One of the few things Amish farmer Amos Miller has had going for him in the legal sphere over the last seven years of his regulatory skirmishes is that he’s been politically nondenominational – not associated with either political party. In fact, it could be argued that he’s been equally targeted by both Republican and Democratic administrations. He’s been in trouble with the U.S. Department of Agriculture under both former presidents Obama and Trump in a case that has seemed to drag on endlessly.
But it was a U.S. Attorney under Trump who raised the stakes and the profile of the government’s long-running regulatory assault on Miller, and said he was determined to stamp out private food clubs. In 2019, U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a press release that the U.S. Department of Justice was filing “the first-ever suit of its kind where FSIS is seeking an injunction against a so-called ‘private membership association’ farm business to enforce food safety laws….my Office will not ignore efforts to evade federal food safety laws and to hinder agencies like FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Services) from carrying out their public safety missions. We will not allow commercial sellers to ignore the rule of law, make up their own sets of rules, and attempt to hide behind a private-membership-association structure in an effort to thwart federal laws.”
In the wake of that announcement, the USDA would convince a judge to shut down Miller’s meat-production and fine Miller $250.,000 for violating food safety laws (now up to $300,000). Miller has alternately hired local lawyers and served as his own lawyer to try to work out a compromise with the USDA that would allow his farm to gain an exemption permitted in the regulations.
But Miller hasn’t been able to finalize anything with the USDA agents, and in August, the Fox News commenter, Tucker Carlson, took up his cause, but with a surprise angle: he blamed the Biden Administration for Miller’s legal problems, interviewing a guest who edits a far-right site, who accused the government of denying people healthy food to weaken them. He also said that Miller is being set as an example because his farm doesn’t use gasoline, and is upsetting the government because America is under inflationary pressure caused by the Ukraine war (which the right wing hates because it loves Putin and excuses everything he does, including war crimes….but I digress). Carlson nodded appreciatively and added in his conspiracy theories about the evil nature of the Biden administration (Just as an aside, Carlson and his guest should have done themselves the favor of visiting Miller’s farm, and inhaling the diesel fumes from Miller’s large generator, which powers his huge refrigeration and freezer facilities, since the farm isn’t on the grid.)
In any event, the Tucker Carlson rants about Miller’s persecution by Biden led to an avalanche of donations to a legal fund to support Miller, nearly $165,000, well in excess of a stated goal of $150,000. It should be noted that that fund was in addition to previous funds set up to support Miller’s legal bills; at GiveSendGo there is a previous fund that raised $57,000 out of a goal of $305,000. Presumably that one went live before Tucker Carlson did his thing on Fox. One campaign that I promoted heavily on this blog last year raised about $144,000, intended to help Miller pay his then $250,000 fine.
The scent of all that cash sloshing around, more than $350,000, was apparently picked up in right-wing legal circles, and today Miller announced to his members: “God has answered our prayers for a fearless lawyer to represent Amos, to stand up for him and speak truth to power. Robert Barnes, a high profile attorney known for his work representing clients like Wesley Snipes and Children’s Health Defense, and his success in defending clients in civil, criminal, and constitutional law cases, has agreed to represent Amos! He has gotten Amos a continuance, meaning that Amos will not have to go to court on Monday, and we now have a month to work and plan before the next hearing. Robert Barnes will be there to defend him at that time.”
We’ll see how all that works out. Miller neglected to mention that Barnes’ high-profile clients have included, more recently, Alex Jones in his notorious defamation case by parents of Sandy Hook children murdered in a mass shooting. Apparently Barnes was a frequent guest on Jones’ InfoWars program; any number of Jones’ lawyers were fighting among themselves and with the judge, maybe because they lost the case so badly. Looking at Barnes’ web site, there’s nothing to indicate he’s had experience in regulatory cases involving food safety.
For another assessment of Amos Miller’s long and winding legal and regulatory journey, I suggest you take a look at this account and an accompanying editorial from a local publication, LancasterOnline.
If I were advising Miller, I’d tell him not to expect his relationship with Barnes to turn into a long-term one. Miller has never been a big fan of engaging and working with lawyers. Barnes similarly doesn’t seem to be the kind of contemplative low-key guy who might make a favorable impression on the judge in the case. I’d also advise Miller to guard against efforts to turn him into a political martyr. The Amish tend not to do well playing that role–if they participate at all in food rights vigils and demonstrations, it’s always at the edge of the crowd, nearly in the background. I’d also advise Miller to caution his lawyer against using the Tucker Carlson anti-Biden rants, because judges at a minimum want lawyers to be accurate in their presentation of evidence.
