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Elkhart County sheriff intervenes against feds in raw milk case
eTruth ^ | Dec 17, 2011 | Tim Vandenack

Posted on 12/21/2011 10:53:05 AM PST by bkopto

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.

More than just raw milk

The roots of the controversy stem, in part, from differing views about raw milk — that is, unpasteurized milk — and the role the government should have in regulating its trade and use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says unequivocally that, no, raw milk is not safe to drink because of the bacteria it can contain. Federal law prohibits commercial transfer of raw milk across state lines, while under Indiana law, it’s illegal to sell the product, though producers come up with arrangements under which consumers own or lease milk-producing cows, allowing them access to raw milk.

Proponents say the dangers of raw milk are overblown and that the product contains nutrients not found in pasteurized milk.

For Rogers, a Republican with ties to the Elkhart County tea party movement, it’s not about the pros or cons of raw milk, necessarily. It’s about the federal government trampling on individual rights, something he sees happening in the Hochstetler case.

FDA officials have asked repeatedly to inspect Hochstetler’s farm, Rogers said. The farmer initially acquiesced, but finally grew tired of the repeated inspections and started prohibiting inspectors’ entry. Ultimately, Ross, the Justice Department attorney, subpoenaed Hochstetler, ordering him to appear before a grand jury, and Hochstetler turned to the sheriff for assistance.

“To me it’s not about raw milk. It’s about upholding my oath of office and being a guardian of the Constitution,” said Rogers. The repeated inspections and inspection requests, as he saw it, amounted to “harassment from federal agencies.”

As such, he fired off the email to Goldstein, threatening the arrest federal agents if they try to inspect Hochstetler’s operation without a warrant.

“This is notice that any further attempts to inspect this farm without a warrant signed by a judge, based on probable cause, will result in federal inspectors’ removal or arrest for trespassing by my officers or I,” it reads in part.

Subpoena withdrawn

In an interview at his office, Rogers said the feds are limited in what they can do by provisions in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. He alluded to the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the 10th Amendment, which grants states powers not reserved for the federal government.

“The arrogance of thinking federal law trumps everything flies in the face of the 10th Amendment,” Rogers said. “If we think the federal government trumps everything, we’re destined for big trouble in the freedoms here in our country.”

Goldstein fired back to Rogers with his own letter, sent via email soon after he received the sheriff’s missive. The Justice Department attorney cited the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which gives agents authority to enter facilities where food is processed or manufactured.

“Because it is a federal law, indeed an Act of Congress, officers or employees of the FDA may do so lawfully, without regard to any Indiana law to the contrary,” Goldstein wrote.

A warrant would not be required to inspect Forest Grove Dairy. What’s more, refusal to permit entry to the operation “is in itself a federal criminal offense, which under certain circumstances is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years,” Goldstein wrote.

Either way, Hochstetler received a certified letter on Dec. 6 from federal officials saying the subpoena ordering the dairy farmer to appear before a grand jury had been withdrawn, Rogers said.

‘An open case’

Advocates for small-scale farmers and raw milk advocates are overjoyed over the turn of events, first reported by David Gumpert in his blog, The Complete Patient. Gumpert is a journalist, blogger and author of a book on raw milk.

“That is what the local food movement needs: more local and county sheriffs who know the Constitution and are willing to stand up for it!” Bev Hill wrote in her blog, Good Food 4 All.

Federal officials remain tight-lipped. “I’m afraid that we can’t respond to any questions regarding Forest Grove, as this is an open case,” Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman, said in an email.

Forest Grove was cited in March 2010 by the FDA as the source of an outbreak of at least 12 cases of campylobacteriosis caused by raw milk. Furthermore, the company received a warning from the FDA in 2007 stemming from alleged illegal distribution of raw milk across state lines.

Hochstetler, for his part, says he’s just filling demand for a product and vaguely indicates he’ll continue.

Speaking at his rural farm, in an agricultural zone south of Middlebury where Amish on bicycles and in horse-drawn buggies ply the roadways, he doesn’t want to say much. But he wonders if agencies like the FDA don’t have it in for small family farms producing raw milk, like his.

“Harassment,” he said. “Thinking I’ll get tired of it eventually and leave.”

If raw milk is going to be available, he continues, consumers need to clamor.

