Amish Farmer From Pennsylvania Can Continue Out-of-State Sales, Judge Rules

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
April 16, 2024US News
Amish Farmer From Pennsylvania Can Continue Out-of-State Sales, Judge Rules
Amish girl Linda Stoltzfus rakes up hay in one of her father's barns in Wakefield, Pa., on Oct. 22, 2003. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that Amish Lancaster County farmer Amos Miller can sell his products out-of-state, striking down a previous motion by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which would have restricted the sale of his products at any location.

Judge Thomas Sponaugle ruled on April 12 that regulated milk sales only apply state-wide and that any restrictions do not apply outside of the state.

“While Plaintiff may be correct that the Pennsylvania General Assembly meant to prevent any sales of raw milk without a permit to both in Commonwealth and out of Commonwealth buyers, Pennsylvania law regulating milk sales references within the Commonwealth … at the same time, other applicable regulations do not indicate ‘within the Commonwealth’,” the judge wrote.

In addition, the judge wrote that the court has no intention of “blurring the line” regarding raw milk sales in Pennsylvania and out-of-state.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture raided Mr. Miller’s organic farm in January following allegations of two food-borne illnesses—one in Michigan and another in New York—having originated from the farm. The allegations against Mr. Miller’s farm were later found to be false.

The Department of Agriculture subsequently sued Mr. Miller for selling his product out-of-state without licensing to do so.

Mr. Miller’s lawyer, Robert E. Barnes, argued during a court hearing in late February that the agriculture department “materially misled the court with perjured affidavits based on events that occurred many years before.”

Mr. Barnes also asserted that Mr. Miller’s farm has supplied thousands of customers over more than two decades without any record of complaints about food safety.

“The goal of this case was to make a precedent out of Amos Miller and to discourage small farmers from being in existence,” Mr. Barnes said in an interview with The Epoch Times last month.

“If they control our food, they can control the people.”

Furthermore, Mr. Barnes said the state action boils down to a more sinister agenda—removing independent farmers in favor of major players in the corporate industry.

“The state demanded the court prohibit all food sales everywhere that would make food illegal if not made by a government-approved facility,” said Mr. Barnes. “The state even demanded deliveries of food made at home be banned, even if for a potluck church picnic, Easter brunch, or Thanksgiving.”

Pennsylvania law states that permits may be granted to manufacture and sell raw milk and raw cheese. Surprisingly, however, this does not apply to other raw dairy products, such as butter, yogurt, and eggnog, which Mr. Miller distributes nationwide. A commercial ban on these products in the state is in place.

The previously imposed injunction brought Mr. Miller close to bankruptcy. The latest ruling, however, allows him to remain in business.

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