We’re NOT Miller’s Organic Farm… but we sure can commiserate.
Have you seen the recent viral video from OFF GRID with DOUG & STACY? If not, here it is:
First, let’s get one thing straight - we are NOT Miller’s Organic Farm.
It’s a common misconception since we have a good amount in common. Same last name, same Amish community, and very similar farming practices. We both offer natural nutrient-dense foods like A2/A2 dairy, 100% grass-fed beef, corn & soy free eggs, fermented veggies, einkorn baked goods, and so on.
But, we are two completely separate operations. Amos Miller is the owner of Miller’s Organic Farm. Aaron Miller is the owner of Miller’s Bio Farm. Different locations, different vendors, different delivery options, etc.
A big difference between us is that Miller’s Organic Farm is a private membership association. That means you need to pay to become a member and place an order. Miller’s Bio Farm is open to the public, no membership required.
Amos Miller wants to produce food the way God intended - working with nature and allowing people access to foods that nourish their body. Aaron Miller wants the same thing, too. In a big way, it comes down to religious freedom.
You’ve surely heard the term “your body is your temple”. That comes from the Bible, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
This idea isn’t exclusive to Christianity and is found in other religious texts (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc) with specific emphasis in three areas: dietary cleanliness, exercise, and ablutions. Each religion has differing guidelines, but they are all founded in the same guiding principle.
Especially in the United States, which was founded on religious freedom, shouldn’t we have the right to hold personal beliefs, whether organized or not, separate from the government? If that’s the case, we should have the right to be informed and choose what we put into our body.
Sadly, this is not our reality.
Government regulations definitely control how our food is produced and who has access on a nitty gritty level. The awful situation Miller’s Organic Farm is in now is one example.
Miller’s Organic Farm is in trouble because his meat wasn’t being slaughtered and butchered at a USDA certified facility, which is illegal. Yet to my knowledge, no one has ever become sick from his meat.
If meat processed in a non-USDA facility is truly dangerous and Amos Miller serves thousands of customers, then surely someone would have gotten sick, right? It makes me wonder if the government’s rules and reaction are fair and appropriate.
Miller’s Bio Farm has sadly had issues (some legal and some not) with government regulations, too.
--> Let’s take our milk bottling.
Our farm used to bottle milk by hand. However, when the farm got certified for raw milk production, it was required to purchase a milk bottling machine and build a milk bottling room. This cost the farm at least $20,000.
The reasoning behind this is, of course, safety. Government agencies prefer robots over human hands, and I guess that’s because robots theoretically don’t carry potentially harmful microorganisms. But robots do carry potentially harmful chemicals. So, in my mind, it’s a moot point.
--> Or how about our yogurt packaging?
We can only offer our pasteurized yogurts in plastic, because in order to put them in glass the creamery would need to purchase an expensive attachment so a robot can screw on the lids.
--> Why can’t we use the word “organic” to describe our food?
Well, that’s because we’re not certified by the government. This definitely puts the farm at a marketing disadvantage. It would be so much easier to say “it’s organic”. Instead, we provide tons of info explaining exactly how we do what we do.
--> We didn't want to use citric and lactic acid to wash meat.
Washing meat means that, before butchering, large carcasses are sprayed with an antiseptic spray and whole chickens are put in an antiseptic ice bath.
Our previous USDA processors were only approved to wash meat with citric and lactic acids. Sure, the products they were using were "certified for organic", but we really wanted to avoid anything artificial and derived from corn and soy.
Luckily, a local farmer became an owner of a small local meat processor. They were able to get a new plan approved by the USDA that includes washing meat with organic apple cider vinegar. It was expensive and time consuming, and we are so thankful for their efforts. Huge shout out to The Family Cow!
--> Did you know we can't sell chicken heads anymore?
Yup, this month the USDA all of the sudden said that we can't.
--> Or what about the RB51 situation our farm faced in 2019?
A farm customer got sick with the RB51 strain of brucellosis, which is a strain specific to the brucellosis vaccine. Four of our cows were unknowingly vaccinated, and one was still shedding the virus many years later. No cow had come up positive in our regular brucellosis tests.
Yes, the problem was caused by the brucellosis vaccine approved by the Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) and promoted by the USDA and the CDC. When this happened, did the government have the farm’s back?
Well, they definitely helped us resolve it and get into compliance. But, the farm took a major financial loss that it still hasn’t fully recovered from. There was no government assistance for that financial loss.
--> Another example is the raw milk laws in general.
It’s ironic. If you live in Pennsylvania, you would be allowed to buy raw milk for humans. But, because of the system we live in, we are not allowed to deliver milk for humans across state lines.
This is an interesting article by David Gumpert, who explores a raw milk crackdown in NJ seemingly targeted towards Indian immigrants.
I could go on and on, but you get the point here.
The rules are made by and made for the BIG players in the food industry, not small independent farmers.
The consequence is that people are not able to practice their religion to the fullest capacity. If you’d like a truly natural diet, you are forced to either produce your own food (which is unattainable for most Americans) or follow the “religion” of capitalism and the government.
Why can’t there be another way? Gee, I wish there were!
It’s important to note that the Miller’s Organic Farm issue didn’t just happen out of the blue. His farm wasn’t raided all of the sudden with no prior issues.
Amos Miller has had many light warnings that went ignored, and that’s how he ended up in court. That’s how he ended up being shut down. Right now, Miller’s Organic Farm is not allowed to process any more meat for sale.
Side note: All of the farms connected to Miller’s Organic Farm have also been flagged and many inspected. And farms connected to those farms (like ours) are also being flagged, too.
Our farm has had a lot of light warnings, but Aaron Miller chose to NOT ignore them. Aaron wants to be in compliance, because he sees a different way forward.
Miller’s Bio Farm believes that it’s possible to work within the system to produce natural food. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
It requires working really closely with government agencies and small processors to get more natural practices approved. It’s time consuming and expensive.
Then, in compliance, we have nothing to worry about and nothing to hide. From that standing, we can fight for what’s right. We can advocate for a better, most just, food future. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up in the Supreme Court one day.