On the same day that Dan Brown, a Blue Hill dairy farmer, filed for bankruptcy following a legal injunction to stop selling raw milk and other products, a dairy farm in Brooksville was approved by the state Department of Agriculture to begin selling raw milk.
Dan Brown has long been considered a poster child for local food sovereignty in Maine, and has been battling the state for years over his sales of raw milk. The state took Brown to court in 2011 for selling unlabeled raw milk from an unlicensed production facility and, in April, a county superior court judge issued an injunction preventing him from selling raw milk products or other farm products, including baked and canned goods. Brown filed a motion to get the injunction lifted while his case goes through appeals but, in the meantime, he was forced to file bankruptcy due to the immediate loss of revenue.
Meanwhile, Bagaduce Farm was granted a license to sell raw milk as a milk distributor; the owners had applied for a license in early May. The owners said they were surprised that the state did not apply such strict regulations in their case – like the stainless steel sinks and a self-closing door that Brown was told by state inspectors he needed to qualify as a distributor. The performance requirements met by Bagaduce Farm were permitted as “scale appropriate.” However, in both the cases of Bagaduce Farm and Dan Brown, just one cow was being milked.
These stories bring up the question of whether different rules are being applied to different farmers, or whether the court is coming down hard on Brown because he has been less-than-cooperative with state authorities throughout the legal process to obtain the necessary licensing.
Read more about these developing stories here:
Realmilk.com is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation.