Ethan A. Huff
Jan 11, 2011
A small victory has been won on the raw milk battle front. Greene County, Mo., Circuit Judge Daniel Imhoff recently threw out a lawsuit against Armand Bechard, a farmer who sells raw milk to customers in the Springfield area. According to the judge, Bechard was not the proper subject of the lawsuit, and the statute of limitations prevents any further action in the case, so Bechard is free to resume business as usual.
It all started back in April 2009 when undercover agents tricked Bechard’s daughters into selling themraw milk. Farmers can legally sell raw milk in the state ofMissourias long as they do so directly from the farm, but they cannot sell it from anywhere else. Cusomters can also legally pick upmilkfrom “drop points”, which Bechard had set up to deliver farm-purchased milk to customers. But agents pretending to be new customers were able to persuade Bechard’s daughters to sell them extra milk right from the drop point, which landed the family in legal trouble.
In the summer of 2010, Bechard lost a municipal court case concerning the incident. At the time, he was represented by a public defender, but in the recent victory he represented himself. Judge Imhoff determined that since Bechard’s daughters had sold agents the milk instead of Bechard, they would have to have been the subject of the case. So he flat out dismissed it.
But the ordeal is far from over. Despite having already lost thousands of dollars in lostbusinessthroughout the past year-and-a-half, Bechard must now face a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Christ Koster over the same incident. This time, Bechard will be represented by a lawyer from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), a group launched in 2007 to assist smallfarmersin protecting themselves while they conduct honest business.
To learn more about the FTCLDF and to support its endeavors, visit:
Sources for this story include:
This article was posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 5:31 am