Your food is under attack part 1

Your Food is Under Attack

There was a glimmer of hope last week.  Not from our government but from the people of this country that had enough.   The good people of Mesquite, Nevada went to the aid of a fellow rancher.  About 5000 of them and they had guns.  It sounds dangerous but they came together, sang the Star Spangled Banner, prayed for peace and didn’t back down.  Obama called off the Bureau of Land Management for the time being.
There is a lot to this story.  Fed vs States rights.  Environmental (a desert tortoise) vs 130 years of family ranching on 1000’s of acres. 
I don’t know all the details.  I know that our government swings with the money.  Give money to a cause that you care about and you can force your hand.  Sounds democratic except for one tiny, small, little problem.  It seems to not matter about those pesky little consequences.  Who else is effected and does it matter.  Apparently not.
Take for instance CA Assembly Bill 224.  It states it was created to assist small farms to bring their product to market, specifically CSA’s.  Here is what is called assistance;

  • Registration of your CSA, $75.  Okay, I can pay that.  The money is used to pay for those folks hired to run this process.
  • Standardization of labelling:  Okay, I can add what they wanted.  But my customers know where their food comes from and most have been here.  This doesn’t add any value to me and costs me time.
  • Paying ¾ of one cent for each box that goes out. 
  • Reporting each box that goes out.
  • Closing of small slaughter houses (5 in 8 of CA).  Each forced to be inspected and shut down during the process without a specific reason or any paperwork to say why.  What happened to due process?
  • Permits with huge fees, long wait times and no value offered for the fees.  Just fees.

We’ve had the privilege of 4 USDA visits in two months.  The agents are polite but they don’t agree with one another.  The variance of how they interpret regulation.   Some in our favor and some not but they disagree.  Sooo, what the hell is that all about?  They are always informative of regulation, polite but have absolutely no idea about rotational grazing, raising animals on pasture, not using drugs or vaccines.   Never heard of Omnivores Dilemma, Joel Salatin or topics about repairing soil through natural means.   I respect what they know but I am shocked about what they don’t know.  
I looked up the purpose/mission of the USDA:  “We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management”.
Seems pretty straight forward and all inclusive.  Just a small problem.  The leaders are not leading this country or any others in a sustainable way, with a long term vision that supports a future for our children and theirs.  It is short term, destructive on a large scale and there seems to be a strong leadership from the top that is leading us down this dangerous path.
How do we stop it from happening?  The education is clearly missing from these players.  Maybe a visit to WA.  Do you think I could get a minute of Tom Vilsack’s time? 
Dreamin……your “hopeful” farmer……
P.S.   I hope you show up here if needed like the folks in Nevada.  Perhaps not on an ATV or horse and probably not with guns (at least at first).  Just the California attitude.  Peaceful but with intent!