Posted by morninglanddairy on March 31, 2011 at 1:09 AM
Dear Customers and Friends,
Morningland’s battle with the Missouri State Milk Board and the Missouri Attorney General’s office (who represents the milk board) continues.
On January 11th and 12th of this year, Morningland went to court in West Plains, Missouri. We were there for 10 hours each day, with many supportive friends in attendance at times. Judge David Dunlap seemed to be genuinely interested in the facts of the case, and we were hopeful of a real consideration of those facts by him. Despite two long days, we ran out of time for the closing arguments of the case, so the judge required the final arguments of both sides to be in to him by January 28th.
On February 23rd, Dunlap ruled in favor of the Missouri State Milk Board and against Morningland of the Ozarks, LLC. He ordered all of Morningland Dairy’s cheese inventory to be destroyed, for Morningland to pay court costs, and ordered Morningland to make several changes (some quite expensive) to the plant before getting back into business.
Despite expert testimony that there was no real indication of any harmful bacteria in our cheese and a lack of evidence for the judgments he made, Judge Dunlap apparently did not want to be confused by the facts. In his judgment he stated, "...the court must therefore disregard the absence of sickness among the consumers of defendant's cheeses."
On March 2nd we learned of the Missouri Milk Board’s intention to destroy our cheese on March 9th & 10th. Even though the judgment was not final until 30 days passed, and even though the board had been informed of our intention to request the judge to reconsider and our intention to appeal the judgment, they claimed that they must act quickly to protect the public from our cheese. They have also been informed that we at Morningland Dairy no longer sell to the public and have formed a 1st and 14th amendment private membership association, over which they have no jurisdiction, and that we only sell to members. The Missouri Milk Board, therefore, has no public to protect in our case! On March 8th a teleconference took place among the judge, the lawyer representing the attorney general’s office, and our FTCLDF lawyer, as well as Joseph & Denise Dixon. It was decided that we must put up a $2000 bond, and that the judge would decide within the next 5 days as to whether to grant a stay (keeping the state from destroying our cheese.) The judge actually made his decision by the next morning, granting the stay!
The Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund has agreed to continue defending us in these actions, for which we are very thankful.
We have now sent to the court our request for the judge to reconsider his decision, or, if not, for an appeal or new trial, including affidavits to give the judge more facts that show the error of his original decision. We wait now for an answer from the judge.
Meanwhile, we carry on. Joseph is working out-of-state to support us, and Jedadiah works to keep things in order on the farm. I, Denise, try to keep up with the paper work and phone calls (with the help of Jedadiah’s wife, Erin.) I have failed miserably in keeping you all informed of what has happened, and I apologize. I shall try to do better.
We all want to thank you for your support of Morningland Dairy. This battle we are in is NOT just about cheese. We feel strongly that we must not give in to the tyranny that is coming upon our land. We must not give in to those in power who would deprive us of our right to choose healthful food for our families and ourselves. One of the Missouri statutes that Judge Dunlap cited in his decision could set precedence for people being policed IN THEIR OWN HOMES as to what food they prepare and serve! (RSMo 196.595) We have a right and responsibility - given to us by God and according to the rules only He gave us- to choose what we shall eat and feed our families.
Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as having said:
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
We must not remain silent. In writing this letter, we ask for your further support. Of course we know, as David did when he said as he readied to face the giant, Goliath, “The battle is the Lord’s. “ Morningland Dairy is just one small business, and a distressed one at that, but, like David did, we must make the effort to do all that we can do, with our Father’s leading. He led us to seek help from you, and we know, therefore, that we could not have come this far without your support. We need continued help if we are to persevere in this battle. So, as before, we ask for your patience, your prayers, and your support. Thank you so much, and may our Heavenly Father bless you twofold more than you bless us!
In His service,
Joseph, Denise, Jedadiah, and the families of Morningland Dairy
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