December 22, 2006

Comment Period on Farm Bill ends 31 December 2006

If you haven't done it already, now is a good time. The comment period ends 31 December. Here is the link.

Here is what I wrote.

As a homesteader who grows food for my own family's use, I am most concerned about USDA/APHIS/NIAA trying to get funds to implement the National Animal Identification System in the Farm Bill. NAIS is going to have serious consequences for the family farm. NAIS is by and large for the corporate producers. Let them have it, but leave the small/private farm, homesteader, hobbyists out of it. As a matter of fact, no funds whatsoever should be given to USDA for NAIS. Let industry take care of their own needs, at their own expense. While many of the politicians think that farmers are sutpid, bumbling idiots I think you'd find that most small farmers/homesteaders and the rest are well educated people who have chosen to withdraw from the corporate run food system and tend to their animals with good husbandry and soil practices.

USDA has many underhanded deals going on with industry. Just look at how they are messing with the Organic Standard so that the big corporations can have organic labeling with a promise of future performance. Or how a small group of the nation's largest and most powerful conventional and organic dairy processors and their powerful lobbyist (who works for, among others, Dean Foods, Kraft and the OTA) collaborated with bureaucrats at the National Organic Program to develop a proposed regulation that USDA could offer and adopt on pasture. Under that deal, cows with small amount of pasture time - indeed if they can even see pasture - could be labeled "grass fed". One more mishandling of power by an agency is the failure by the FDA to insist that Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMOs) be clearly labeled on the foods we eat.

I would hope that the Members of the House Committee on Agriculture would try to remember that the United States government is supposed to be protecting the PEOPLE and not industry. Industry - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and GMOs in our food - is what is causing the rise in obesity and other diseases in this country. There can be no doubt about that. Rather than addressing the reality, USDA and FDA keep trying to apply band-aids (more untested drugs and wasteful programs like NAIS, for example). Cows should not eat corn - it makes them sick which is why they need to be given so many antibiotics and drugs (another boon for industry and the FDA) - yet industry and economics dictate that cows must be fed corn to keep the commodity market afloat. There is something drastically wrong with that picture.

Members of Congress, I respectfully request that no funds for any animal identification program be earmarked for USDA in the Farm Bill and furthermore that you take a look at what is going on within USDA, dismantle it if needs be and start over with fresh faces who are not a part of the industry/federal revolving door.

Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas, Sharon & Vin!

    Sugar Mtn Farm
    in Vermont


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