Submitting to licensure , inspection and regulation would require Lake View Natural Dairy to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in pasteurizing and bottling equipment to continue to sell milk from the dairy farm (the MN Supreme Court has already ruled that a farm selling directly to the consumer is protected from forced licensure by the MDA, [MN v. Hartmann, 2005] http://law.justia.com/cases/minnesota/supreme-court/2005/opa031674-0728.html). To my understanding, this is something they have no desire to do nor would they ever be able to afford such an expense. I’ve been told that state grants would not come close to covering costs and the cost of loans would logically have to be passed on to the consumer. Lake View Natural Dairy would simply be gone. And to be clear, the legal argument is that the state does not have the authority to force the dairy into this type of association with them.
Concerning inspection, the MDA does NOT simply come in, inspect and say, “Yup…looks clean and safe” and then leave. If the Lake View Natural Dairy submitted to forced inspection, resulting in forced regulation compliance, the product would no longer be unpasteurized/raw milk. I believe the dairy offering unpasteurized/raw milk is the sole reason why many travel to Lake View Natural Dairy to purchase their product. I’ve been told that the benefits of unpasteurized/raw milk is why the dairy chooses to produce this product (see http://www.realmilk.com).
Contrary to what some might think, there is no simple solution to handling licensure, inspection or regulation when it comes to the MDA attempting to force these things on Lake View Natural Dairy. Having a Cook County funded “herd share” (everyone giving money to own the dairy herd collectively) only places more expenses, that are not reasonable, on the customers of the dairy/citizens of Cook County. As I understand the MDA’s stance, a herd share would not make frequent purchases of unpasteurized/raw milk any more “legal” in their eyes.
The MDA has currently petitioned the Cook County Court for a court hearing to find David Berglund in contempt (March 9th, 9AM-Cook County Court House). Among other things, they have petitioned that David be forced to pay for the MDA’s expenses in their attempts to force inspection upon the farm. They also want David to be fined $500 for every day until he submits to inspection and thus comply with the regulation in question. If all the above listed expenses were forced upon Lake View Natural Dairy, I can not see how they could remain in existence with the price they would have to pass on to the consumer.