Posts from 9 July 2008

Well, thank God #10: Got Milk? edition

A while back in comments on GT 2008-05-14: Well, thank God #9: Income Taxi edition, John Markley said:

I’m disturbed by the whole idea that there are actually undercover agents hunting for unlicensed taxi drivers. The whole concept sounds like a wacky satire of Stalinist Russia.

But since when has a collapse into obviously inane self-parody ever stopped a government busybody from doing what they do best?

Meet Millersburg [Ohio] farmer Arlie Stutzman, who’s had a Grade B dairy license for 12 years, allowing him to sell milk to local cheese factories. On September 20, an undercover ag agent visited his farm and asked to buy a gallon of milk.

It’s a no-no for a farmer to sell milk directly, so Stutzman offered to just give it to the man if he were truly in need. But the guy insisted on leaving two bucks. The agent then fetched an unmarked container from his car and had Stutzman’s son fill it with milk. . . .

For the sin of selling in an unlabeled container, Stutzman had his license yanked. At an administrative hearing, he argued that the Amish faith taught him to share food with anybody in need, and asked that his penalty be reduced to a 60-day license suspension. His plea was rejected by department director Fred Dailey, who’s also mean to baby deer and people in wheelchairs. Stutzman now faces additional fines if convicted at an April 17 hearing.

I never realized that being generous and sharing food is a crime in Ohio, says Stutzman.

— Cleveland Scene (2006-03-08): Got bullshit?

Stutzman eventually got his license back after public uproar forced the Ohio Department of Agriculture to back down. But though in this case justice may have been tempered by mercy, I have to say thank God that the Ohio Department of Agriculture was there to bust Stutzman in the first place. If state agriculture departments weren’t out there every day making sure that customers have to patronize the right corporate milk distributors and retailers, who would? How could anyone be sure that customers are being forced to go through the proper agribusiness channels for their dairy products? Without state bureaucracies and their professional snitches to do the centralizing and the regulating, why, Amish farmers might be out there just giving out raw milk willy-nilly to odd passers-by. God, it’d be Anarchy!

It should never be forgotten that the Ohio Department of Agriculture is the thin blue line that keeps Ohioan customers away from the agricultural products that they are willing to pay for.

(Via Jeffrey Quick’s Blog 2006-03-09, via Mental Militia Forums 2006-03-09, via FSK 2008-07-04.)

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