Brian Wickert,certified biodynamic and organic farmer and president of the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association, discusses the power of the jury to protect  freedom of food choice:
WRMA President, Brian Wickert, casually chats with Dave Meany of DATCP before the July 11th Food Freedom Rally in Baraboo, Wisconsin

On Sept. 24, Loganville dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger will be tried before  a jury in Sauk County Circuit Court on four criminal misdemeanor counts accusing him of violating the state Food and Dairy Code. The case has drawn widespread  attention in Wisconsin, with Vernon’s supporters rallying to his cause.

A question that has been raised about the trial is: Can the jury hearing the  case legally engage in jury nullification and return a verdict of “not guilty” even if the facts and the law of the case point toward guilt? The answer is,  according to our attorneys, an emphatic “yes.”

Vernon has a private contractual arrangement with a buyers club to provide  food to club members. He leases the cows on his farm to the club; club members  obtain raw dairy products from the farm. He has never been accused of making  anyone ill from any food he had produced.

The position of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer  Protection, the agency that referred Vernon’s case for prosecution, is that any  distribution of raw milk and raw milk products is prohibited by law. There is an “incidental sales” exception, but DATCP interprets it to mean that a consumer  can legally buy raw milk only once from any given farm; repeat purchases are  prohibited.

There has been a long tradition of jury nullification in this country, going  back to a 1735 case in which a jury acquitted a publisher named John Porter Zenger, whose  newspaper had openly criticized the royal governor of New York even though the  law of the day made it a crime to publish any statement criticizing a public  official.

Juries frequently exercised their nullification powers during the 1850s to  acquit those in the North accused of harboring slaves in violation of the  federal Fugitive Slave Act. Jury nullification was a major reason for the end of alcohol Prohibition in 1933. It has been estimated that up to 60 percent of the trials for violations of Prohibition ended in jury nullification.

There are parallels between Prohibition and the Vernon Hershberger case. If  Vernon is convicted by the court, the chances of Wisconsin entering an era of “raw milk prohibition” will increase. Those who own and board their own cows  will be able to continue to consume raw milk, just like those who had their own  stills were able to continue to consume liquor without government interference.  Other Wisconsin residents will be hampered in exercising their legal right to  consume raw milk since the “incidental” one-time purchase will be their only 
option. The prosecution of Vernon is an attack on freedom of food choice.

Wisconsin courts have recognized that juries have the power to return a  verdict of “not guilty” irrespective of the evidence of the case and the judge’sinstructions on the law. Jurors cannot be punished under Wisconsin law for  exercising their nullification powers. If the jurors in Vernon’s case believe  that the laws he is accused of violating are either immoral or wrongly applied  to him, they should vote to acquit.

Brian Wickert of Viroqua is a certified biodynamic and organic farmer and president of the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association.
The glass of raw milk is quickly becoming a symbol of liberty and freedom,  from oppressive governments around the world. 

Thomas Jefferson certainly advised us to claim and exercise the right of food choice when he wrote, “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
Vernon Hershberger, Max Kane, and Liz Reitzig Declare Food Independence in Baraboo Wisconsin and raise their glass.
Therefore, let us raise a glass of wholesome raw milk this Independence Day and toast those founding fathers that had the wisdom to restrain the overreaching federal government with the chains of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
TIM  DAMOS | Baraboo News Republic
 Raw milk
State Journal archives
Organic dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, like many other Wisconsin farmers, 
has fought with state officials over the right to sell raw milk from his Sauk 
County farm. Health officials are worried unsuspecting citizens could be exposed
  to bacteria-causing diseases if a bill is passed legalizing its sale.
 The legal arguments of an Amish dairy farmer representing himself in a 
criminal case miss the mark, according to a Sauk County judge.

"The defendant fails to develop any argument that makes sense," Sauk County 
Circuit Court Judge Guy Reynolds stated in a decision filed Friday.

