Mark Baker: Michigan Small Farmer Who Went Up Against DNR Makes Major Announcement [Videos]

Mark Baker, the now-nationally-known small farmer in Michigan who went up against the DNR for the right to raise his heritage pigs has made a startling announcement on his Baker’s Green Acres YouTube channel. The announcement comes just days after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development conducted what spokesperson Jennifer Holton termed a “routine” inspection and days after Baker announced the loss of a dear friend who advocated with Baker on issues brought before the Michigan Small Farm Council.

The inspection, which was made using an administrative inspection warrant and was called a joint action by Michigan and U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety authorities by Holton, followed a complaint from a local health department.

The reported complaint was the response to an online newsletter’s picture of a Traverse City chef holding a locally-produced prosciutto ham. The ham was credited to Baker’s Green Acres as the source. A Grand Traverse County Health Department sanitarian saw the photo. According to Mlive, sanitarian Michael Kolbusz called the local MDARD inspector (who licenses facilities like Baker’s Green Acres) and inquired as to whether Baker’s Green Acres was licensed to produce and sell that style of ham. MDARD said Mark Baker’s farm was not licensed for that type of preparation and sale.

Mark Baker was not licensed to process prosciutto for sale to restaurants, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service said in a statement. The inspection never happened. Mark Baker demanded that the officials wait with him just hours until witnesses could be present for the inspection, because the inspectors were accompanied by the Michigan State Police. Baker’s declaration was made at the suggestion of his lawyer. Before witnesses arrived, the inspectors left, Baker says.

Holton says that a MDARD inspector and an inspector from USDA Food Safety Inspection Service did try to “conduct an inspection of the food processing operation to determine what type of products are being produced and sold and to provide information to Mr. Baker on what is allowed and the required inspections and variances, if any, are needed, based on the type of operation.”

Baker’s supporters allege that he was targeted after his legal battle with the DNR over the invasive species regulations.

“This is complete and utter retribution,” Baker told Mlive, “for the stance we took on the feral swine issue.”

In a December 23 video, Baker said that inspectors visited The Flying Moose in Marquette to examine Baker’s Green Acres products and store records. Another customer, according to Mlive, called Mark Baker and said that inspectors had looked at his products in their facility, as well. Watch the video below, as Mark Baker asks for more people to do business with The Flying Moose.