Defendant's dad testifies in raw milk trial - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Defendant's dad testifies in raw milk trial

Vernon Hershberger sits by his attorneys during his trial in Baraboo. Vernon Hershberger sits by his attorneys during his trial in Baraboo.

BARABOO (WKOW) -- Thursday marked day four in the trial of Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and the defense called its first witnesses.

Raw milk advocates have jumped to Hershberger's defense this week, but the state maintains this trial isn't about health concerns over raw milk, it's about his lack of proper licenses. In fact, the judge has ruled any health benefits of raw milk can't be brought up in court.

Nevertheless, dozens of Hershberger's supporters packed into the courtroom Thursday. Many believe this trial could still set a precedent.

Vernon Hershberger's father, Daniel, was among the witnesses called by the defense. He told the court about the family's roots in an Amish farming community, before their move to Sauk County.

"If a person comes to our farm and he's a non-member, he will not be buying food but he will not go away hungry, understand that. But as far as being part of the farm, there is compensation to become a member," Daniel Hershberger said about his son's Loganville farm.

The defense seems to be focusing on whether Hershberger was selling dairy and dairy products to the public or sharing them with farm members and the community.

The trial is going slower than expected, it was supposed to wrap up tomorrow, but it's unclear now if it will be extended into the weekend or next week.

Hershberger faces four counts including operating a dairy plant and retail eatery without a license, operating as a milk producer without a license and violation of a food holding order.

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