(Daniel Jennings) Federal agents subjected a farmer to harassment and warrantless searches simply for producing raw milk, but a county sheriff took the farmer’s side and blocked federal agents from the property – and the sheriff is now speaking out.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) took the actions four years ago simply because the farmer was providing raw milk to an organic food co-op. The story is receiving renewed coverage because the Indiana sheriff, Elkhart County’s Brad Rogers, wrote a 600-word explanation for a local newspaper as part of his “Ask The Sheriff” series. Off The Grid News previously reported on the dispute.
Participants paid money into the co-op and, in return, received raw milk.
“It appeared to be harassment by the FDA and the DOJ, and making unconstitutional searches, in my opinion,” Rogers wrote of Uncle Sam’s treatment of the farmer in a column for the Goshen News.
Rogers said he became involved in the case in 2011 when the farmer complained to him.
“Specifically, the FDA was inspecting his farm without a warrant as much as every two weeks,” Rogers wrote. “Typical inspections occur annually. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had subpoenaed him for a grand jury in Michigan in which he was to bring his production documents. The Feds wanted to make this farmer an example.
“My research,” Rogers added, “concluded that no one was getting sick from this distribution of this raw milk. It appeared to be harassment by the FDA and the DOJ, and making unconstitutional searches, in my opinion. The farmer told me that he no longer wished to cooperate with the inspections of his property.”
Sheriff Confronts Feds
The sheriff then emailed a lawyer at the Department of Justice, writing:
“I understand that you have made recent requests to (the farmer) for documents and to appear before a grand jury, and he has had a number of inspections and attempted inspections on his farm within Elkhart County. 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. In addition, if any further action is taken by the federal government on (the farmer), while he is in Elkhart County, I will expect that you or federal authorities contact my office prior to such action. I will expect you to forward this information to your federal associates, including the FDA.”
Shortly after the email was sent, the farmer received a certified letter from the DOJ that said his grand jury subpoena had been cancelled. No federal inspectors have visited the farm since 2011.
“Your local elected officials … can stem the tide of federal overreach if they apply just a little backbone in supporting and defending the Constitution. Expect it! Demand it!,” Rogers wrote. “Some bloggers and natural food writers have hailed me as a hero. I’m no hero. I’m just doing my job.
“Whether you are conservative or liberal, I will be a guardian of the Constitution for you, and will not stand idly by while the rights of citizens of my county are trampled, whether by criminals or an overreaching government.”
Rogers also said the government has no business preventing people from drinking raw milk.
“Many of our parents/grandparents drank raw milk and survived,” he wrote. “There are risks with raw milk, but careful handling and storage will mitigate the risk. Many people believe that raw milk is healthier to drink than the pasteurized version. There is no law in Indiana that prohibits the distribution of raw milk in this fashion. In short, I don’t believe the government should be our nanny and telling us what we can or cannot drink/eat.”