Thank you, David, for this article and the links to two more from the Lancaster area. One of the local articles mentioned a linkage of raw milk to a cluster of two listeriosis cases, the only one reported in CDC NORS from 2005 to 2020. I recommend that your readers put this cluster in perspective with data and statistical analysis from a recent systematic review (Sebastianski et al., 2022, https://link.springer.com/article/10.17269/s41997-022-00614-y). The authors report the data in Tables 1 and 2 and these statistical results: “Listeria monocytogenes was more likely to be the causative agent in pasteurized outbreaks (Listeria: n=10/12, 83% versus non-Listeria: n=2/12, 17%; p<0.001) and the proportions of hospitalizations and deaths were higher in pasteurized than in unpasteurized outbreaks (pasteurized: n=134/284, 47% vs. unpasteurized: n=124/530, 23%, p<0.01; pasteurized: 17/284, 6% vs. unpasteurized: 5/530, 0.9%, p<0.01) respectively.” I also encourage your readers to compare the data and the authors’ conclusions. Might this be another example of pro-pasteurization bias?
Yes, good point about those two listeriosis cases. As I reported in a couple of posts, those two cases were highly questionable, affecting individuals being treated for other diseases.
The FDA is just another unelected deep state criminal org usurping freedom. Doesn’t matter the administration. The unelected bureaucracy has garnered power and control, while losing it’s public servant mindset.
Yes, your advice to Amos “to guard against efforts to turn him into a political martyr” is advice. I so hope the case turns in his favor. Something I think most if not all readers of your blog agree upon is that we need autonomy in choosing what food to eat and how we choose to procure it.
You’re correct. Pretty much everyone here wants food freedom/autonomy. My concern with Amos is that his newest proponents, who helped him raise substantial new funds, did it on the basis of partisan politics, and incorrect information backing up their partisanship, rather than on the principles of food freedom that Amos has spent years battling for. Will Tucker Carlson and the others at Fox News still be there when they realize that the MAGA Republicans really favor the principles of hyper regulation described in the 2019 Department of Justice announcement I linked to that announced the stepped up legal action against Amos Miller? (To wit, Trump’s DOJ promised in going after Amos that it “will not ignore efforts to evade federal food safety laws and to hinder agencies like FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Services) from carrying out their public safety missions. We will not allow commercial sellers to ignore the rule of law, make up their own sets of rules, and attempt to hide behind a private-membership-association structure in an effort to thwart federal laws.”)
Sadly, I believe your fears are well-founded.
Seriously I find your politicization of this issue very offensive. You make it obvious that you have a problem with the Maga movement and we’re sick of being insulted from every single ignorant venue. I’ve been an advocate of raw milk and nutrient dense food for 20 years now. It took you some effort to identify that the regulations were altered under President Trump but he had plenty of people working under him that worked against him and did not represent the views of Maga or of the President himself. it’s only under Biden that Amos Miller’s Farm has once again become attacked by the politicized agencies of Biden. Tucker Carlson is the only mainstream media voice talking about food safety and food Freedom matters in the MSM. Your forum is not going to be the only place where Amos Miller gets support sir and you’re the one politicizing the issue by injecting your personal view
( I.E that Maga is Extreme !!! Right! how extreme is it to be in opposition to critical race Theory being taught to elementary school children ? opposed to Drag Queen Story Hour in elementary school and no parental consent needed for genital mutilation IE sexual reassignment protocols being recommended to and made available for Elementary -and younger!!! check Newsom) age school children, to favor adequate identification and basic knowledge of the people and the systems running the country to qualify a person to vote, the right to make your own Healthcare choices for your body and to be safe from politically motivated searches of your home as per the Fourth Amendment… the truth is that the Maga platform is common sense and pro the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
None of those concerns would be protected by a rino or any of the other political people who are all working towards a One World Government and being funded by our tax dollars and monetary scams that steal from the people and donate to the would be oppressors of whatever claimed allegiance.
I am so fed up with every opinionated anti-trumper using their platforms to denigrate and mischaracterize a movement that’s necessary to the ultimate freedom of American people and yes -the availability of real food.
Any conscious person can see that President Trump was (and is still) being attacked 24/7 and that an anti food Freedom regulation is no way in character with his actions or the values the movement represents.
