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By: Scott Trautman
Copyright © 2009  Trautman Family Farms
Evil is as strong a word as one can use. It is not a word I, or anyone else should use lightly. I have avoided it a long time in this situation — hoping against hope — that Steve Ingham, Cheryl Daniels, Tom Lietzke & Jackie Owens would find “better data” — reconsider their position — and what it means to Wisconsin — and find a way to work more sensibly.

They have not, they will not, and they have to go, period.

They understand what they do — and they, with purpose and malice misrepresent the Raw Milk situation — while it is in their professional responsibility to understand the situation and make sensible decisions — if it is for the benefit of the whole of Wisconsin, rather than whatever personal agenda they might have.

In this situation — and others like it — most especially as it relates to dairy farmers — it is about the application of unfettered — unobserved — power over good people in order to exterminate their will and desire to survive and grow. Why dairy farmers? Because they can. The bully bullies those they can — not those that can defend themselves.

Food Safety does not like me one tiny bit and has shown every indication that as I speak out and shine the light on them — they will find a way to silence me.

Just this last week: When I was apparent to them I wasn’t going to take their “deal” — it was brought up — how even should I desire to simply ship milk — that getting my Grade A license back was “going to be a problem” — that my parlor was unusual and “just so I knew” — would need to be reinspected and I ought to have a “heads up” that additional work might be needed. This even though the design was approved, my facility inspected now 4 additional times with no complaint.

When asked about that — why — their answer about the inspector — the inspection — “a training issue”. So the inspector has a training issue — and what an interesting conversation that had to be with that inspector — that training issue is going to be a job search issue if he didn’t find a way to continue to harass us. Interesting conversation the Food Safety goons had with this inspector, Food Safety having never seen our facility. How does the conversation go — to find this facility problem — when all inspections were cleared to this point. The question has to be asked — “how do we get this guy — what can you think of that we can hold over this guy — to let him know that continued resistance is going to mean untold pain for him”. There is no other logical, reasonable explanation. Yet given Food Safety’s comfort with lies and manipulation, somehow — like this “training issue” — they will find some way to extract a reason that someone’s going to buy.

Multiply this across the state of Wisconsin. Others — innovators — that would try and better themselves, to find this incredibly obstructive group of people. Think as an entrepreneur does: these people are going to double the cost of my project and leave it in uncertainty. Do I really want to risk that? How much innovation — how many jobs — how much of our dairy future for small farms has been crushed forever by these people, in their power that clearly is not overseen by anyone that really understands? Huge.

Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an assistant administrator with USDA Food Safety — speaking to his responsibility — responsibility — “I have to look at the entire industry, not just what is best for public health”. So what was he talking about? This disgusting ground beef situation — where this terrible situation is created for a probability of large scale food-borne illness, he is looking at the big picture. Including a Wisconsin plant that produces an ammonia treated meat paste found in this disgusting mix.

Yet here we are in Wisconsin — with our Food Safety surely claiming they are looking out for all interest — yet somehow manipulating this situation to leave people believing that Raw Milk is a huge threat. It is their JOB to understand the level of threat — and no objective investigation of raw milk can conclude that there is imminent danger to a massive outbreak. And “the industry” — in this case besieged family dairy farmers struggling to survive — they view this only as a strategic time to attack — to get to the least amount of resistance. Sick is what it is.

Food Safety has manipulated the Zinnicker situation — a tragedy where it is alleged — and for purpose of argument say it even was — the cause of 35 people becoming sick – to leave in your mind — the public — that ALL raw milk is UNSAFE at ALL TIMES.

They go out of their way — irresponsibly — with malice in mind — to NOT address just how many people drink raw milk in Wisconsin on a daily basis. Best estimates are about 2% of the population. Then how much news is this story? Is it the same story as Food Safety’s press release? Hardly. It becomes what it is — their propaganda campaign to eradicate family farmers at a time of incredible vulnerability.

The Zinnicker press release — was sent to every Organic Valley farmer — and every NFO producer — I being a former NFO producer — cancelled supposedly for suspicion of selling raw milk — to spread fear amoungst all their dairy farmers. There could be no other purpose.

This is why they have to go. They DO understand what they are doing at Food Safety — and they do not have the public’s interest at heart — they appear to have big milk processors interests alone in mind — and to this point they have gotten away with murder — the murder of untold family farms, an extermination they continue.

So let us talk about Zinnickers: Upon my superficial review, if Food Safety and the state of Wisconsin provided us with sensible guidance, this situation may well have never occurred at all. It wasn’t mentioned — funny that — from the press release by Food Safety — and apparently not questioned by any reporter – that they have been providing raw milk for 20 years without a problem. Even, from that day — 35 people sick if you accept that — what percent of the people from that day? They serve a large number of people. Also understand that those that choose to drink raw milk would also be likely to make similar other food choices.

Yet understand this clearly: In ANY investigation of food-borne illness, upon reaching the question — and reply to the affirmative – of “Do you drink raw milk?” — the investigation for a cause is then over.

Anyone sick is always a tragedy. If there were preventable causes, then we need to look at those causes and look to prevent a future problem. But not with raw milk — Food Safety keeps repeating the lie over and over again: Do not drink raw milk. This war they have going against family dairy farmers did not start AFTER Zinnickers — it was started BEFORE — in April in earnest — but seriously with the hiring of Steve Ingham.

Jackie Owens is quoted at an interstate milk shippers conference saying “we are glad to have Steve Ingham as head of our department — so we can finally get aggressive against raw milk producers”. That quote is inexact — funny, Jackie Owens refuses to tell me the exact quote, like so very much more they refuse to answer. They just continue to attack family dairy farmers — and spread their fear and hatred far and wide. To leave it in the minds of everyone that raw milk is something to be feared. Especially heinous is that “a lot of kids were made sick”. Very emotional — and their RESPONSIBILITY is to be ABOVE emotional and deal with FACTS and the big picture, and be responsible for allocating their time towards the most important issues of public health.

Raw milk is to be respected, like all foods. And it does have its own special circumstances that need to be responsibly looked at. We — in unity of purpose — safety for all — need sensible people at Food Safety, not these people who have their own agenda and will say and do anything to get it done, for whatever sick reasons they do.

I have begged. Others have begged. Others have been crushed and gone away — looked elsewhere to innovate and grow Wisconsin dairy – beyond Raw milk — the whole Artisan movement — that has been artificially squelched, kept smaller than the hearts and will of a creative and energetic force of talented people would have it.

Rod Nuelstein knows what Food Safety is doing. He approves of it. He needs to go. He does not represent the future, or the present of serving people — he and Food Safety represent tyranny and fear. Governor Doyle, hear us, look into this thoroughly — do not believe their smiles and condescending words. Understand we need forward thinking — decent human beings — that will work WITH us instead of applying power against us, in unity of purpose to have the best in mind for all people, instead of whatever terrible agenda they have.

SEE what happens — see how we grow Wisconsin family dairy farms — dairy industry — innovate — create jobs — with a group up there that lives the intent of the law — and doesn’t use the law to express power over the powerless. We need it NOW.

Where I ask for education – Food Safety says trust us, do not look further — fear. Replace them — save family dairy farms NOW. It is within our power to start this TODAY. Fire Steve Ingham, Cheryl Daniels, Tom Lietzke and Jackie Owens. Replace Rod Nuelstein. Wisconsin cannot afford their tyranny. When you do — only then will you start to hear the horror stories of what their regime has meant to Wisconsin. Anyone under their boot lives in fear — of what they will do — how they will use their powers against anyone that would dare question them, like me.

Scott Trautman, PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman and Citizen