Michael Schmidt Vows: “People Will Get Their Milk”


Michael Schmidt greeting police and regulators during a raid on his farm in 2012.You knew when the Ontario Court of Appeal came back in a month with a decision in Michael Schmidt’s appeal of his conviction for violating the province’s dairy laws, it wouldn’t be good news. 


Judges and their courts don’t work that quickly….unless they see an opportunity to throw out an appeal and confirm a conviction.  When they want to set new precedents, they take their time, do all kinds of research, have extensive discussions among themselves. 


And when you read through the decision rendered by the three judges, you realize they likely had their minds made up before Schmidt’s lawyers concluded their arguments, in the process moving Canada past the U.S. as the most repressive country in the world on food rights (maybe with the exception of North Korea and Cuba).  

They pretty much rejected Schmidt’s arguments out of hand….except they may have inadvertently left one door open to him that could allow him years more of distributing raw milk to the members of his cow share.…and perhaps eventually, an affirmation of the rights of individuals to access raw milk in Ontario. 


At one point in the decision, the judges seem to ridicule Schmidt’s herd share arrangement. Says Judge Robert J. Sharpe, who wrote the opinion (to which the other two judges signed their agreement): “In my view, the cow-share arrangement is nothing more than a marketing and distribution scheme that is offered to the public at large by (Schmidt).”


However, earlier in the decision, Judge Sharpe made this observation about Schmidt’s members: “The cow-share member acquires a right of access to the milk produced by the appellant’s dairy farm, a right that is not derived from an ownership interest in any cow or cows.” 


The implication is clear: If the members had “an ownership interest” in the dairy, things would be different. 


Well, it turns out the members do have an ownership interest. They each invested on the order of $2,000 a few years back to acquire an actual ownership interest in Schmidt’s farm. The reason that fact didn’t come up as part of Schmidt’s argument in the case at hand is that that case preceded the change in ownership. Remember, this case has been ongoing since 1994, when the province issued a cease-and-desist order to prohibit Schmidt from distributing milk. 


So, the ball will be in Ontario’s court. Schmidt will appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court, but the chances of even being heard there are quite slim. Assuming the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal holds up, then it will be up to provincial regulators to decide what to do next. 


One thing is clear: Schmidt is not backing off. While he “was hoping for some light” in the appeals decision, his path is clear. “If you have a vision and you are clear in that vision, you do not give up.” 


His prediction: “This negative decision will rally people in an unprecedented way.” 


In the climate of a growing clamor by people to access the foods of their choice, it will be up to Ontario officials to decide whether to pursue him again. “It remains to be seen if they want to get in another battle with me,” Schmidt said. 


Given the standard that the judges have established—the need for cow share owners to have an ownership interest in the dairy—then the regulators might decide that discretion is the better part of valor. 


“This decision does not change anything,” Schmidt told me. “What is important is that people will get their milk.” 

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19 Comments on "Michael Schmidt Vows: “People Will Get Their Milk”"

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mark mcafee
March 11, 2014 11:09 pm

When I was at the NFU convention, a member of the Canadian embassy was also attending as a guest member of NFU. He and I had a nice chat about raw milk and Canada. The discussion quickly dissolved into a discussion of the Canadian milk pool system and how “they keep the prices for farmers strong”. It was crystal clear that any discussion of raw milk violated the covenants of their national dairy program and their grande design. Simple as simple can be….all about money and market protections in a country that tends to “design its farm &… Read more »

March 11, 2014 11:36 pm

“American kids are prescribed on average about one course of antibiotics every year, often for ear and chest infections.”
“By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients,” said Ilseung Cho, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Medicine Associate Program Director, Division of Gastroenterology NYU School of Medicine

“Another paper, published August 21 of this year in Journal of Obesity, found a strong correlation between a young child’s exposure to antibiotics and later obesity. It also reports that a disproportionate number of obese children and adults were given… Read more »

March 11, 2014 11:36 pm

“A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanical arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.”

“The Morrill Act (Land-Grant Act) signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862, gave each state a grant of federal land within its borders for the establishment of… Read more »

March 11, 2014 11:38 pm

You don’t need to be a lawyer to know that, legally the only thing a regulator could possibly require is the customer’s signature on the back of a napkin, stating that they know the product is unpasteurized and uninspected.