There are thousands of stay behind administrative officials as well as turncoat appointees who worked against this President and still his leadership produced the safest and most economically strong
Era for the American people in my lifetime
Also we did not have any wars other than the one being waged by the former administration’s and the globalist would be tyrants using their fully controlled media and their armies of paid political antagonists in the streets and in the bully pulpits everywhere against this President and to punish his supporters for their political choice.
This movement has been forced upon the people by the indifferent and even punitive attitudes of fake Representatives who advance the agenda of their unseen donors against the health and well-being and the future of American people and their families. A political movement of this magnitude is the only way it can be stopped or even slowed down and we don’t need nitpickers with personality complaints trying to break it down from the inside because once it’s gone there will be nothing between us and the clear intent to destroy this country and reduce us to slaves. Maga are part of a peaceful but determined movement to restore our country to a place where all people who follow the basic Common Sense rules
and restrict the practice of their sexual proclivities to consenting adults rather than try to widen the arena of acceptance to pedophilia by renaming it things like “minor attracted persons”
Really Mr Gumpert Who are the political extremists? are we just to allow them to destroy our country and use our children for whatever purpose they desire because they’re sure not getting an education in foundational skills in those schools that our tax dollars pay for. It is the “Democrat” party that is the extremist agency pushing our Society towards degeneracy and using the mainstream media to dress their activities in the guise of normalcy while attacking with pure LIES a movement of people who want a healthy environment mentally emotionally and physically for ALL people going forward.
Perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I should have been, but in my post about the new lawyer Amos Miller has hired, I took issue mainly with the lawyer’s apparent lack of qualifications in such a case–namely, that he has no known expertise in handling food regulation cases, and that he’s been involved on the losing side of cases involving extremist Alex Jones. You say it took me “some effort” to identify the Trump administration’s assault on food clubs, but in fact, I wrote about it right when it was announced by the Department of Justice in a major press release; here is my article:
As for all your hysterics about critical race theory, “genital mutilation,” and a bunch of other political issues, I never mentioned them.
“You Will Own Nothing and Be Happy” … Beware climate change extremism and its ultimate left leaning political objective. The Dutch government is preparing to buy out livestock farmers in order to achieve its insane and bogus climate objectives. According to The Irish Farmers Journal a spokesperson for the Dutch ministry of agriculture was quoted, “In some cases, we’ll have to ask farmers to stop farming. The environment cannot handle so many farmers”.
The lady in the above video has got it right in that her Dutch government, “consist of a bunch of inhumane greedy liars and thief’s” Indeed, that description would equally apply to the Liberal/NDP coalition government in Canada.
I just returned home after spending three days at UC Davis and the International Milk Genomics Consortium conference. It’s my tenth conference attending all over the world. I am the only farmer that attends along with hundreds of Phd researchers from all over the world.
This year was affirming. Every presentation affirmed the bioactive health giving properties of whole raw milk. Several of the presentations attempted to argue that HPP ( high pressure ) processing preserves the living elements found in raw milk the processors are squirming that their sales are falling because pasteurized dairy products don’t sell well. Meanwhile raw dairy is thriving where ever it is legal.
So much effort spent on raw fats. Skim is the devil. Yet… baby food makers use skim milk and corn sugars. Both are associated with poor brain development and gut biome disruption and inflammation. On and on…
One great statement … raw milk is the most anti inflammatory food on earth.
I made many comments and spoke on serious questions at the microphone.
I have never been more affirmed by science than I am now.
Rawmilk thrives when it is pathogen free and low risk. That’s the key. Make people sick with raw milk and it’s a dead end.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is right on the mark with this article
“The question is why the (New York) Times enables and encourages them? It has to be about control. Maybe this is their version of an October surprise. Maybe they want to look ever more ridiculous to anyone who doesn’t live in a coastal city. Maybe it’s all about selling vaccines. I don’t know how else to explain it. Regardless, it is grotesquely irresponsible… At some point, the ruling class has to bow to reality and science. The country embarked on a disastrous path 30 months ago. All we can do now is admit and try our best to restore freedom and constitutional government, even in the midst of the crisis caused almost entirely by the pandemic response.”
Indeed, and the ruling class needs to set aside their haughty, dictatorial, overbearing, arrogant attitude and demonstrate some very much needed common sense…
“The vegan crowd for a long time has presented itself as the caring movement, the loving movement, the ones who eschew violence. After all, biting into a carrot is certainly not as violent as shedding blood and then eating muscle and sinew.
Warriors eat meat. Caring people don’t. You know the verbiage.
