Hein Hettinga and Congress
Congress has decided to raise the cost of milk by driving Hein Hettinga out of business. Hettinga, an independent dairyman, has been targeted and punished for trying to keep the price of milk low.
Hettinga knows that by operating independent dairy farms and bottling plants, he can provide high-quality milk to consumers at the lowest possible price. Hettinga owns his own cattle and processes and sells the rbst-free milk produced on his farms directly to stores like Costco. Until 2007, his independent business was exempt from the federal milk pricing and regulation system, meaning that he was not required to participate in a price-fixing mechanism that government studies show drives up the price that consumers pay for milk.
In 2006, Congress punished Hettinga by a special-interest bill passed at the behest of the largest companies in the dairy industry. Without a hearing in either House, Congress eliminated Hettinga’s independent status, forcing him to share his revenues with his direct competitors. The result is that milk prices remain artificially high, consumers suffer, and an independent dairy farmer is at risk of losing his family business.
Hettinga has sued in federal court to challenge the government’s unconstitutional law, intended to drive him out of business.