The government’s seizure of a Virginian Amish farmer’s produce has exposed the draconian lengths that the state will go to against small business farmers who sell products without their inspections to willing customers. Samuel Fisher has not been the only (Amish) farmer to experience the strong arm of the government on this matter, but the extraordinary extent of the strong-arming, in this case, has severely hampered Mr. Fisher’s livelihood.
Mr. Fisher’s story, as told by Kevin McMahon, a video editor of Townhall, began with the COVID pandemic. “The pandemic made it expensive and nearly impossible for Samuel to process his animal products at a USDA inspected facility. Facilities would require farmers to schedule their animals 8-12 MONTHS in advance for processing—and they expect small family farms like Samuel’s to comply with this,” wrote McMahon.
“92% of Samuel’s more than 500 customers wanted him to process and package his products himself — resulting in safe, organic meat that customers swear has been critical to their health, with many families testifying to miraculous health benefits. The state of Virginia got wind of this, and despite the fact that Samuel’s products are only sold to his herd-share membership (and not the general public i.e. grocery stores), they took him to court, fined him, and seized all of his product.”
The terms of the seizure were severe, as McMahon observed, “[t]he state even told him that he couldn’t feed his own family with his animals. He couldn’t feed it to his dogs. Big box retailers have no problem complying with USDA’s processing standards, but for a small-town Amish farmer, it’s a different story. Samuel is driven by a passion to provide people with an alternative to the food you find in your average grocery store.”
We traveled to Farmville, Virginia to hear the story of Samuel Fisher—an Amish farmer whose livelihood has been jeopardized by the state government of Virginia.
The pandemic made it expensive and nearly impossible for Samuel to process his animal products at a USDA inspected… https://t.co/sC26kgm95f
— Kevin McMahon (@Kevin__McMahon) August 18, 2023
In the words of Mr. Fisher, “We had no customer getting sick [from our products]…We had nothing of any such, so we really didn’t know where it came from [the government’s knowledge of his products].”
Fischer relayed how he had emails from customers who told him that his product was making them, their loved ones, and/or their pets healthier. When the government seized his products, those customers in need could not get the needed alternatives to what Fisher was selling. Fisher also talked about substandard practices in industrial farming compared to small business farming.
Townhall’s interview with Fisher ended with them noting that “[o]n August 3rd, 2023 Samuel was found guilty of “unlawfully possessing, selling, and/or transporting animals”…Samuel is considering next steps, including consulting with his attorneys, should the state continue to take action against him and his farm.”
David vs. Goliath: Big Government's War on an Amish Farmer pic.twitter.com/p5U9MmLa18
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 18, 2023
Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) suggested a draft of an amendment back in February that would have protected those like Fisher. This amendment stated, “Congress shall make no law abridging the right of individuals to grow and prepare food, nor shall Congress limit the exchange of food between parties who mutually agree to accept liability.” Massie refers to this as a “Food Freedom Amendment.”
Food Freedom Amendment (draft):
Congress shall make no law abridging the right of individuals to grow and prepare food, nor shall Congress limit the exchange of food between parties who mutually agree to accept liability.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) February 18, 2023