We are asking all New York supporters of raw milk to show up for hearings in Albany and Waterloo on this important raw milk case.
Since March 2007, Meadowsweet Dairy LLC has been operating as a duly formed limited liability company in the State of New York. Meadowsweet Dairy LLC has only one asset, a herd of dairy cows. The LLC and its members have an agreement with us, Steve and Barbara Smith, to tend to, manage and take care of the herd for the benefit of the LLC’s members and the members have an equity interest in the LLC in the form of raw milk and raw dairy products produced by the LLC’s herd and processed by us. All of this is being done without permits or licenses and the State of New York does not like this. Not at all.
Since March 2007, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets has been trying to pressure us and Meadowsweet Dairy LLC out of business. For example, they have conducted numerous inspections, seized products, ordered the destruction of 260 pounds of raw dairy products, attempted to search our house, issued letters threatening fines and penalties, and have now issued an order requiring us and Meadowsweet Dairy LLC to show cause why the Department of Agriculture and Markets should not shut down the operation and levy fines. That show-cause order is now set for a hearing and a show down looms over whether the State’s police power extends to a group of private citizens who produce and consume their own food of their own choice.
This important case has been taken by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. We are finally at the point of confronting the Department of Agriculture and Markets face to face in the next two weeks! The first date is at a hearing in the Ag and Markets offices in Albany on JANUARY 17 at 11AM.
We would be very grateful to have an ENORMOUS show of support at this hearing! This is an administrative hearing at which they are considering ordering us to CEASE AND DESIST from providing milk to the LLC members. The outcome is very likely to go against us because even though the state of New York hasn’t a shred of evidence to prove they are “selling” milk, the hearing officer seems to be very fearful of going out on a limb against Ag and Markets. She has already indicated this by her complete unwillingness to postpone the hearing at the request of our lawyer (he had a personal conflict with the date).
The second date is JANUARY 22 at 1:30 in Seneca County Court in Waterloo, NY. At this hearing the judge will consider issuing a preliminary injunction against Ag and Markets to keep them from further harassing us until the whole matter is resolved. Again, the more people who attend this hearing the better! We want to really pack the room!
ACTION TO TAKE
Be there! This is a case that will have repercussions for cow-share and herd-share agreements throughout the US. A large presence of raw milk supporters can make a big difference.
January 17, 11 AM
Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive
(Right next to the airport)
January 22, 1:30 PM
Seneca County Court
48 West Williams Street