Lakeshore News Tonight

Region Milk Farmer Talks About The Freedom To Farm

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A piece of legislation moving through the Statehouse could give Hoosiers a right to farm … but some groups say this could be a law granting the right to harm.   Lawmakers are discussing ways to protect the right to hunt, fish and farm across the state and to make malicious recordings of agricultural and industrial operations unlawful.   The Lakeshore’s Renetta Dubose talked to a local dairy farmer about why she supports Senate Bill 373…

LuAnn Troxel: I don’t want people who have a malicious intent to come on my farm and spread things about my farm that are not true or take it out of context.

Renetta DuBose:  LuAnn Troxel owns and operates Troxel Dairy farm in southern LaPorte county with her husband, Tom.  She’s done so for 30 years without incident.  The Troxels … who also run a vet hospital … fear certain groups who purposely depict farms in a negative light, linking farm habits to harmful food, could one day end up on their land.  So Troxel is in full support of Senate Bill 373…also called the “ag gag bill.”  The bill … which has currently passed out of the Senate and moved on to the House … would make photographing and videoing of agricultural and industrial land for the purpose of defaming the operation … a Class A misdemeanor.  Troxel says in most cases, the snapshots are misinterpreted.

LuAnne Troxel: Sometimes there’s a difficult calving and tools … which my husband knows how to use … are used.  Someone may have never seen those tools before and don’t understand.

Troxel says she’s proud of her operation and willing to show it to anyone. She says they milk more than 140 mostly Holstein cows …

LuAnn Troxel: We milk our cows after they have a baby, which is at about two years old.  We milk twice a day … no matter what it’s like outside.

Renetta:  After milking morning and night for two and a half hours … the milk is refrigerated.  Troxel says her dairy farm helps to keep the local economy operating.

LuAnn Troxel: Everyday a semi takes the milk to a dairy processing plant … mostly to Pleasant View in Highland or Dean’s in Rochester.

Renetta:   An Indiana University Law professor is questioning whether the bill violates the First Amendment. But Troxel says it is not fair for others to take a photo and impose their beliefs … which typically include not eating meat … on others.  Troxel says her farm is already safe…complete with regulations.

LuAnne Troxel: The milk inspector can come on our property anytime he wants and check everything out…and he does.

Renetta Dubose, Lakeshore News.

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