Grazin' Acres farm owner Vernon Hershberger of Loganville filed a motion to 
dismiss the case. In the motion, he cited provisions in the federal and state 
constitutions, as well as biblical verses. Reynolds denied the motion.

Hershberger is charged with the unlicensed operation of a food establishment, 
unlicensed milk production, unlicensed dairy plant operation and the violation 
of a hold order placed on his products by state regulators who raided his farm 
in June 2010.

A three-day jury trial is slated to begin Sept. 25.

In his motion to dismiss, Hershberger said the criminal complaint against him 
was invalid because the state official who signed the document had not taken an 
oath of office and was not a "private citizen" who was injured as a result of 
the alleged crime.

Reynolds rejected both of those arguments.

"The defendant fails to cite any law which might possibly support either 
proposition," the judge wrote in his decision. "The court is aware of no such 

Regarding a portion of Hershberger's motion that cited a portion of the 
Wisconsin State Constitution that sets forth the powers of county boards, 
Reynolds stated:

"In this portion of the defendant's argument, he suggests that his farm is 
actually a village governed by a board of supervisors, which, somehow, the court
  gathers, means that the state's laws and rules do not apply to him. This 
contention is nonsensical."

Hershberger contends he is not subject to state licensing rules because he 
operates a members-only store in which people consume products from the animals,
  of which they hold partial ownership.

In a letter to supporters last week, Hershberger said he felt a "deep sense 
of pity" for prosecutors and government officials who participated in the case 
against him.

"Do they actually think that God will stand idly by as they conspire to wreck 
 the good things that come directly from Creation?" Hershberger said. "We read
of  many instances in the Bible where God with his mighty power put a curse on 
people like that."

Vernon  Hershberger, Guy  Reynolds, Raw  Milk Farmer, Amish  Dairy Farmer
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Summer is almost here and many of you are going to enjoy the bountiful farmers markets that Wisconsin has to offer. The days are promising to be some scorchers, if this early Spring is any kind of an indicator. What better way to beat that summer heat when walking around at these markets  than with a dixie cup of Raw Ice Cream. The coolness, the freshness, the savory flavor, made with real ingredients, and direct from the farm. Aaaah! That dish of raw ice cream brings waves of pleasure to your palate. It is flavored with maple syrup instead of corn syrup, and you add some fresh raw walnut's. You can't stop eating it till it's gone. But then you wake up and realize you are in Wisconsin and that this delicious raw ice cream has only been another dream and morning brings reality back to life.

Waking up you want fresh coffee with real raw cream, but can't satisfy that desire either and slug away a black cup of coffee instead. The bitterness of the black coffee makes you desire that fresh raw cream even more, and then you realize that you can't even have a bowl of cereal to start your day because fresh raw milk is not available in the dairy state.

Why can't we choose the foods we want to consume? Where are all the foods  of our ancestoral traditions? What are we to do? Can I just cross state lines and bring some home to my family? Why can't I get raw milk  and raw milk products direct from my local farmer?

The battle for food rights has become national, and access to these traditional foods has gone "underground". To help decriminalize the family farmer that works hard to fulfill your choice of real healthy food for your family two bills are currently making thier way through D.C..
These two bills, one in the Senate (S1955) and one in the Congress (HR1830),
are to authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.

Urge your United States Senator and Congressman to co-sponsor and sign on to thier respective bills. You can contact them by using this link .
How to find Your - US Congressman/Congresswoman From Your ZIP Code:

"But what can I do to help restore my food rights at home in Wisconsin" you ask? "My family needs these nutrient dense foods."

You can start by helping the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association get another raw milk bill to Governor Walker's desk in the next legislative session. To make that happen your help is needed. Contributing financially to the WRMA is one way to help. Another way is to put our new bumper sticker on your car, truck, van or tractor for everyone to see. Don't hesitate order your bumper sticker from the WRMA today!


Raw Milk Supporters among record breaking crowd in Madison

The views expressed in this video are the personal views of those interviewed and are not an endorsement by the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association of any particular candidate or party.