Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Civil Authority

I saw this video here. This is Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) agent Jackie Owens attempting to carry out an inspection at the farm of Vernon Herschberger. Like Dan Allgyer in Pennsylvania, Herschberger is in the middle of the national debate over raw milk. In some ways their cases are very similar.

One thing that struck me in watching this video was the civility of the proceedings. While Ms. Owens was clearly frustrated and exasperated that the Hershbergers were not cooperative, she never lost her cool. She did a good job playing the good cop.

This civility was noted in the blog and comments, with various political spins attached, but I want to look at it from a different perspective. (And let's also leave aside the fact that this interaction was recorded, and how that may have changed her demeanor.)

If this is how regulators act when investigating a relatively powerless independent farmer, how do they act toward the big players? Is civil authority sometimes too civil?

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Year and a Day, Give or Take

Wow, has it been that long? Funny how time flies and projects like this get pushed to the sidelines as the focus shifts. Funny too how things come full circle in the fullness of time.

The past few days have brought a couple events that have spurred me to once again take up the proverbial pen and jot down some notes here for your consideration. Also, I plan to get some focus in this blog by narrowing it down to food and agricultural issues.