Skip to comments.Proposed government regulations a concern for owners of small farms - "It's scary"
Posted on 11/13/2013 1:23:23 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Organic farmer Don Kretschmann walked around his picturesque but ancient barn and stepped up to a rustic barrel root crop washer.
It's a simple machine, he said, consisting of long, wooden planks that form a cylinder, which he uses to clean freshly harvested produce on his Beaver County farm. Soil-covered carrots and potatoes go in one end, the cylinder rotates, water sprays in and clean vegetables emerge.
But who knows if I'll be allowed to keep using it? said Kretschmann, who has farmed about 15 acres since he and his wife, Becky, bought the land in 1978. Or this barn, it's 150 years old. I don't know if it will pass the new (regulations).
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday will conclude a 10-month public comment period on wide-ranging regulations proposed under the Food Safety and Modernization Act, which Congress passed in 2011 because of deadly food contaminations.
Small farmers and some consumers contend the regulations are an example of government overreach that could cripple the increasingly popular locally-grown food movement. The rules for storage facilities could force farmers to pay tens of thousands of dollars to replace barns with sterile warehouses, they say.
Farmers say another requirement, to document all wild animals that come in contact with farms, is impractical and that water management proposals and restrictions on composting are burdensome.
Who would want to deal with all this? said Kretschmann, who sells produce to 1,385 customers within 30 miles of his Rochester farm. I tell you, it's scary.
Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner of food, said he is aware of farmers' concerns. He met last week with a group representing Pennsylvania's small farmers and said the FDA wants only to protect consumers, not make life more difficult for farmers.
We don't have the mandate, the intent or desire to turn the produce sector on its head, Taylor said. There are a lot of genuine issues (farmers) have raised, (and) some of their comments reflect the need for us to clarify what we intended.
He said the regulations will call for common sense steps that many farmers utilize, and the law will allow government inspectors to prevent illnesses rather than respond to them. Most small farmers who sell produce locally could be exempt from the regulations, he said.
Farming is Pennsylvania's largest industry; 63,000 farms yearly contribute $67 billion to the state's economy, officials said.
Brian Snyder, executive director for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, who attended last week's meeting with Taylor in Washington, said the government should try to make small farmers' lives easier.
This law could turn the tide and put a cap on the local food movement, Snyder said. We'll stop seeing new farmers coming in, and those who are struggling will drop out. Some are struggling now and don't make much money, but they keep doing it because they believe this is the future.
Consumers increasingly want to know where their food is grown, how and by whom, small-farming advocates said. Federal statistics support the assertion: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 8,144 farmers markets this year, a 3.6 percent increase from 2012. Since 2000, the number of farmers markets has nearly tripled from 2,863.
Snyder said well-meaning legislators drafted the food safety law, intending to target corporate farms that can afford to make sweeping changes.
They had good intentions, but beneath the surface, there are consequences to small farms with thin profit margins, he said. We will find out after this comment period closes just how serious the FDA is about considering stakeholder input.
Kretschmann says his wooden root washer symbolizes farmers' concerns.
It works perfectly, he said. Yet the law might ban it in favor of a stainless steel machine that he could more easily sterilize.
The alternative would be to buy an expensive washer that would need another building just to house it, he said. That would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Taylor acknowledged the regulations have complexities but urged patience. The government will not adopt policies aimed at harming small farmers, he said.
It's a strong policy of this administration to support local food initiatives, he said.
And if you have a cow, don’t you even THINK of selling the milk without processing.
Big Brother is watching you, Farmer John, and you won’t be allowed to feed anyone without jumping through his hoops.
If you like your pig, you can keep her. PERIOD.
I believe the word you are looking for is “Kulaks”...
Yet produce grown in mexico are approved.
It’s a strong policy of this administration to support local food initiatives, he said.
What he means is “Root hog or die”.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." - The Declaration of Independence
So every time a ground hog pokes its head up on a farm, or a herd of deer wanders out into the fields, the farmer has to fill out a form?
More and more the Federal Gov’t is a glorified jobs program. It helps to be liberal, female and black to get one of these dopey jobs. Where your mission is to hassle the private sector producers in America. The Federal Gov’t “workers” are not there to help you. They are there to somehow justify getting a paycheck from you the taxpayer
It would be far better if they took their $100,000 plus salaries and porn surfed all day (most likely gay porn) and left us productive people alone
This has become the go to excuse whenever there is some consequence that causes a push back. How about a neutral stance at least. Don't accept that they had good intentions automatically. Much of government is about power an control, not helping people or simply getting out of the way.
Agreed. In addition, in the meantime we are importing food and food additives from China, where the regulations and quality control are suspect at best.
Since when has this administration considered stakeholder input? The Obama Administration did NOT consider stakeholder input for the Affordable Care Act. They did not even take time to read the proposed Obamacare law. They blindly passed the law and blindly support it, totally ignoring any concerns by those affected.
The administration has SWAT teams for EPA, Homeland security, and other government agencies. That is new and that is intended to roll over any opposition by stakeholders.
When the people of Pennsylvania go into the voting booth they should think about how Democrats deal with opposition to their twisted and warped Utopian view of how the world should work.
Department of Agriculture "he Department of Agriculture provides an array of subsidies for farmers and imposes extensive regulations on agricultural markets. It operates the food stamp and school lunch programs, and it administers numerous subsidy programs for rural parts of the nation. The Forest Service is also within the Department of Agriculture.
The department will spend $156 billion in 2013, or almost $1,300 for every U.S. household. It operates about 240 subsidy programs and employs 93,000 workers in about 7,000 offices across the country....."
Charts and graphs .... EPA on Ag 101 "There are over 313,000,000 people living in the United States. Of that population, less than 1% claim farming as an occupation (and about 2% actually live on farms). In 2007, only 45% of farmers claimed farming as their principal occupation and a similar number of farmers claiming some other principal occupation. The number of farms in the U.S. stands at about 2.2 million.
What is a farm?......................"
Well, we haven’t even gotten to the runup for 2016 elections. How can we be talking about keeping Hillary at this point when she hasn’t even declared?
I hate the term “Stakeholder”.
It has replaced property owner and citizen. You no longer have rights. You just have a “stake”. But, then again, the Albino Lesbian/Gay/Transgendered Alliance is also a “stakeholder”, as is the National Resources Defense Council.
Your “stake” means nothing, and “stakeholder” is another word for “sucker”. BOHICA... You’re a “stakeholder”.
Ditto. Can not stand the word.
The only good stakeholder is a vampire killer.
How long until the Feds show up and tell me my garden is a small farm?
The government will not adopt policies aimed at harming small farmers, he said.
Bull S*#T ,”I said”.
“Yet produce grown in mexico are approved.”
And we are going to be seeing Chinese Chicken in consumer products.
I wonder if they process it alongside the doggy treats?
What could possibliy go wrong.
“It’s a strong policy of this administration to support local food initiatives, he said.
That’s what the farmers and kulaks in soviet Ukraine believed, too. Stupid hippy fools. Read soviet history, morons, to see what’s coming for you.