Hog Farmer Mark Baker to MI DNR: One More Time, Explain Genetic Purification


Mark Baker with one of his questionable pigs.Corporate hog producers and state agriculture regulators around the country are understood to be watching closely the legal case of Michigan hog farmer Mark Baker. 


What they are seeing is a highly tentative Michigan Department of Natural Resources, seemingly incapable of explaining what is wrong with the pigs Baker is raising, and was selling to high-end restaurants as recently as two years ago. That was before the DNR wrecked his business, along with that of many other farmers, with its Invasive Species Order, essentially banning wild, or “feral”, pigs, whether running wild or domesticated by farmers like Baker. The genetic traits listed by the order seemed to ban all pigs…. except the very few raised by corporate producers. 


Baker filed suit against the state, seeking clarification of the state’s order, and a judge rejected a state effort to dismiss the suit. He has also put on hold the DNR’s $700,000 fine of Baker for allegedly violating the ISO. 


At a hearing last week, an unusual scenario unfolded, in which the state appeared to want to let Baker off the hook, and Baker refused the vague initiative. In a video, Baker reported, “They say I have come into compliance. I have not done anything….When you hear that I have complied, I don’t want you to think I have broken under the pressure. I haven’t.” 


The state was seeking, once again last week, to have the case dismissed, but the state judge refused. The judge also refused a request from Baker for a jury trial when the case goes to trial March 11. 


According to Baker, a state prosecutor said the DNR determined from an earlier video, showing Baker holding a baby pig, that the pig was in compliance. “I don’t think they were wearing their bifocals. The pig I was holding up was a Mangelitsa,” which is one of the banned species. 

The state may have been confused as well by the fact that Baker reduced his pig herd a couple months ago to reduce his farm’s expenses. “We did, in fact, cull our Russian/Eurasian Boar looking sow and her daughters last December. However, we maintain our suit because the DNR has continued to deny us due process by refusing to define terms such as ‘hybrid,’ ‘domestic hog production,’ and ‘feral’ so that we can determine if our remaining pigs are legal or not. They continue to insist that how a pig looks determines its living arrangement.” 


“We won’t drop our lawsuit. We have not complied.”


On his web site, Baker made reference to the inconsistencies related to genetics: “They have never looked at our herd and have no real knowledge of their lineage. In all its vagaries, we are still unclear whether or not we are in compliance with the law. This is the question we had when this started and we continue to have.”


It seems reminiscent of the statement from U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart in a 1964 obscenity case, in which he stated that “hard-core pornography” was hard to define, but that “I know it when I see it.” 


A trial pitting Mark Baker vs. the Michigan DNR is set to go forward beginning Tuesday March 11, at the Missaukee County Courthouse, 111 Canal St, Lake City, MI. It’s scheduled to last four days. Everyone is invited to attend and show support for Mark Baker, and opposition to genetic purity laws for pigs that state regulators seem unable or unwilling to explain, except to say that they decide, on behalf of corporate producers, what is pure and what isn’t. 




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66 Comments on "Hog Farmer Mark Baker to MI DNR: One More Time, Explain Genetic Purification"

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Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 13, 2014 5:58 am

Wait is this about black vs white pigs, communist liberals, long haired hippie vs crew short haired crew cut types, or even about how the meat tastes? Bacon is good with raw milk and fresh baked bread but I remain befuddled. Suits Against The State, I saw them back up the Mongrels and Bakers Dozen (they went beep beep beep) I forget when.

February 13, 2014 6:16 pm

When the comments on a particular thread, such as THE NEGOTIATING ON RAW MILK STANDARDS HAS BEGUN, are so voluminous as to require a second page, your website does not allow quick access to that second page of comments. If I see a comment in the Recent Comments section and click on it, it takes me to the top of the first page and stops there. It took me a while to figure out that I need to scroll down to the bottom of the first page, click on the second square, then scroll down the second… Read more »

February 13, 2014 8:44 pm

good point, Lynn_M. I thought it was just me + my clunky old computer that had that problem.
… Also ; when a post starts with a URL link as the very first line, the reader cannot get in to that message because clicking on the URL takes you to it, right away, thus leaving the Complete Patient website

February 13, 2014 8:46 pm

This motion of Lynn_M’s is hereby seconded by myself.

