WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION
April 5, 2006
The Akron, OH chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation is seeking donations for its general fund that will also assist in its ongoing legal defense of dairy farm herd share managers and its efforts to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk in the state of Ohio. Herd share managers are under relentless attack by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the farmers are facing closure, loss of livelihood, fines and possible jail time. It is imperative that the WAPF chapter has the financial and legal wherewithal to counter these attacks to allow the remaining herd share managers to continue to provide clean, unpasteurized milk to their share owners.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is employing various tactics in its campaign, including sending undercover enforcement agents to entrap farmers into providing unpasteurized milk and then subsequently charging them with violating state branding and adulteration laws. The ODA is also revoking Grade A and B dairy licenses from farmers so entrapped and charged, in order to deprive them of income and to hold them up as an example to others. The ODA is furthermore attempting to blame unpasteurized milk consumption for two recent campylobacter cases, even though tests of the farm and milk in question returned negative results. The ODA has also most recently raided and seized fluid milk that a Kentucky farmer was attempting to deliver to shareholders in the Cincinnati area. The farmer was hospitalized and remains in poor health from the traumatic stress of the raid and interrogation.
The Akron chapter is assisting in the defense of Millersburg, OH farmer Arlie Stutzman, who has an April 17th court appearance resulting from an entrapment operation this past September. An undercover ODA agent arrived at the Stutzman farm asking for unpasteurized milk but was informed that such sales are illegal. However, Stutzman’s Amish background taught him to provide food to those in need and so offered to give the agent milk free of charge. After receiving the milk the agent handed Stutzman a two-dollar farm donation, and the resulting administrative hearings this past January resulted in Stutzman losing his Grade B dairy license. He has now been deprived of a significant source of income, and is still facing an April civil trial on a second-degree misdemeanor charge which could result in fines and jail time if convicted.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is also pursuing legal action against Versailles, OH farmers Paul and Carol Schmitmeyer. The Schmitmeyers own and operate a Grade A licensed dairy farm, and are managers of a herd owned by over 150 shareholders that represents 400 to 500 milk consumers. In January of this year two shareholders in a neighboring county were diagnosed with a campylobacter infection resulting in bloody diarrhea, cramping, fever and vomiting. One recovered quickly but the other was hospitalized for two weeks. Milk samples from the farm and the families tested negative for campylobacter, salmonella, and E. coli. In spite of the negative test results and circumstantial evidence of disease vectors other than milk, the ODA scheduled a deposition for the Schmitmeyers and requested all documents and receipts relating to their herd shareholders. It is obvious that the ODA is laying the groundwork for revoking another dairy license and terminating another herd share program in the near future.
“The Ohio Department of Agriculture is making it very clear that it has no qualms against stomping the life out of the farm-direct movement,” states Danna Seevers, Akron WAPF chapter co-leader. “These poor farmers are literally feeling hunted and can hardly sleep at night knowing it will only be a matter of time before the ODA strikes at their door, or worse yet the health department, with civil charges. Meanwhile, I’m afraid most consumers don’t even realize how close they are to losing access to these wonderful, health giving products.” Seevers adds that “Only by acting now can we hope to save the farms we have left and stop this onslaught against our farmers. We have to mount a coordinated, united defense and stop the ODA from picking them off one by one. We’re ready and willing to act, but we need everyone in Ohio and everyone who believes in the Weston A. Price Foundation to support us.”
Contributions can be sent to the WAPF Chapter Leader Christina Trecaso, 1889 Bender Lane Copley, OH 44321. Checks should be written to the Weston A. Price Foundation Ohio Chapter. Contributions can also be directly mailed or deposited at any National City Bank branch, account number 982754206. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Christina Trecaso, WAPF Akron Chapter Leader.
1889 Bender Lane Copley, OH 44321
Phone: (330) 665-5858 | Email: ctrecaso (at) yahoo.com