With all this in mind, I had quite a chuckle over the latest kerfuffle at
Beyond Meat where the Chief Operating Officer has been suspended and arrested after allegedly biting a man’s nose and threatening to kill him. Beyond Meat, the plant-based vegan substitute for real food, is cutting about 20 percent of its work force amid abysmal sales reports. Just a couple of months ago the company projected a 12 percent growth for 2022, to between $470 million and $520 million, but instead revenue has plunged and it now expects a 10 percent decline in sales to a 2022 revenue of between $400 million and $425 million.”
I listen to Viva and Barns weekly.I trust Barns more than I do the writer of this article. Barns seems the type to be creative and really legally fight for his client. Seems to me like this writers main concern with Barns is he don’t like Barns Political affiliations. I urge folks to go on Rumble and Listen to Viva and Barns. A person can learn alot about our Courts and current events that way.
The question isn’t really about which writer or lawyer you trust. The question is: how is the judge going to react to whatever arguments the new lawyer introduces. Remember, the new lawyer will be coming into a case that has been going on for about five years. It’s actually well along, with the judge having tried various approaches to bring the parties (USDA and Amos Miller) together, and having finally thrown up his hands and preparing to impose a fine. Is this the time for the lawyer to come in kicking and screaming and introducing an entirely new legal argument, or is this the time to figure out how to negotiate a settlement that works for both sides? We’ll see, but my advisory to Amos was based on the reality of his legal situation rather than hoping for some entirely new legal theory to save the day.
Raw milk ban defies common sense
[ the fact that this article – below – was published in the Western Producer, a major farm magazine, signals something big is in the works for REAL MILK in Canada ]
The writer argues that banning the consumption of raw milk assumes Canadians are unable to assess the risks and make up their own minds.
There’s a legal way to consume raw milk in Canada: buy it in the United States and bring it home.
Of the 13 states bordering Canada, 12 have legal raw milk. More than 40 have it legal in some form, yet the U.S. has not had a death from raw milk in more than two decades.
This odd juxtaposition pulls back the curtain on Canada’s sacred cows and illiberal prohibition. While the federal government has legalized cannabis nationwide, Canadians are still not free to buy a safe, nutritious food consumed widely around the world.
Not only does raw milk prohibition favour rent-seeking agendas and the regulatory state, but lobbying groups are also misleading the public. To prop up the economic albatross against small, independent farms, Canadian law describes unpasteurized milk as a “health hazard.” B.C. Dairy also contends: “There is no evidence that raw milk has any health or nutritional benefits over pasteurized milk.”
Both claims indicate ulterior motives and fall flat under cursory examination.
The first assumes Canadians are too dumb to assess the risks and make up their own minds. The alleged dangers of raw milk will be news to the countless communities and families worldwide, including my own in New Zealand, who have grown up on raw milk for generations. Meanwhile, all manner of sugar- and additive-laden junk food is available at one’s fingertips. It’s an order of magnitude safer than fish, shellfish and eggs, all of which are readily available raw.
The second, regarding nutritional benefits, is dishonest and easily refuted. The Belfast Telegraph reports that “scientists at the University of London gave children a couple of glasses of raw milk a week. They found that it seemed to cut their chances of developing hay fever by 10 percent and eczema by 38 percent,” among other benefits. WebMD reports a positive impact on one’s immune system, highlighted by Amish communities: “The hope is that we can isolate the protective factor in raw milk.”
What motivates the relevant regulators and industry lobbies is leaking out little by little: their bureaucratic scope and privileged market status as incumbents and gatekeepers.
As explained by Sally Fallon Morell at a recent Weston A. Price Foundation conference, regulators would struggle to oversee decentralized milk suppliers. The regulator’s raison d’être depends on centralized supply chains where inspectors can easily place their stamp of approval.
Legal raw milk allows and favours sales direct from the farm, which cuts out the middleman and inspectors. It enables heightened scrutiny and accountability of each farmer from the consumer but not from the regulator.
As well, many farmers profit from Canada’s archaic supply-management protectionism, even if it drives 200,000 Canadians into poverty. As good cronies, they ally with regulators to maintain barriers to entry and the golden goose for incumbents. It translates to roughly $438 extra taken annually from each Canadian family.
Similarly, dairy processors face a zero-sum game for market share. A litre of milk bought directly from the farmer is a litre without the processors’ overhead. That explains why the Dairy Processors Association of Canada has become an arm of the regulatory state, wedded to supply management.
Canada’s quiet dictatorship over milk is standing firm for self-interest, not for Canadians. U.S. states have gradually come to their senses and liberalized, but Canada has remained obstinate. As Karen Selick wrote for the Financial Post, “it’s time for the federal and provincial legislatures to pay attention, just as they finally did with marijuana, and remove this thorn from everyone’s side.”
