“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Mark Twain
Truer words were never spoken. This has always been particularly true if you farm, as evidenced by the steady loss of small family farms in America. Not to mention the continued persecution of the committed.
There is cause for hope. This year, there are several good bills being introduced (in other states). Kentuckians are enjoying a certain amount of food freedom at the moment and no one is anxious to throw a rock at the beehive.
On the other hand, Virginia’s Farm Food Freedom bill looks very inviting… Here’s that farm food freedom news and more:
The new bill, backed by Virginia Farm Bureau and Virginia Agribusiness Council, aims to strengthen the rights of small family farms, giving Virginians more income opportunities. The bill would also allow farmers to sell other products from nearby farms and host events without additional local permits. Or raids or fines. [Click to read more.]
Indiana State Senator Jim Banks said a recent study presented to the Indiana State Department of Health revealed that even though Indiana is the 10th-largest farm state, it currently imports 90 percent of its food. The study reported that if Hoosiers bought 15 percent of their food from local farms – only $4.50 per week—it would generate $1.5 billion of new farm income for the state. [Click here to read the bill. Click here to read more of the news brief.]
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving too aggressively to expand its reach through a rule that would give it “regulatory control of virtually all farm and ranch land,” the head of the country’s largest farm group said Sunday.
Among the most egregious was a move late in 2013 by the EPA to expand its regulatory reach under the Clean Water Act that would give the EPA control of nearly every water body in the United States, including ditches that are dry most of the time. (Is anyone shocked by this?) [Click to read more.]
Both chambers of the New Jersey legislature voted Monday to enact a bill establishing industrial hemp cultivation licenses in the state. The bill was approved unanimously in the Senate on Monday by a 37-0 vote, followed in the Assembly by a vote of 65-8. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Christie for final approval. Please contact Jack Conway and ask him when Kentuckians can grow hemp now that it’s legal in the state. [Click to read more.]
A recent decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce its regulations on small farms with less than 10 employees generated opposition among some senators in Congress. The senators claimed that the agency’s decision ran counter to congressional intent and amounted to regulatory overreach. More importantly, OSHA’s actions may produce more harm than good.
For decades, Congress exempted small farms from OSHA regulations and the agency complied with congressional request. However, recent OSHA guidance revised the policy and cleared the way for the agency to inspect small farms if they engage in postharvest activities, such as crop cleaning or sun drying. OSHA maintained that its memo simply clarified its existing policy, but the fact that OSHA began fining small farms for the first time in decades signaled that its actions amounted to a change in policy. [Click to read more.]
The latest proposal to undermine COOL (Country Of Origin Labeling) would allow meatpackers to put “product of North America” on the label, replacing labels that actually identify a meat product’s country of origin. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did many things — many of them bad — but it did not create a new country! Simply put, a NAFTA label is not COOL. [Click to read more.]
Action Alert: Tell Congress To Oppose Fast Tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement!
The TPP was negotiated in secret by our trusted leaders. Here’s what will happen if it goes through as is (without discussion which is what happens with fast tracking): international courts, acting at the request of private corporations, will overturn laws adopted by your elected officials. Does that sound like a good idea to you? If the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement goes through, you’ll see a lot more of this. [Click to read more.]
“I shall assume that your silence gives consent.” – Plato
The Department of Agriculture spends over $150 billion dollars per year on various programs related to agriculture and food. It spends tens of billions on farm subsidies that largely go to growers of just a few crops: wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton. Beyond this, it subsidizes food through the federal food stamp program, which is rife with waste and corruption. [Watch the 3 min. video, then click to read more.]
Farmer Melodie Lincavage of Four Sisters Farm in Richmond is teaching a soap making class! You will learn all you need to know to start making basic, skin-friendly, all natural soaps for you and your family. Commercial soap is really bad for your skin and leaves it dry. Homemade soap is much milder and better for your skin without all the harsh chemicals, bleach and perfumes. Class is 2 hours and $20. [Click for details.]
Episode 13 of the Food Rights Hour podcast with host Dennis Crowley is about the Food Safety Modernization Act that was signed into law on January 4, 2011. During this episode, our host, Dennis Crowley, and Michael Tabor, the lone farmer to testify last winter on Capitol Hill about the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), discuss:
- How much time should we have until the new FSMA regulations are issued and enforced?
- How might FSMA affect small sustainable farmers?
- How have farmers already been affected by FSMA even though the Act is not finalized?
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