Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger’s 2013 conviction for selling raw milk will be allowed to stand. Without explaining why, the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to consider whether Hershberger was properly convicted, after he violated an order from state inspectors.
The holding order at the center of Hershberger’s appeal came from state agriculture inspectors in 2010, who raided his Sauk County farm and ordered him to stop selling his product. Prosecutors argued that he continued to violate the order though, which resulted in additional charges. While he was convicted of violating the holding order and fined $1,000, Hershbergrer was found not guilty on charges that he was selling food, producing milk, and operating a dairy plant without the proper state licenses.
Hershberger appealed the conviction, arguing that he was not allowed to present evidence at trial that would have helped his case and that an unedited copy of the holding order was kept out of evidence. The Fourth District Court of Appeals sided with the circuit court’s decision to keep Hershberger from making what amounted to a “collateral attack” on the factual basis for the holding order, keeping his conviction in place.
Hershberger also argued that he was not subject to state rules against selling unpasteurized milk because his hundreds of buyers were in a private club that did not sell the product to the general public. The appeals court rejected that argument.