If I may add some thoughts:
1. give each comment a permanent, unique number, in numerical order (for that TCP Post) and display that permanent, unique number in the TCP comment attribution line. (see below for an example)

who:Lynn_M | #3 | when: Thu, 02/13/2014 – 10:16 | reply

instead of the present:
who: Lynn_M | when: Thu, 02/13/2014 – 10:16 | reply

I’m sure there are others here at TCP with more clever and useful ideas.
I would think this through carefully, collecting ideas, ranking those ideas, & only then implement them.

I myself do not… Read more »

February 13, 2014 11:21 pm

the bright lights who govern West Virginia are addressing the crux of the raw milk thing = the chasm between State-ism and the core values of the Republic of the united States of America, as it was originally conceived : “shall the People be permitted to use + enjoy their own personal property? ”
… Remember, folks, if you need a licence to do something, that’s proof what you’re doing, is categorically illegal. Versus our watchword in ~ 1969 : “just do it”

Shawna Barr
February 14, 2014 12:51 am

Congratulations to Christine Anderson of Cast Iron Farm in Oregon! This is a win for food transparency .

February 14, 2014 1:13 am

very interesting that the article concludes with
… “Anderson, who tests her cow’s milk monthly for harmful bacteria, acknowledges that raw milk can make people sick.”
…my guess is : actually doing the chores and delivering the good stuff = she knows more about the issue than a certain commentator on this forum, who’s in denial.
… seemingly tiny, it’s a major victory for the Campaign for REAL MILK. “A spark can set on fire a whole forest” Good on you, Christine Anderson!

February 14, 2014 2:14 am

Great news David. Thanks for the speedy action.

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 2:58 am

I want to personally congratulate Christine Anderson for her win for raw milk access in Oregon. The article does not say something very important. Christine is LISTED with RAWMI and absolutely does a fantastic job of producing very clean and exceedingly safe low risk raw milk.


Her facilities are spotless and her RAMP plan is awesome. I have the pleasure of seeing her monthly bacteria counts and she is an outstanding producer of raw milk. NOW SHE CAN ADVERTISE like the rest of the civilized world that lives in our society!@!!!!!!!!

I am so proud of her. What a… Read more »

Shawna Barr
February 14, 2014 3:54 am

And Christine has been my mentor when creating our own RAMP. I referenced Christine’s website often when we were beginning our journey into raw milk production. Then one day the beautiful details of her husbandry and milk handling plan disappeared from her site. Apparently posting this information constituted “advertising” and was forbidden. What a shame.

Posting our practices in detail is one of the best things we can do to encourage positive dialogue among raw milk consumers, producers, and food safety regulators. Consumers can compare one farms practices to another and make better choices. Farmers can learn… Read more »

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 4:11 am


Thank you for saying that about raw milk.
Much has been said about the innate safety of raw milk…the ability for raw milk to control growth of pathogens and even kill off some of them. Under certain conditions perhaps some of this is true….but these are conditional statements.

But…until the producers of raw milk take the safety of their raw milk extremely seriously, I mean RAMP plan…I am saying passionately seriously, there will be problems and room for error. When we screw up, we offer those that do not like raw milk very much a real opportunity to use… Read more »

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 4:14 am

Feeding a consumer your raw milk is a sacred act of trust and love! It requires a very high level of commitment and should be taken very seriously.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 14, 2014 6:30 am

Nice changes on the comments section David, funny how the whole world can change while you take a nap (speaking for myself.) The Clunky Old Computers, I saw them back up the Beatles before HELP in Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me When I’m Commodore 64, with DOS and Windows 3.1 as the cover bands.

