and ongoing visits that were unreasonable," said Rogers, who told federal officials in a Dec. 2 email that they would need warrants before conducting any more inspections of the man's farm. "I just told them they were no longer welcome unless they had a warrant."

Now, judging by the response to his actions in the blogosphere, Rogers is the toast of online raw milk activists and others who think the federal government oversteps its bounds.

"I think it's great that the local sheriff is supporting the local farmers," said Gary Cox of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit group active in defending access to raw milk.

Hochstetler is left unsure what happens going forward - federal officials "backed off now. I don't know how long," he said - while federal authorities remain largely mum.

"As much as I would like to give a reaction, I would not," said U.S. Department of Justice attorney Ross Goldstein, recipient of the email from Rogers.
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