Millers Sign IMG_7105 copyU.S. District Court Judge Edward G. Smith used the start of the Independence Day weekend to issue an inspection order that Miller’s Organic Farm allow federal regulators in, accompanied by law enforcement, beginning July 11.

The inspection, by agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Food Safety and Inspection Service, “shall continue day-to-day until complete,” the four-page order states, with the proviso that “USDA/FSIS shall complete the inspection with reasonable promptness.”

How are the safety and other “violations” the inspectors are nearly certain to find to be treated? According to the order, “within 90 days of completing their inspection, USDA/FSIS officers may return to Miller’s Organic Farm to determine whether any violations found have been cured. Officers shall not require any further order of court as authority to conduct this follow-up inspection.”

Of course, the USDA could use any violations it uncovers during the initial inspection beginning July 11 as an excuse to shut down the farm immediately.

The terms of the order itself require that “within ten days of the completion of all activities authorized in this Order, the United States shall file a brief report concerning the status of this matter. If defendants have complied with this Court’s Order and the administrative subpoena, this matter will be dismissed.”

While the order may be dismissed, the repercussions of the inspections will likely continue for a long while. In addition to a shutdown, there could well be fines, injunctions, and further investigations—the beat will likely continue on.  You just know that after jumping through all the hoops the regulators jumped through to get this order, they aren’t going home empty-handed.

Judge Smith threw Miller a legal bone by requiring that “USDA will not infringe on defendants’ First Amendment right to freedom of expressive association.” I presume that means Miller’s members are free to get together and jump up and down to show how pissed off they are about what is happening to their farmer.

Remember, the regulators have had Miller in their sights for years. It took the disorder and confusion of last November’s Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference to provide them with the opportunity they had been seeking for years. They used animosities within the food rights movement to launch a raid, confiscate Miller’s milk, and then tenuously tie it to two serious illnesses in immune-suppressed individuals, and they were off to the races. It has all culminated in the carefully choreographed smiling-judge court hearing in Easton, PA, last week.

Nor are they about to let Amos Miller off easily, now that they finally have him in their grasp. Sure, they will try to emulate Judge Smith’s nice-guy attitude, but behind the smiles and “respect,” the regulators know exactly where they are going. It’s difficult to see a happy ending, without Miller’s association members taking up his cause in a big way.