March 12, 2014 1:01 am

The genuine ownership is the obvious step, not that it is going to stop a corrupt government/industry partnership intent on depriving individuals of the right to produce and consume food outside of industrial food control. At least we can make them man up to what they are really trying to do. There are no laws against any number of people owning or buying a farm together. We must go beyond ‘herd-share’ or ‘cow-share’ and legitimately create dairy farms owned by many individuals, sharing costs, risks, taxes, etc.. Frankly, it might reduce the price of milk anyway if the costs… Read more »

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
March 12, 2014 1:52 pm

You correctly stated, “It was crystal clear that any discussion of raw milk violated the covenants of their national dairy program and their grande design. Simple as simple can be….all about money and market protections in a country that tends to “design its farm & monetary policy” instead of permitting consumer market forces to follow their own compelling flow.”

The NFU in Canada has its provincial affiliates. In Ontario, it’s the Ontario Farmers Union (OFU). The OFU along with two other government approved general farm organizations, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO)… Read more »

March 12, 2014 3:57 pm

“It was crystal clear that any discussion of raw milk violated the covenants of their national dairy program” Kind of like suggesting that raw milk may have a negative risk factor to a food safety professor, in the united states.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 13, 2014 12:22 am

Here’s an excellent interview with David covering food perspectives that may not be earth shattering news to most of us here, but might be something you want to pass on to your friends and family that need to be educated and enlightened:


Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 13, 2014 12:33 am

Quote: “The idea was to pasteurize the milk and have it be as much like raw milk as possible,” Judge said. “High Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurizer, which holds milk at 161 degrees for 15 seconds. It’s the first one to get FDA approval.”

Dead milk cannot compare to the real thing no matter how it’s killed.

Why can’t these people understand that we want our milk to NOT be processed in any way? These concepts of local pasteurization may seem attractive compared to having to ship to big processors, but the end result is the same and… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 13, 2014 5:16 am

The Stanford Raw Milk Lactose Intolerance study partially funded by OPDC and other raw milk supporters has finally been published. It was known years ago that the principal investigator Dr. Gardner ignored 424 study volunteers and screened the 440 respondents ( that claimed they had lactose intolerance ) with a HBT test that identified only the most severe mal-digesters of lactose leaving just 16 in the study!!!!

Sadly, he himself stated in the study results that a modest acclimization effect could be seen in the raw milk drinking test population, but that it was not significant and it was disregarded.… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 13, 2014 5:28 am

One more thing….one of the medical journals that cited the Stanford study even quoted the FDA as saying, RawMilk contains no probiotic bacteria. The levels of hypocrisy, outright lies and corrupt deception reach the levels that cause spontaneous laughter!!!

Back to reality….why is it that tens of thousands of consumers every week report to OPDC and other raw milk producers that they are now able to drink milk again after years of gas and diarrhea with pasteurized milk??? People are not stupid. The placebo effect can not be that strong. People would never buy raw milk at four… Read more »

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
March 13, 2014 6:11 am

Ora, your article parallels the FCC article I provided a link to earlier on.

The article I referenced blamed the inefficiency of small farms as reason for Canada inability to compete for world markets. The article states, “And some of these farms, it claims, are inefficient. The report estimates the top 25 per cent of dairy farms produce almost half of Canada’s milk supply. The other half is produced by medium- and low-efficiency farmers, who drive milk target prices… “These farmers”, (as in small famers), “rely less on operational efficiency and more on market restrictions”.

I can assure you most… Read more »

March 13, 2014 8:02 am

Thank you for the background on the Stanford study.

Someone who occasionally feeds pasteurized milk to their dogs tells me that it causes diarrhea. But the dogs can drink raw milk without a problem. Doubt that is due to a Placebo effect.

March 13, 2014 8:04 am

It now occurs to me that we can call states or countries that prohibit raw milk as “Milk Deserts”

As analogous to the so called “Food Deserts” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 13, 2014 12:51 pm

Catch 22: Raw milk is dangerous because it’s illegal, and it’s illegal because it’s dangerous.

“Despite Europe’s emerging stance on raw milk, U.S. health professionals say organic milk and non-dairy options are the best option for Americans, especially since raw milk is illegal in most states.”


mark mcafee
March 13, 2014 3:36 pm

If the 440 study volunteers had been included in the project then perhaps the broader question of the 40% of the entire population problem could perhaps have been appreciated

Dr. Heckman and David. Both of your observations are brilliant. One of the things I learned from this narrow study is that the ‘Hydrogen Breath Test is not the decider or basis for why people have problems with milk. That one finding and conclusion is important. Now we can design a better test to study the true problem. Or forget the narrow blinders of modern science all… Read more »

March 14, 2014 12:13 am

But you see, this is what we have been saying all along. All these people who can’t tolerate dairy products are not lactose intolerant. They are pasteurized milk intolerant. So they are actually agreeing with us. Does it really matter what you call it? They are arguing over semantics. We are saying people who can’t drink pasteurized milk can drink raw milk. They are the ones that called it lactose intolerance, not us.