Good point about posting some text here before the actual link Gordon, I had pointed that out before, I forget when probably in the Ice Ages before the OldLympics started. BTW who is the person in denial? … Read more »

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 14, 2014 6:40 am

Shawna and Mark, your commentary here is a beacon in a haystack. Hope I don’t come across as advocating pathogens and bacteria as benign, but truth is you can’t completely eliminate that aspect of life in food and need to acknowledge and respect it vs expecting everything you ingest to be sterile and dead, that’s just not healthy in the long run. Dirt happens, plastic doesn’t.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 14, 2014 7:56 pm

No one is suggesting that you practice “looser sanitation” however focusing on sanitation alone is a loosing dead end struggle if tptb fail to address the true cause of illness.

If you backtrack to David’s article posted on October16, 2013 I made a comment with respect to your reply to Pete. I stated, “I applaud your effort to produce healthy raw milk. You have an excellent protocol”.

The reason why competitive exclusion keeps creeping into the discussion on this blog is due to accusations made by those disagreeing with Sally Fallon and the WAPF’s persistent endorsement of the process.
That being… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 15, 2014 2:19 am

What is also interesting about the CDC data base is that there are zero outbreaks in pasteurized milk involving the pathogen E.coli 0157:H7. This means that pasteurizing milk is very effective with killing this pathogen.

As for listeria, it is the most deadly pathogen–causes the most deaths regardless of food source. Thank goodness, for whatever reason, it does not appear to be the pathogen to worry about with fluid raw milk. Campy and E.coli 0157:H7 are the winners with raw milk.

For those persons who suffer a Listeria infection that does not resolve on its own,… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 15, 2014 2:24 am

Shawna, thank you for the contribution you make to this blog.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 15, 2014 4:34 am

“also interesting about the CDC data base is that there are zero outbreaks in pasteurized milk involving the pathogen E.coli 0157:H7. This means that pasteurizing milk is very effective with killing this pathogen. ”

It probably also means it’s very effective at killing EVERYTHING. If I choose to eat dead wood, I’ll just have some dead wood thank you. Anybody ever get sick from that? And thanks for not replying to my posts, it saves us lots of usless keystrokes and electron inflammations I’ll try and do the same. Oh the drama, is so hard to resist.… Read more »

mark mcafee
February 15, 2014 5:19 am

Great observation about ecoli 0157H7 and pasteurized milk. It really does demonstrate that the variables are many. We do know that Listeria loves a vacuum. In a pasteurization plant, there are many areas that provide for pseudamonas to start creating their little biofilms…next comes listeria, its ugly step sister. The cleaners used in pasteurization plants also tend to create the vacuum needed for listeria to flourish with out powerful competition.

Back to Ecoli 0157H7. in my humble opinion…it is the really bad guy to watch for in raw milk. The bacterial thresh hold for illness is low, the victums… Read more »

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 15, 2014 7:03 am

Mark, I am really struggling with the following paragraph you wrote.

Are you pointing out a contradiction between your observations and your US Davis PhD friends observations when you state, “So keep your ecoli 0157H7 in check by keeping your coliforms under constant surveillance and very low! At OPDC we have seen our biggest spikes with our cleanest milk filters ( meaning no fecal matter or manure in the milk ). The spikes do not come from fecal sources!!! They come from SCC and a cow with mastitis. According to the literature and our UC Davis PhD friends there is… Read more »

February 15, 2014 9:16 am

and here she is … right on cue & back from her tear-jerking performance in Ioway … without missing a step in her infamous song-and-dance … the hardest-working-gal-in-show-bizness-today … the mistress of materia medica her-self !!
… Lady = your schtick is a reprise of the Roman Papa act … you holding up the same old boilerplate statistics is akin to the shaman in his Dagon highhat, a’shakin’ that bogeyman-dead-puppet-onna-stick for all it’s worth. And with about as much effect as his mumbo~jumbo.
…The people who are getting well from drinking REAL MILK,… Read more »