Fergus Hodgson is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. This op-ed first appeared on Troy Media. It has been edited for length.
a video on Youtube of an old interview by National Public Radio, with Mark McAffee talking about how Organic Pastures got started. 19 minutes
as of December 2022
An Amish farmer is back to be able to sell raw milk and meat after a US Appeals Court dropped a $300,000 fine against him is allowing him to resume selling raw milk meat.
Amos Miller does not use antibacterial chemicals to sterilize his products, which means it is considered “adulterated,” by the USDA.
According to Food Safety News, in a deal negotiated by Miller’s lawyer last week, the $300,000 in fines was negotiated down to $55,000 payable over the next six months and Miller’s contempt of court hearing has been canceled, with the case having been put in stay and abeyance, provided that the farmer makes the payments.
Earlier this year, Amos’s farm, located in the Amish village of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, which has been operating for nearly 30 years, was raided by armed federal agents who demanded he cease operations for allegedly failing to comply with federal regulations. His claim is that the regulations of the USDA are not actually good for the food he produces. A federal judge ordered the farmer to stop selling his product.
Miller’s spokeswoman Anke Meyn told the Return To Now blog, “The USDA processing plants require the meat to be treated with a chemical cocktail of citric acid, lactic acid and peracetic acid. It’s not citric acid from oranges or lactic acid from sauerkraut. It’s all created in a lab. It’s a synthetic sterilizer that causes many health problems.”
The judge had sentenced Miller to jail for “contempt of court,” a trial for which was due to begin December 16, and was going to shut down his farm if he did not pay in excess of $300,000 in fines. His attorney Robert Barnes said in an interview, “Amos Miller will not be spending Christmas in jail and is no longer facing imminent bankruptcy.”
Miller will also be allowed to sell meat that’s been locked up in his freezers “so his farm can survive economically while a longer-term solution is negotiated.” Miller has customers from all over the US as part of his private food club for his organic meat and dairy products.
“The long-term solution is to enact a ‘custom exception plan’ that allows people to get the food they want, and farmers to make it the way they want, without the government overseeing it,” Barnes said.
“Here you have a case of people saying, ‘I don’t want food the way the USDA wants it,’ and ‘they’re saying nope, you can’t have it that way,’” Barnes said.
Barnes said regarding Miller’s private, farm-share-buying club, “If you’re shopping at Miller’s farm, you’re not doing it by accident. Amos Miller doesn’t sell food to anyone who doesn’t want it exactly how he’s making it.”
“The USDA wants to take what was supposed to be an interstate labeling law and use it to regulate what foods you can and cannot put into your own body,” he continued.
“Look at any study of the Amish and you will find by almost any health metric, they are healthier than the people living off USDA-approved food. And the USDA, you know what they think is healthy? Bill Gates’ synthetic corn … his fake beef.”
“This is about the USDA’s attempt to monopolize our food supply, and they targeted an Amish farmer to set the precedent.”
Though the Amish typically eschew publicity, Pennsylvania farmer Amos Miller decided to take on the USDA in the media over the agency’s targeting of him and other small organic farmers for the sale of raw milk and meat
This case has become so confusing and convoluted that it’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on. The warring factions don’t help a lot with their contradictory explanations. It does seems as if Amos Miller’s new lawyer has made some progress in reducing the immediate financial penalty down from $300,000, and in the process putting off any possibility of Miller being jailed for contempt of court. It should be noted that previous lawyers for Miller have gotten delays in paying any fines, only to see the judge reintroduce them after being convinced by the government lawyers that Miller wasn’t making a sincere effort to fix other problems the court agreed should be fixed. It’s not clear now by how much the fines have been reduced, and it’s hard to know which of the warring factions to believe.
-The site you quote from (but for whatever reason don’t link to) is something called “Return to Now’ and it says the fine for Miller has been reduced to $55,000. It says Miller is now free to sell meat products.
-Food Safety News says the immediate fine and expenses total $85,000. It indicates that the fate of future payments is tied to all the current payments being made on time. And it says meat products not sold by Dec. 31 must be disposed of.
The big issue is what happens long term to end this seemingly endless legal process. The Return to Now site indicates the sides should negotiate a ‘custom exception plan,’ which would allow Miller to sell meat on a customized basis to food club members. This has been talked about for years, but negotiations on this between Miller and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have always broken down. Will it be different this time? Nothing I’ve seen suggests it will be.