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Lawmaker Blasts DATCP Probe of Farm Over Raw Milk
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/16/2010

A west-central Wisconsin lawmaker is expressing concern over demands by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and its effort to elicit evidence regarding raw milk sales in the form of a 'request for interrogatories and demand for production of documents.' According to Rep. Chris Danou, the request was made of Wayne and Janet Brunner of Waterville Township in rural Pepin County, who own Midvalleyvu Farm Inc.

"This extremely detailed request for information from DATCP seems over the top and overly burdensome," Danou said in a statement on Friday. "As a former police officer, I understand the need to enforce existing laws on the books, but this request seems more like harassment than an effort to enforce existing law. I find it troublesome that during a time in which dairy farmers in this state are hurting and milk prices are low, DATCP is doing all they can to suppress a niche market that could make the difference between some family farms succeeding or failing."

The DATCP requested 38 demands of the Brunners, including copies of all documents related to the bank accounts used to sell raw milk products; lists of names of people who supply feed, supplements, medications, cleaning supplies, and equipment utilized by the farm; a list of each cow brought onto the farm; and copies of all invoices for the purchases of glass dairy containers used by the Midvalleyvu farm.

Meanwhile, the Trempealeau Democrat says he is not the only local official with a background in law enforcement to express concerns with the issue. Pepin County Sheriff John Andrews says 'an arm of the state should not be trying to intimidate small businesses and family farms by demonizing their product and threatening their livelihood.'

Danou is sponsoring a bill that spells out guidelines for raw milk sales and does several things to protect consumer who purchase such products.

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