February 15, 2014 3:11 pm

Being a farmer in the upper peninsula of Michigan for thirty years now, I feel that many here do not seem to grasp the seriousness of this situation. I truly believe that this puts our state as a testing ground for further restrictions on small farmers all across this country. The invasive species order placed on us farmers here in Michigan ( in regards to heritage breeds of hogs) is a total sham!!! So how does the DNR( damn near Russia) get allowed to involve themselves in agricultural affairs???? We do have a state dept. of agriculture here!!! I… Read more »

D. Smith
D. Smith
February 15, 2014 4:59 pm

As I stated before, Iowa doesn’t need much convincing so Mary was basically preaching to the choir and reinforcing their already vehement outlook on anything not mass produced by biGAG. IOW, she gave them ammunition for an already loaded cannon.

I just listened to a most interesting podcast over at the Lew Rockwell site. He interviews Bill Sardi (who has much information to share, all good stuff) and way at the end of the podcast he mentions how cattle ranchers should use garlic in any supplemental feed for animals as a way of helping to control bacteria… Read more »

mark mcafee
February 15, 2014 5:08 pm


To clarify:

Ecoli 0156h7 has yet to be found coming from inside of the udder. I am also saying that SCC and mastitis can drive coliforms crazy high…but the raw milk is not from unclean udders.

Yes…this may appear to be a contradiction….but just a little. It is actually clarifying of the true origins of ecoli 0157H7 and that coliforms are not always the predictor….but a pretty darn good one when considering other variables including super clean udders with the contradiction of very very clean milk filters. In other words….some have said erroneously, that “coliforms are shit in milk”. This… Read more »

February 15, 2014 6:06 pm

Dutchfarm, I will try to be at Mark Baker’s trial Tuesday March 11. What else can we do or say?
On Don and Ben’s podcast #55 David Questioned the Minnesota 17% per 10 year foodborne illness rate for raw milk by saying he’s met hundreds of raw milk consumers who have said they’ve never been sickened by raw milk. Ben seemed to disagree by saying “I assume you don’t know everyone that drinks raw milk.” but by making this statement he was in fact agreeing, you’d need to meet all 10 million raw milk consumers if you wanted… Read more »

February 15, 2014 6:10 pm

Mr john, why would you say that farm germs are foreign to city people? Isn’t this were our food comes from? Wouldn’t it more likely that city germs are foreign to the farm?
MrJohn, your beliefs may work for a lot of non-raw milk consumers. Some of them may even work on a few people who have dank raw milk all their lives but they don’t work at all for people who have switched to raw milk because they know how sick they were before. They have seen raw milks negative risk factor in action. They have no need… Read more »

February 15, 2014 6:11 pm

Ora Moose, if Mary says that an illness can by spread by human contact it can no longer be called foodborne. When you include human contact, your linkage to raw milk goes right out the window.

If Mary’s the best they can come up with year after year they are in effect admitting raw milk is a low risk food.

February 15, 2014 10:48 pm

Thank you for clarifying the paragraph Ken cited. I too was confused by it.

Is there any adverse health effect from drinking raw milk with a high SCC count and/or from a cow with mastitis? Is the taste adversely impacted? I presume the types of coliform that are associated with a high SCC count are not visible on a milk filter. Do they show up if the milk filter is tested?

