Long tentacles of government strangle Amish farmer

By Tammy Dail

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” –Henry Kissinger

LANCASTER, PA – Amos Miller is an Amish farmer who operates an organic farm six miles east of Lancaster. His farm and home have been raided–twice now–by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture who claim Miller is selling farm products without required state permits and inspections. Miller’s defense is that he does not sell to the public, but to members of a private members’ association that is exempt from government regulations. The members trust in the safety of his products.

This duel between citizen and government began in 2019 when the federal government raided Miller over meat inspection rules, and subsequently suing for some $300,000, which would have put him out of business. Even though Miller fought in court, he paid around $85,000 in fines in 2023. Then, Jan 4, 2024, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), along with local police, again raided his farm and home citing concerns over raw milk.  To obtain a warrant for such a raid, officials would need to show probable cause that a crime had been committed, and a description of any items that needed to be seized.  Video, which can be seen on YouTube, shows food being illegally confiscated and put under injunction/detention (apparently not included in the warrant) including pasture raised meat, canned goods, granola, honey, etc.

Thursday, Feb 29,  was the date for proceedings regarding the injunctions.  Foods placed under injunction cannot be sold by Miller, which creates a financial hardship. A crowd of customers, supporters, and members of a group called Patriots of Pennsylvania gathered before the Lancaster County Court House, holding signs that said “Food Freedom” and spoke about government tyranny.

Miller’s lawyer, Robert Barnes, said there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by Amos Miller’s farm products, false information was used to obtain a warrant, and there have been zero customer complaints.  Hundreds of customers have signed statements and/or testified in support of Miller, some saying they depend on his products for health reasons.

Judge Thomas Sponaugle’s decision, released March 1, retains the injunction until Miller starts the process of applying for state-required permits and inspections. Barnes (the attorney) any state permits would only cover raw milk and cheese.  Miller’s income depends on the sale of other farm-produced items, such as pasture raised meat, butter, yogurt, eggnog, etc. As a result, he could still be regarded as non-compliant.

Being denied the ability to sell to his customers for over a month now, has created severe economic harm to his business, and hurt his customers, some of whom depend on his products for health reasons. Barnes acquired emails between Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and other personnel through the Freedom of Information Act, saying authorities ‘were looking forward to having Miller in handcuffs and foreclosing on his farm.’

Amos Miller’s supporters say this case is an example of government overreach and a violation of constitutional rights. They claim a right to buy food WHERE they want, and to eat WHAT they want without government permission. They do NOT want food monopoly. A fundraising account for legal fees has been started for Miller at GiveSendGo.  Private membership association is one of the last remaining ways farmers can sell their farm goods to consumers without government mediation.

Sources:  LNP/LancasterOnline, Penn Live: Patriot News, YouTube channels Off Grid with Doug & Stacy, and The Shepherdess, www.leavethemalone.com.

Let Freedom Ring

Editor’s note: The author, Tammy Dail, owns a farm in Stonewall and grows / raises much of her own food.