A southern Wisconsin farmer is free on a signature bond, after he appeared in court for not having state licenses at the dairy where he sells raw milk.
State agriculture officials have tried for some time to get Vernon Hershberger of Loganville to stop selling unpasteurized milk. He faces four misdemeanor charges in Sauk County of not being licensed for a dairy plant, a milk producer, and a retail eatery. He’s also charged with violating state food holding orders. He says no licenses exist to let him sell raw milk, and that’s why he doesn’t have them.
John Peck, Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders, was among the dozens who rallied at the courthouse in support of the Hershberger. He says Hershberger does not sell to the general public but rather through a buying club that is equivalent to members being “shareholders.”
AUDIO: Peck taking issue with current state law (:25)
In 2010, then-Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that would have legalized raw milk sales. Supporters say raw milk is healthier than the pasteurized product. But opponents say drinking raw milk increases the risk of getting salmonella or E-coli bacteria — and just one case could threaten Wisconsin’s worldwide reputation as America’s Dairyland.
Hershberger has not entered pleas to his new charges. He’s due back in court January 30th.