If the raw milk tests as having near zero coliforms, then the concern about a high SCC count or E. Coli O1:H157 also approaches zero? … Read more »

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 15, 2014 11:58 pm

There are a number of factors that can cause a high SCC. Mastitis is one, it is however the most common. Mastitic milk has an off flavor (bitter/salty). I’ve drank it and farmers often feed to calves or pigs if available, providing the cow is not being treated with antibiotics . In fact one of the best ways to clear up a case of mastitis is to put a couple of calves on the cow and allow them to keep her milked out. Little pigs will do the trick as well, and as far as I’m concerned they do… Read more »

mark mcafee
February 16, 2014 12:17 am

According to the celebrated and five year vetted Michigan fresh milk working group report, Somatic cells are actually quite good for health and immunity. They are not alive, but serve a function. I am not an expert on SCC but generally speaking, mastitis does not confer illness to consumers. High SCC counts do tend to mess up flavor and shelf life. Campy is the exception. Mastitis is associated on rare occasion with campy.

One of our dairy vet PhD types needs to chyme in here about now.

February 16, 2014 4:12 am


You wrote “Mastitis is one, it is however the most common.” With the however in there, it sounds like you meant to say it is not the most common.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 16, 2014 8:47 am

Mastitis is the most common reason for an elevated somatic cell count, sometimes referred to as white blood cell or leukocyte counts. SCC is a reflection of an animal’s antibody status and is indicative of a healthy stress modulating and active immune system.

The following article is one of the best I have read on the topic. However, there is one hell of a lot of variation, speculation, and unanswered questions with respect to the results.

Colostrum milk has a high somatic cell count regardless of whether the udder is infected or not and will remain high for up to two… Read more »

February 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Yes, the news article that’s been pumped all over the twitterverse etc is “Damage that can be done by #rawmilk bacteria is incomprehensible: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20140211/NEWS10/302110087/Mother-warns-Iowa-against-raw-milk …”

“A California mother who almost lost her son to a bacterial infection urged Iowa lawmakers Monday not to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk.

” Mary McGonigle-Martin recounted how E. coli bacteria infected her son, Christopher, after she gave him unpasteurized milk, also known as raw milk. “The damage done by this bacteria is incomprehensible,” she said at a Statehouse hearing.”

Ms. McGonigle-Martin, I feel a deep sense of betrayal that you come into this forum and… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 7:57 pm

Thanks for posting this, Shelly, I had no idea that she was actively promoting to make raw-milk access totally illegal. I thought she was all for supporting safety standards & warning labels. The article that you posted is very disturbing, especially with the exaggerations in her story! I don’t recall her son having to have surgeries, according to her daily diary that she had previously posted on this forum. There are other claims that she made at that hearing that, as a medical person, I find very much exaggerated. Yes, her son had been… Read more »

February 16, 2014 9:17 pm

Shelly-D : Yours is a healthy response to realization that you’ve been had. Calling the one who testified in Ioway, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, is being too kind. Since the Garden of Eden, being betrayed by a lying-snake-in-the-grass is just politics-as-usual.

I disagree that the dairy cartel mouthpiece ought to be banned … first of all, that’s not a decision made by a show of hands. It’s up to the website owner. Me = I’m all for letting my adversaries speak, as long as I get equal opportunity. Problem is, when guys like… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 10:27 pm

Let me clarify by my statement of “As far as I am concerned….she no longer belongs on this forum!!”, it was not a statement that she should be banned, it was a statement of my personal feelings that she serves no purpose here considering the fact that this forum is pro-raw milk! My last question was a rhetorical question, not a question that needs an answer, instead it is a question for thought about why should she be here anymore. Her presence now serves no purpose as we now see her true intent. Very, very deceitful!!… Read more »

February 16, 2014 10:54 pm

I took a look, Deborah, and found that her true intent was displayed publically last year when she wrote the governor of Nevada in an open letter “Governor Sandoval: Don’t Legalize Raw Milk in Nevada” (May 28, 2013) – http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/05/letter-to-governor-sandoval-dont-legalize-raw-milk.

Plus she made a submission (“Raw Milk: A Mother’s Story”) to Montana’s legislature as part of a “raw milk legislative packet (summary and listing of documents at http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2013/Minutes/House/Exhibits/agh49a09.pdf).

