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‘Nanny State’ Bureaucrats Want This Organic Family Farm Closed — And They’ll Break State Law To Do It

Image source: TheGrazingMind.com

Image source: TheGrazingMind.com

State inspectors in Minnesota are being accused of trespassing on private property without warrants and trying to get a county sheriff to violate the state Constitution in an attempt to inspect and potentially shut down raw milk production at an organic family farm.

The actions of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) were so outrageous that the local sheriff’s office refused to help in its enforcement efforts. MDA now wants to fine the farm $500 a day until owners agree to an inspection.

MDA officials trespassed by entering a milk house at the Lake View Natural Dairy without a warrant and taking pictures of the operation without owner David Berglund’s permission, former Cook County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Gentz alleged in a blog post. Berglund only became aware of the incident when inspectors showed him photos of his building. MDA says the farm is in violation of state regulations.

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The dairy farmer was so enraged by the incident that he filed a trespassing report with police, Gentz noted. Gentz has 15 years of law enforcement experience and was a patron of Lake View Dairy. The Berglund’s attorney says it’s an example of the “nanny state” at work.

Sheriff Refuses to Take Action Against Raw Milk

Despite the trespassing incident, MDA said the inspection wasn’t complete – and it requested the assistance of the local sheriff’s office to take part in a forced inspection.

Former Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk refused to cooperate with the MDA’s actions against Berglund because he felt the department’s actions violated the Minnesota constitution, Gentz wrote. Gentz alleged that the MDA asked Falk to use sheriff’s deputies to force to Berglund to comply with inspection.

“Good luck getting the deputy sheriffs to help because there are several deputies that do business there,” Falk reportedly told the MDA.

The Minnesota Constitution presumably protects the dairy and reads, “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor.”

When Falk retired, MDA asked the interim sheriff to have deputies accompany its inspectors to the farm and force Berglund to submit to inspection. After going to the farm and speaking to Berglund, the interim sheriff also refused to cooperate with MDA.

$500-A-Day Fine Threat

The sheriff’s refusal to cooperate did not stop MDA. The agency has petitioned the Cook County Court to issue a contempt of court order that would fine Berglund $500 a day until he submits to inspection.

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If Berglund and his wife Heidi had to pay the fine, the farm would have to shut down, Gentz wrote – simply because they then would need to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of pasteurization equipment.

MDA’s own website says that “Minnesota law allows the sale of unpasteurized milk so long as it occurs on the farm at which the milk was produced.” It’s not clear what the state wants.

Department of Agriculture Accused of Violating State Constitution

The Berglunds will get their day in court on Monday, March 9, at the Cook County Court House in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Their supporters want a large crowd to attend to support them.

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is backing the Berglunds and assisting with their case. Those who wish to support the family can make a donation at the Fund’s website.

The Berglunds keep around 60 cows on the farm, which has been in the family since 1886, The Dairy Star reported.

“I discovered that folks want to go back to good, old-fashioned, unprocessed dairy products,” David Berglund told The Dairy Star. Berglund said he follows state law. Customers have driven as far as 150 miles to purchase the milk.

Do you believe states should allow farmers to sell raw milk? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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8 comments

  1. The actions of the MDA, and the resources they put into trying to put raw milk producers out of business are abominable. We are talking about milk, for goodness sake. IT has been around and consumed by people for centuries. Raw milk consumers are among the most informed and conscientious people one can find. They know exactly what they are getting, and what the risks are. You would think these farmers were peddling methamphetamine. Oh, and by the way, there are literally hundreds of products sitting in your local grocery store right now that are responsible for far more sickness and disease than will ever be the case with raw milk.

    • It should always be about choice in purchasing what we want. This is another case of wanna be tyrants that believe their way is the best way. It’s about power not safety. Cheers

  2. This is just another case of “You are too stupid to know what is good for you.”

  3. As long as it’s clear to consumers what is being sold and any risks, yes farmers should be allowed to sell it. I can make my own decisions about what to put in my body.

  4. Government is too big and too controlling of others. How can there be laws telling us what we can and cannot consume???????

  5. Its ckearly a case of bug cirporate dauries dont want any competition from a better product.

  6. The government wants their land. If they can’t get it this way they’ll just find some other way to get it.

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