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article image'The Lemon Tree Lady' exposes USDA harassment over lemon tree

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 5, 2011 in Environment
A Wisconsin resident was threatened with a fine of up to $60,000 and a federal raid on her home if she didn't willingly hand over her indoor potted lemon tree to the USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been flexing its muscles whilst spying on owners’ of indoor lemon trees. People who have legally purchased citrus trees online from the Meyer Lemon Tree Company in Florida, not realising that the trees were subject to a quarantine ban, have received threatening mail from the USDA demanding they even give their potted trees up or face the consequences. Those who have no wish to comply are threatened with fines of up to $60,000 and federal raids on their homes, Libertarian News reports.
The activities of the USDA have been highlighted by the case of Bridget Donovan of Waukesha, Wisconsin. She purchased a delightful indoor lemon tree and tended it with loving care. Little did Donovan realize that her purchase could have drastic consequences. Three years later Donovan received a letter from the USDA stating her address had been confirmed by federal law enforcement databases and that her tree was to be seized.
Interviewed by the Health Freedoms Organization (HFO), Donovan said the USDA had told her they were tracking down anyone who had purchased a Meyer lemon tree in case they were infected. She had queried the letter demanding she give up her tree by telephoning the USDA. She was told “that they were going to get the tree one or way or the other, and if I refused, they would quarantine it, obtain a warrant, and bring federal law enforcement officers to my house to take the tree.” She was also warned that attempts by other lemon tree owners to hide the trees or pretend they had died had not washed as the USDA “made repeat visits back, “surveyed” yards, and spotted many in peoples’ front hallways.”Donovan, who has now been dubbed ‘The Lemon Tree Lady,’ turned her tree over to the authorities but believes the USDA acted hysterically, as she had owned the suspect tree for three years before they came calling. She told HFO [/i]“I felt utterly violated, angry, and upset. I pay my taxes, I obey the law, and this is how I was treated? I did nothing wrong. I would expect these action toward someone running a drug house, not someone who owned a lemon tree.I don’t know for a fact they had driven by before sending that letter, but it seemed a little odd the supervisor would tell me they “survey” yards looking for the trees.”Donovan has since been given a free replacement tree by the Lemon Meyer Company but told local newspaper the Milwaukee Journal she is fearful that the episode could be repeated in another three years, as she ponders if she is now on a citrus watch-list.
More about Bridget Donovan, Wisconsin, lemon woman, health freedom alliance, USDA
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