“It’s going to be the consumer’s voice that needs to be heard,” he said. “The consumer needs to know what’s happening out here in the country. They need to known their rights to eat are being taken away.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; US: Indiana
KEYWORDS: billofrights; federalgovernment; tyranny
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To: rockinqsranch

Sheriff Joe needs to arrange lookup with another county or even state.


21 posted on 12/21/2011 12:17:43 PM PST by DallasDeb (usafa06mom)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/quail-hollow-farm-dinner.htm


It’s not about food. It’s about control.


22 posted on 12/21/2011 12:20:31 PM PST by maine yankee (I got my Governor at 'Marden's')
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To: PieterCasparzen
You can't get fresh squeezed cider in New York any longer. Just the pasteurised stuff.

It's all underground now.

23 posted on 12/21/2011 12:27:18 PM PST by BOOHA
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To: bkopto

For how many centuries did we drink raw milk, before the FDA was there to “protect” us?


24 posted on 12/21/2011 12:35:15 PM PST by G Larry ("I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his Character.")
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To: bkopto
“Because it is a federal law, indeed an Act of Congress, officers or employees of the FDA may do so lawfully, without regard to any Indiana law to the contrary,” Goldstein wrote. A warrant would not be required to inspect Forest Grove Dairy. What’s more, refusal to permit entry to the operation “is in itself a federal criminal offense, which under certain circumstances is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to three years,” Goldstein wrote.

realli??? So all Congerss has to do to circumvent a pesky Bill of Right is pass an Act of Congress? I don't think so, Goldstein.

25 posted on 12/21/2011 12:35:27 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("At a time like this, we can't afford the luxury of thinking!")
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To: bkopto
I read in Newsday, of all places, way back in the late seventies that a Sheriff can compel federal agents to act in his county only through his office, including their bringing any weapons into the county. Don't know if this is true or not.
26 posted on 12/21/2011 12:55:27 PM PST by TalBlack ( Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: ForGod'sSake

Ping


27 posted on 12/21/2011 1:02:07 PM PST by Idabilly (Tailpipes poppin, radios rockin, Country Boy Can Survive.)
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To: maine yankee

I remember that from when it was posted.


28 posted on 12/21/2011 1:02:31 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (FOREIGN AID: A transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries)
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To: DallasDeb; cowboyway; southernsunshine; ForGod'sSake; central_va; NonValueAdded; bimboeruption

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLJgPuNAh60


29 posted on 12/21/2011 1:09:28 PM PST by Idabilly (Tailpipes poppin, radios rockin, Country Boy Can Survive.)
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To: bkopto

God Bless Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers!

Let every true conservative rally to his defense! The defense of our rights starts locally.


30 posted on 12/21/2011 1:25:16 PM PST by Monorprise
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To: PieterCasparzen

I wouldn’t drink it but I would heartily defend your right to drink it. I’m sick of the Feds sticking their nose into every aspect of our lives.


31 posted on 12/21/2011 1:48:13 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: thackney

I wonder whether this Sheriff is a member of AZ Sheriff Babaau’s 10th Amendment group of Sheriff’s? (Either Babeau or a retired AZ Sheriff.)

If so, they’re gaining traction and I hope they continue.


32 posted on 12/21/2011 1:55:19 PM PST by hadit2here ("Most men would rather die than think. Many do." - Bertrand Russell)
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To: bkopto

considering that somehow civilization made to this point without the FDA...makes me think this is more ABOUT the FDA than it is about milk..or pasteurization..or the lack thereof...


33 posted on 12/21/2011 2:16:06 PM PST by mo
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To: Georgia Girl 2

Interesting link...

http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/index.html


34 posted on 12/21/2011 2:52:17 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: thackney; bkopto; All

County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson is a great Sheriff and fights for the people of his county against the Feds!

http://www.usobserver.com/archive/sep-11/sheriff-this-land-is-our-land.html

SHERIFF: This Land is Our Land,
Feds Have No Jurisdiction!

In this climate it is utterly unheard of to have any official stand against the federal government. Typically, they stand with them - their hand out for more federal grants - no matter how much the federal government violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on the public. Thankfully there are those few who take their oaths of office and to the Constitution, with sincerity, and instead they choose to fight for the people; fight for what is true and just. They are people like Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, those who sign up to become oath keepers, former Sheriff Richard Mack and, of course, Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson; whose own fight against a runaway, power-grabbing, forestry service is just the tip of an iceberg Gilbertson is hauling into warmer waters.

With the USFS closing roads on county public lands, enforcement officers overstepping their legal jurisdiction and tens of thousands of acres of the county’s public land being usurped through the creation of national forests and monuments for the “protection” of the environment, Gilbertson is taking it on himself to protect the people - the ones often forgotten.

When asked why he has taken up this fight, Sheriff Gilbertson said, “My duty lies in the oath that I took to protect and serve the people of Josephine County, state law and the Constitution, and their [federal government] agencies are infringing on all of the above. It’s that simple.

“Look, much suffering occurred and many lives were sacrificed to make this great country what it is today; many sadly take this horrific loss for granted. A Republic form of government can be long-term but only if we maintain a system of checks and balance.

“Once we allow a runaway centralized government to weaken and/or erode the rights enumerated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, we risk losing it all. Our government is rapidly approaching a socialistic posture; and seemingly, changing our life, as we knew it, through ‘federally imposed REGULATIONS’.”

The US~Observer has obtained a letter written by Gilbertson discussing jurisdiction. We are choosing to print it in its entirety.

Furthermore, the US~Observer would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Gilbertson for doing what he said he would - protect the County’s people, no matter what.

Clicke Here to see Gilbertson’s letter:

http://www.usobserver.com/archive/sep-11/Gil-Federal-Jurisdiction.pdf

Another article:

http://www.usobserver.com/archive/may-11/gil-letter.html

Grants Pass, OR - Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson is apparently challenging Federal authority within the borders of the Southern Oregon county. In a letter obtained by the US~Observer, Gilbertson writes to Roy Bergstrom of the United States Forest Service:

“As the CLEO [chief law enforcement officer] of this County, elected by the citizens, saddled with the expectation and responsibility to safeguard their rights I fully intend to uphold the laws against any threat, inappropriate or unlawful actions against them. The citizens of this County are complaining about unfair treatment and harassment by the federal government LEOs.

The issues of illegal road closures, grazing, logging, minerals, taking land under the auspices of “Monument” status, citizen complaints against your LEO [law enforcement officer] agents, high unemployment and other socio-economic issues we all face today; coupled with the uncooperative nature presented by the USFS are causing me great concern about our relationship and future cooperation.”

Letter in full:

http://www.usobserver.com/archive/may-11/images/Gilbertson-letter-to-Roy-Bergstrom.pdf

Letter Shows Oregon Sheriff Taking-on the Feds


35 posted on 12/21/2011 5:07:24 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: SENTINEL
[They have to control access to food before they can control the population to the extent they have planned..]

Give someone a fish, and you'll feed them for a day.
Teach them to grow fish, and you'll feed them for a lifetime...

Aquaponics HOW TO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfR9nDsvBk8&feature=share

 

"NOTHING IS MORE CERTAINLY WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF FATE THAN THAT THESE [AMERICAN] PEOPLE ARE TO BE FREE"
--Thomas Jefferson

36 posted on 12/21/2011 5:51:06 PM PST by LomanBill (Animals! The DemocRats blew up the windmill with an Acorn!)
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To: American in Israel

“Not only tastes better, but my arthritis cleared up when I drank it for a couple of years.”
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Interesting but are you sure you can give credit to the milk? How many other factors might have also had an influence? I grew up drinking raw milk straight from our own cow, once I was old enough to do the milking I used to milk the cow before school and after school. I am 67 and as far as I know don’t have a sign of arthritis, I have some elbow soreness sometimes but I think it is tendinitis from lifting too heavy at the gym. I work out three times a week generally. I am 6 feet and four inches, 260 pounds and NOT FAT, I wear size 38 waist jeans and they are loose and becoming looser. My goal is to go back to no larger than 36 and maybe even the size 34 that I used to wear. I think if I can drop down to 240 I can wear 34’s again. Maybe what I really need is a source for raw milk.


37 posted on 12/21/2011 5:59:26 PM PST by RipSawyer (This does not end well!)
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To: bkopto; xzins; wmfights
“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.

This could be the beginning of a "keep your hands off me you damn dirty Fed" Revolution.

We can only hope.

38 posted on 12/21/2011 6:05:59 PM PST by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: bkopto

It’s all about safety and you’re never safe enough for bureaucrats... unless you’re dead.


39 posted on 12/21/2011 6:13:00 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: tacticalogic

Yep. Plus, it’s your body. Why do we presume consumers are too stupid to understand the risks?


40 posted on 12/21/2011 6:18:08 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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