Are Kentucky farmers safe? On the surface it seems so. As Farmageddon continues across the country, Kentucky farmers seem to be left alone. “No news here, folks, move along.” Except for the two cases we just heard about, described below.
Kentucky Legislators for Kentucky Farmers
Kentucky is currently in a sweet spot as far as legislators go. Ag Commish Jamie Comer is fair-minded and pro-small farmer, instead of just pro-Big Ag. He supports raw milk and thinks the law against it is silly. He told my friend, Lynn, that if anyone messed with us and our cowshares, to call him. Here’s his number (at bottom).
At least two of our U.S. Congressmen, Rand Paul and Thomas Massie, are both pro-farmer and anti-ABC agency. Particularly agencies that squash farmers in the name of public safety: FDA, USDA and EPA.
It’s as if these guys are aware that raids and regulations have less to do with public safety than it does with corporate protectionism.
A whole dang bunch of Kentucky state legislators are pro-small farms and pro-farm food freedom:
- Russell Webber, Kenny Imes, and Perry Clark signed the FFF Pledge immediately!
- John Schickel sponsored SB47 Livestock Act (aka the “raw milk bill”) and worked hard to get it passed in the Senate (22 to 15). It was co-sponsored by Robin Webb, Perry Clark, Bob Leeper and Mike Wilson.
- Click here to see how your Kentucky Senator voted on SB47. Who will you vote for in 2014?
- The then-chairperson of the House Ag Committee refused to bring the bill up for discussion so it died in his lap. He must have feared that, if he brought it up, it would pass, right? That indicates a lot of farmer support in the House.
We are presenting the Farm Food Freedom Pledge to all state legislators asap and will let you know who signs and who ignores.
Two Kentucky Farmers Harassed By State/Federal Agencies:
Despite our sweet spot, all is not smooth sailing on the Kentucky farm food freedom front.
Dairy Burdened With Inspections
“This dairy has had 6 federal inspections in the last 4 years, even though inspections are only supposed to happen once every 2 years.
Recently, the feds came in and found a pin had fallen out of a pipe on a machine, a pipe that didn’t even touch the milk — and they had to shut down interstate sales for 3 weeks!
Meanwhile, there is a big-ag milk group in Kentucky that hasn’t had a single inspection in the last 8 years.”
This is exactly the kind of abuse that kills a family business. How much stress and income interference can one take?
Kentucky Cheesemaker and Listeria
I have not spoken to this farmer yet. He’s been visited by the state health board which is suggesting he pasteurize his cheese due to listeria contamination. The farmer did discover listeria in a batch of cheese. He knew exactly who had it and was able to recall it. No one got sick, not a tummy ache.
Requesting that he pasteurize all his cheese makes no sense.
- First of all, his business model is raw. That’s what his customers want. They know pasteurization kills the good bacteria and enzymes along with the bad. Pasteurized food is dead food. They want raw. If he had to pasteurize, he’d essentially be starting a new business, losing everything he’s worked for to date. He might even go broke.
Yes, if someone got sick or died because of his cheese, that could happen, too. (I say “could” because when Big Ag, Big Dairy or Big Oil kills people, they don’t go out of business.)
Seriously, here’s the other thing:
- Listeria is airborne. Foods can pick up listeria at any point between soil and plate, regardless of pasteurization. If listeria was found in the cheese, there’s listeria somewhere in the facility — that’s where to look. If it’s not eradicated in the facility, it could still infect the cheese right after pasteurization!
According to the CDC website, there have been only two serious outbreaks of listeria in the states. One was the cantaloupe outbreak that killed 29 people. The other was imported pasteurized cheese that killed three people.
Clearly pasteurization is not the answer to ridding the world of listeria. Pasteurization only solves one problem, the one raw cheese presents to Big Dairy. That is: that, increasingly, consumers prefer raw.
What About Farmers in Other States?
They are being put out of business, losing long-established farm property — with NO HARM DONE — via arbitrary regulations (illegally) enforced by out-of-control bureaucrats, both state and federal. For example:
- Lost the Battle: Morningland Dairy (speaking of listeria…) Where were their neighbors with pitchforks? Where were their legislators? Their County Sheriff?
- The Baker family’s heritage hogs
- Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm: here and here and here
- Vernon Herschberger, Amish dairy farmer being tried criminally over raw milk
- Pitchfork Protest and the Boneta Bill: mother threatened after unpermitted birthday party for 8 10yo girls…
- Front Yard Gardens
- Farmer Victories: Shady Grove Farm protected by “Right to Farm” Act and Palm Beach County Homesteaders win!
Does Kentucky Need A “Right to Farm” Act?
Excellent question. If Mark Baker loses, every heritage pig in the U.S. will be in the cross hairs. The battle against the Bakers’ pigs is so outrageous, so immoral, so utterly ridiculous that it can’t be about pigs. It’s about somebody’s pocketbook!
We got where we are via legislation: we’ve been legislated into a corner. Seems contradictory to count on legislation to get us out. But bills like Virginia’s Boneta Bill or Michigan’s Right To Farm Act definitely have their appeal.
Here’s a better idea: why not repeal some of that burdensome legislation? Take back some risk onto our shoulders and relieve government of having to protect us from EVERYTHING?
We can’t have it both ways: we can’t give government unlimited authority to keep us safe from everything, then stamp our feet when it overprotects us right out of business, our civil liberties, and our food. “Overdoing it” is what government does.
Speaking of Overdoing It, What About That USDA Survey?
Not required nor authorized by Congress or the Constitution. Ignore it, according to Jamie Comer. My personal opinion: government only counts what it wants to eventually take or tax.
“As Americans, we no longer have the option of whether or not to be politically active.” — Katie Bechard
Kentucky Farmers: Speak Out or Keep Quiet?
Are there other Kentucky farmers being harassed that we don’t know about? Seems likely. If you know of or are suffering an injustice, please speak out — here’s why:
- What TPTB (The Powers That Be) are doing is not right or legal. If they do it to you and get away with it, they will do it to the next farmer. There is a war against family farms and TPTB are winning. Here’s how they win: they scare you into silence, then pick you off one by one.
- You are not alone and you have options. Not just farmer-friendly legislators and County Sheriff, but the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. For $125/year, you get all the help you need! Then there are your neighbors. If they see it happen to you, they know they are next. They will help you.
- Keeping silent will not protect a farmer. It just allows TPTB to harass you in secret. If they are harassing you now, they intend to keep at it until you die of a stress-related illness or close shop.
- Staying silent is the most dangerous thing you can do for your children’s futures. If we don’t do everything we can to protect our farms, then our kids and grandkids will live on industrialized food. The other side has been at this a loooooong time while we’ve been sleeping. It’s literally now or never.
What Kentucky Farmers Can Do If Harassed:
1. Join the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Pete Kennedy answers your calls even after hours. You have someone to go to bat for you. They know how to respond to bureaucrats, armed and unarmed.
2. Organize a phone calling chain with neighbors, friends and family. If an unwanted visitor arrives, call your person who will call her person, etc. Stall the trespasser until twenty friends show up with cell phones to record the event. Which you will want to do as well.
3. Post the event everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, your blog, other farmer’s blogs. Let us know.
4. Meet with your Sheriff. Find out where he stands on protecting your constitutionally-guaranteed rights. If he’s not willing to do his job, give him this book, this video, this link and this one.
5. Find out where your legislators — city, county, state and congressional — stand on farm food freedoms. Know who you can call on. You already know Rand has your back.
That’s a good start. We still outnumber them :) We just need to let them hear us roar.
Here’s Katie Bechard’s father telling their story: