We have to pay fines to government agencies when we screw up. Why shouldn’t the government agencies pay fines when they screw up?
Greg Niewendorp can’t think of a reason why not, so he’s in the process of trying to figure out the right person to invoice at the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) for violating his no-trespassing sign last Tuesday. He’s figuring $5,000 per person, making the total for the two state police officers and MDA agent $15,000.
I’m not sure I understand fully where he gets the $5,000 per person, not that it sounds unreasonable. Nor is there likely to be a person responsible for receiving citizen invoices for MDA infractions.
I do know he not only has signs posted approaching his property, but that he alerted the MDA last February about the no-trespassing rule. In the letter he sent via certified mail last February, he stated, “You are aware that my farm is posted with No Trespassing signs and are subject to all legal consequences arising from any unauthorized entry. You are advised that your department is not to enter onto my farm without a properly executed search warrant, since any entry by your department would be to obtain criminal evidence, which mandates a search warrant.”
He says he would like to settle the trespass issue without going to court, but that he hasn’t ruled out court action. He argues the MDA has violated his Fifth Amendment rights to confront his accusers and against self incrimination by failing to obtain a search warrant and trying to get him to sign an order he had previously refused.
Mark McAfee talked about taking the same tack last September, when his California dairy was closed for two weeks, though he eventually dropped his plan to sue California agriculture agency for $500,000. As I said, it seems sensible, but the reality is that the government has a lot more resources to pursue court actions than an individual farmer has.
One other thing, in response to Ron’s comment following my previous posting: Greg told me the two Michigan state troopers who escorted the MDA agent seemed “embarrassed” after being ordered off Greg’s property. Ron is suggesting some potentially serious abuses at MDA.
I’ve been so caught up in the Niewendorp case that I’ve let a few other things slide. One matter in particular that I wanted to follow up on was Don Neeper’s link to a Reuter’s article summarizing research suggesting raw milk is dangerous. I found that article quite disturbing, since it so distorts the real implications of the research.
Then yesterday I saw this blog item using the Reuters article to re-affirm its misconceptions. Talk about a mammoth education problem.
Each time I think the government is pulling back on its pasteurization kick, I am proven wrong. Most recently, I predicted that a request by the California Almond Board to delay until next spring implementation of a requirement that all California almonds be pasteurized was a way to scuttle the entire pasteurization plan. Instead, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected the proposed delay, and pasteurization requirements will go into effect Sept. 1. The best way to assure a supply of unpasteurized almonds will be to purchase them direct from the farm stores of almond farmers, such as Organic Pastures.
And a note on my trip to France in June. The International Herald-Tribune just published an essay I wrote about the historical implications of the Holocaust-related museum dedication I attended while there.