I hate to have such a news-y blog post but our great, grand money-grubbing government and FDA has done it again. They’re overhauling our food regulation system only for fresh produce, and it could seriously effect small farms. Some of us could loose our only real opportunities for profit because of this bill they are proposing. Currently it has a heavy focus on regulating fresh produce production with no focus on regulating big industry farming with accountability in areas such as corn or dairy.
The bill is called “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”.
Things like this slip by many of us who are just getting into the industry (and many of us who aren’t) with no notice. This bill has been in proposal for months now and yet I am only just now hearing about it? They’re not making these things known to small farmers. This does not show up on the evening news. There’s nobody delivering pamphlets about it. And because of a lack of exposure there’s no campaign to make these terrible regulations STOP before they get worse. The best part is? It takes the better part of a week to read all the nearly 550 pages of the bill and understand them all. How on earth are we supposed to even propose a carefully written comment to our government about the poor management of a bill that, because we spend all our time farming, we don’t even have time to READ THE BILL. Ignorance is how they push it past us, and we should not tolerate it!
This bill will cost small farmers thousands of dollars a year. In the proposal itself it says that it will cost “very small farms” (previously in the bill suggested to be people who SELL less than 25K/yr in produce, not even who make 25K/yr profit) nearly $5000 annually. That means it could take what little profit you make and sweep it away if you’re a very small farm, especially an urban farm.
The bill is very vague on it’s regulations in regards to small farms. Most of us have direct accountability for our food anyhow. If I sell you a chicken and it makes you sick, well, then I’m screwed. You know exactly where that chicken came from and you’re gonna tell everyone I sell chickens that make people sick. We don’t need more regulations because we already have the highest standards from the highest level of accountability and transparency in our food production.
Now they’re imposing regulations on small farms that, due to poor wording, could make it so that many farms cannot sell “value added” products such as chopped bagged salad mixes, jams, jellies, pickles and other canned goods, grain mixes, milled grains, dries fruits or roasted nuts. These products would make your small farm a “food production facility” and subject to dozens of more regulations that would cost you thousands of dollars to meet each year; more than what most of us make profit-wise. Some small farms may not even be able to sell regular produce because they use things like saved rain water for their plants.
This same bill is coming from the organization that has allowed companies like Monsanto to control our food supply, that has banned raw milk because factory dairy production can’t meet safe raw milk standards, that is run and paid for by nothing but retired big agriculture CEOs pushing their own agenda… By the same organization that thinks it’s OK to pump our animals full of hormones, to feed calves cow’s blood in place of milk, and has NO regulations on a whole range of chemically and genetically “enhanced” plants that are banned in over 50 other countries. You’ll notice that this bill does NOT regulate those things at all. It almost exclusively effects fresh produce.
Please note that the comment period for this bill is only until September of this year. It’s only open that long because of a 90-day extension and it’s only JUST NOW showing up in our news at all. Take a moment out of your day, even just to write a few lines on this to our government and the FDA to express our displeasure with them once again trying to run small business farms into the ground. If you want to take more action, contact all your family and friends. There are less than two thousand comments on it right now, and we can make that number skyrocket. Share this through your social media, through e-mail, ask people to just take ten seconds out of their day to write something as simple as “Please re-word this bill to make sure that small farms are protected. I support my local small farms and they are concerned about how this bill will impact their already small profits.” It only takes a moment and it makes all the difference in the world.
Support your local small farms and businesses. Write a comment. Make sure the FDA knows how you feel about it. Do you eat local, organic, sustainable produce? If you don’t say something that could no longer exist in just a few years. Don’t let that happen; make sure your voice is heard!
Huffpost article on the bill;
Comment on the bill now!
The entire 547 page proposed bill can be seen here;
Let’s fix this!