Info: Farm Raids
How to Survive a Farm Raid
We’ve modeled our organization after the extremely successful
Home School Legal Defense Association, which dealt successfully with
overbearing truant officers and child protective agencies to gain FREEDOM
and PEACE for homeschooling families.
Our goal is to curb government's over regulation of small farmers, and to
stop these arbitrary and capricious, vindictive and selective enforcement
actions, once and for all. Our goal is FREEDOM and PEACE for our
farmers and for the consumers with whom they deal directly.
Working together, we WILL succeed.
One of the best ways the Fund's legal expertise can be
utilized is during a farm raid. If you find yourself at the farm
gate facing an inspector who does not have a warrant, call a Fund lawyer to
help walk you through the process.
You can call the Emergency Hot Line Directly, or call the office during
regular business hours. The lawyer on call will be paged to call you back.
To help you remember the numbers, we send out a free magnet with your
membership packet. Call us if you didn’t get one or lost it.
If you aren’t a member yet, consider joining now.
One farmer member held off a state and federal inspector at
his farm gate for over three hours. He knew his rights, and reminded the
inspectors of them. They didn’t have a warrant, they just wanted to
look around. As a licensed pet milk provider, he would have allowed
the state inspector access, but the state inspector was there because he
thought the renewal had lapsed. The federal inspector was another matter.
He was told that if he stepped one foot on the farm, he would be physically
escorted off the farm, the sheriff would be called, and he would be
arrested for trespassing.
This story had a happy ending, they finally departed without
looking around. It illustrates a couple key points about the
strategies inspectors use.
Government regulators have a game plan, so it’s best you know
how they are trying to manipulate you into doing what they want.
They travel in pairs, or droves. For
protection, for witness and for intimidation. Make sure you have your
support team (which can include clients/shareholders) present, observing
and witnessing but not obstructing, hindering or thwarting the
They show up unannounced. They use the
element of surprise to catch the farmer unprepared, or at a time when the
farmer is not around. Have your materials, camera, video camera, notepad,
clipboard with questionnaire, phone numbers, portable or cell phone charged
and easy to find. Train those who are on your farm in your absence
how to act in your place. Also, have on hand, phone numbers of
customers or shareholders that live nearby that could lend a hand.
They are persistent. They will hope to wear
down your resolve, encourage you to just “get it over with”, or make an
ominous threat to be back with a warrant if you don’t. Resist.
You have rights.
They are often unkind. It’s part of the job
description we think. We’ve heard too many stories about rude government
employees. Take names and take notes! After it’s all over, call their
supervisor, and their supervisor’s supervisor with quotes.
If you have contacts with a newspaper or
radio reporter, contact them and tell them you have a story for them.
Publicize the event.
If you feel it is necessary, contact your
state or federal (if a federal agent is involved) congressman or senator
and tell them what happened. Your local representative may write a
letter to the Department of Agriculture on your behalf and admonish the Department
to cool its tactics.
The best defense is a good offense, so we’ve prepared some
materials for you to use.
Remember you aren’t always on the farm! Share these materials and
information with your family members, close customers, shareholders and
farm workers. Put them in a place where everyone knows where to find them.
Treat it like a Fire Drill. Knowing what your rights are in the situation
can be very helpful, and make a big difference in the outcome.
Get a “Legal Notice – No Trespassing Sign: and post it on your farm
entrance. Aluminum 12” x 18” sign available at AD Rite (248) 628-6652
approximately $20/each + shipping.
Legal Notice – No Trespassing Sign (an edited version of
the sign mentioned above pdf
What to Do in Case of a Raid pdf
Questionnaire for Federal Personnel pdf
from Other’s Experience - Farm Raid Stories
Steven and Barbara Smith, Meadowsweet Dairy, NY - 2007 link
Mark and Marianne Nolt, Nature’s Sunlight Farm PA- 2008. link
Gary and Dawn Oaks, Double O Farms, KY- 2006 link
Michael and Dorothea Schmidt, Glencolton Farm, Canada-
1994 link, 2008 link
Richard Hebron, Family Farms Coop, MI – 2006 link
Farm Raid at Mark Nolt’s Farm, PA, 2007. (to come)
Farm Raid at Mark Nolt’s Farm, PA, 2008 Local News
Farm Raid at Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farm in Canada link
Have you survived a Farm Raid? Please send us your stories,
videos or pictures to share. Remember, there is strength in numbers. Send