Unpopular Law Causes Demise of Family Dairy
by Kimberly Hartke
A successful farm buying club which served hundreds of families in the metro DC area, is now without a supplier. Their Pennsylvania raw dairy farmer shuttered his doors on Saturday, February 11, 2012, due to the actions of federal regulators. Dan Allgyer, age 36, a husband and father of 8 children, now has to find a new way to support his family.
Our nation struggles to recover from a severe economic slowdown, during which rural areas have suffered greatly. And yet, Dan’s prosperous Rainbow Acres Farm, is officially plowed under not by the recession, but by an injunction from a U.S. District Court Judge.
The measure, sought by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is being granted even while a Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund lawsuit is contending the federal ban on the interstate transportation ban of raw milk.
Two bills that also aim to lift the ban are currently introduced in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate by father and son legislators, Congressman Ron Paul and Senator Rand Paul. Dr. Ron Paul, a candidate for the presidency, has even stumped for greater access to raw milk on the campaign trail.
Members of the farm’s buying club believe they have a right to opt out of regulated commerce and privately contract for food and farming methods of their choosing.
The judge in this case dismissed their private arrangements as “subterfuge.”
The FDA is notorious for allowing many suspect chemicals, additives, and genetic engineering of the U.S. food supply. It seems a reasonable response for concerned citizens to simply reject the government’s oversight.
Farm club organizers are clearly upset. “The government is terrorizing peaceful Amish farmers, with threat of armed raids and sanctions, and many of our club members’ good health is dependent on this food,” complains mother of 5, Liz Reitzig.
Federal regulators often cite food safety concerns to justify their actions that shut down private enterprises. Let’s look at Dan Allgyer’s track record. At the time of his farm’s closure, he was farming around 100 acres. He provided an impressive range of nutrient dense foods to his club members: raw milk, grass-fed meats, soy free-chickens/eggs to nearly 500 families. Never, in 6 years, did a club member report a food borne illness from trading directly with Dan.
The tragedy of Rainbow Acres is that many of the families he served had special dietary needs and serious health concerns that caused them to seek out a higher quality food than what is commercially available.
By the FDA continuing to enforce an unpopular law, they are, perhaps unwittingly, defending the mediocrity of the Standard American Diet. SAD, isn’t it? These families who with Dan Allgyers’ help, created their own superior food supply, have decided public oversight isn’t good enough. To protect their private interests, they elected to get personally involved with their food source.
If the judge had heard from these moms and dads, the outcome of this case may have been different.
This post is part of the Fight Back Friday blog carnival. Read more food politics and real food recipes on Food Renegade.com.