Amish Farmer Faces Fines, Prison Time for Refusing to Comply with USDA Regulations

(Foundation for Economic Education) For nearly 30 years, Amos Miller has owned and operated Miller’s Organic Farm, an all-natural Amish farm located in Bird-in-Hand Pennsylvania.

Like many Amish farmers, Miller likes to do things the old-fashioned way. He doesn’t use electricity, fertilizer, or gasoline, and he also stays away from modern preservatives.

The farm’s reputation has grown over the years, and it now boasts a private buyers club of approximately 4,000 members. Miller has sold all sorts of food to his buyers, such as organic eggs, raw milk, grass-fed beef and cheese, and fresh produce.

“They use it as a medicine,” Miller said in a 2021 interview. “It’s very healing to the body because it’s raw.”

“They’re good people,” said one of his customers. “Their place is very clean, and their produce is excellent.”

In recent years, however, the farm has found itself in the crosshairs of the US Department of Agriculture because of its failure to comply with federal farming regulations.

It all started in 2016, when two listeriosis illnesses that occured in 2014 were traced back to raw milk sold by Miller’s Organic Farm. Both infected people had to be hospitalized, and one tragically died from the illness.

The USDA has been trying to bring the farm into compliance with federal regulations ever since, but it’s been a long hard series of court battles, in part because Miller has been, by his own admission, less than fully co-operative with the government. Miller is facing fines and jail time for his actions.

The story reached a climax in March of this year when a federal judge ordered Miller to cease and desist all meat sales and authorized armed US marshals to use “reasonable force” to gain access to Miller’s farm so a court expert could inspect it. The expert—accompanied by the armed marshals—took an inventory of all Miller’s meat, and federal inspectors are now returning every few months to make sure he hasn’t sold any of it.