And she contributed to a highly inflammatory (and by the looks of it, produced by an expensive graphics design firm) anti-raw-milk document being distributed by Iowa Public Health – http://www.iowapha.org/Resources/Documents/32%20Raw%20Milk.pdf

I don’t have… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 11:37 pm

Wow, Shelly, I was not aware of the extent of what she has done!! I wish I had the time to try to find an article that I came across over 2 yrs ago where she was being interviewed. In that interview, she said some very interesting things about her son’s health problems, of which, over time she has changed her story. In this particular interview, she had been asked what health issues that her son had & what did she do about them. She stated that her son had many stomach & digestive issues,… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 16, 2014 11:55 pm

Here you forgot one. I’m sure you would like to see me in action on T.V. http://www.kcci.com/news/politics/Iowans-argue-for-against-unpasteurized-milk/19107112 This was from last year. David posted it here. I guess you missed that.

Iowa brought a raw milk bill forward that has zero regulations. It is no different than having black market raw milk. This year was very anticlimactic. The bill was basically dead before it was even near a vote in committee. No one came to testify this year from the pro-raw milk side. I had a lovely talk with Jason Shultz… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 16, 2014 11:56 pm

And if my presence on this blog bothers you, just skip over what I post.

February 17, 2014 1:28 am

If you were not a hypocrite, #BlackmarketMary, you would be spending just as much if not more time campaigning for those children who fell ill or died due to e-coli listeria, campy, etc. from contaminated meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, greens, fruit, etc., because more children get sick per unit of consumption from these products than from raw milk. You would insist that no child eat any of these foods. But no, it is easier to vilify raw milk, because it is more controversial, a “niche product,” you get support of a big industrial-agriculture lobby group, and you… Read more »

Shawna Barr
February 17, 2014 1:30 am

Mary, would you mind explaining why you believe local is safer?

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 17, 2014 3:51 am

Shelly, foodborne illnesses are 100% preventable for any food that is cooked. When an illness occurs with eggs, it is because it wasn’t cooked properly. With meat or poultry, it wasn’t cooked properly or cross contamination happened. Prepackaged leafy greens are a huge issue. They should have a warning label. If people knew of the real danger, they would take the time to wash a head of lettuce or a bunch of spinach.

Shelly, have you broken down the data for these foods and the pathogen that caused the illnesses and compared it to… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 17, 2014 3:52 am

Shawna, I will answer you tomorrow.

mark mcafee
February 17, 2014 4:20 am

I just erased a 1000 word thesis about Mary and kids thriving on raw milk and how pregnant women thrive on raw milk and the CDC has zero data to show raw milk is associated with listeria.

I decided that I would preserve political progress instead.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 17, 2014 5:44 am


“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”. Helen Keller

In essence Mary, what you are saying is that it was and is wrong for me to feed raw milk to my children and grandchildren. I appreciate your concern however lets just leave it at that.

You would think that humanity aught to have learnt by now that using fear to toy with people’s minds doesn’t work.… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
February 19, 2014 8:58 pm

To get back on subject with this particular post of David’s, I would like to encourage everyone to help with donations for Mark Baker and his family. Here is a the link for the donation site: https://pledgie.com/campaigns/20620 but, you can also send him & his family a check to their address listed on their website. This family has been put through so much & it has had a devastating effect on their livelihood, peace of mind & quality of life. I and a few friends are putting together something special for their children as they,… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
February 26, 2014 2:20 am

Mark Baker is in need of immediate help. His make up court date was rescheduled to tomorrow 2/26, having been postponed from a week ago when the other side didn’t show up at the court house due to it snowing that day. You can help both in the form of supporting him by showing up at the court house for those that live in that area…see update here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChqDpgIf4Oc&list=UUeZKFIZGJGeo0ijo5MLObtQ&feature=share as well as, monetary donations…see details here: https://pledgie.com/campaigns/20620 Also, I am sure that everyone is aware of… Read more »