by Steve Eastman, Wait Til You Hear This
Lake View Natural Dairy Farm is popular in its community, a small town called Grand Marais in Northeastern Minnesota. It’s been in the Berglund family for close to a century. The farm’s reputation goes far beyond the local area, with some customers driving more than 200 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul. It is well-known for natural food, including raw milk, which many recognize for its health benefits.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) got into the act when the Berglunds briefly considered the idea of selling some of the milk for processing. The processor notified the MDA and suddenly Lake View Natural Dairy Farm was no longer operating under the radar. The MDA demanded an inspection. David and Heidi Berglund turned the agency down, citing the state constitution.
Article 13, section 7 states, “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor.” Also the MDA’s own website states, “Minnesota law allows the sale of unpasteurized milk so long as it occurs on the farm at which the milk was produced (interpreted from Statute 32.393, Subdivision 1).”
But the MDA, apparently operating under the philosophy of “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” started to inspect the farm without permission or warrant. When agents showed David Berglund their pictures, he filed a trespassing report.
Then the MDA went over his head and attempted to get Sheriff Mark Falk to provide deputies to accompany inspectors. He refused on constitutional grounds. After Falk retired, the MDA went back to its old tricks and tried to get his successor to help. The new interim sheriff also refused.
Everything comes to a head this coming Monday, March 9th at the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais. The MDA is pushing for a $500 a day fine until the Berglunds submit to an inspection. To win the inspectors’ approval, they would have to buy expensive pasteurization equipment. David Berglund is hoping the judge will agree that bureaucratic regulations cannot subvert the state constitution and Minnesota statutes.
© 2015 Wait Til You Hear This
Credit for photo on homepage: Lake View Natural Dairy Facebook page