*Editor's Note: HR 875 is drumming up quite a bit of discussion in farm country...below are some viewer emails, followed by comments from John Phipps that appeared this past weekend on U.S. Farm Report:
What is this HR 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. How will this affect the backyard gardeners, farmers market gardeners? I'm starting a wholesale rooted cutted business and grow veggies too. How will this effect us? I'm not hearing to much on this but bad news. Should we be contacting the congress reps? Thank you in advance for any info you can give us down hear in rural southeast Iowa.
Albeit an unpopular subject, food safety should be at the forefront of farmers priorities. It will be the future of American Agriculture. Like all of us that have been involved in agriculture for our lifetimes and the generations before; we have all seen some horrific occurrences & transition to where we are today. Look at it in these terms: would you want your granddaughter or grandson to consume the food that you produce. If the answer is yes - then you're doing a good job. If the answer is questionable, you had better rethink your practices.
Because we as a whole have been negligent; now government is going to become involved. If we don't take immediate steps to improve, unfortunately, because of a lack of concern; WE WILL BECOME REGULATED. We can fight that all that we want, but it is a fact. We've been apathetic too long.
I for one, having used more man-made chemicals and fertilizers than most people will ever comprehend (let alone see) in my lifetime, feel that organic is THE ONLY WAY TO PRODUCE SAFE FOOD. No-till agriculture breeds more usage of chemicals. As difficult as it will be to make that transition back to organic agriculture, (food was produced organically dating back forever - until the 1940's) it's the right thing to do. As "digital photography" has become "photography" - "organic agriculture" needs to become "agriculture". The only common sense reason for resistance will be economic based.
Clearwater Country Foods
Someone told me there is a bill that is in Congress to ban all forms of organic farming. I would like to know if that is true? Thank you for your time and have a nice day
*TRANSCRIPT OF COMMENTS FROM JOHN PHIPPS FROM THE MARCH 21-22 EDITION OF U.S. FARM REPORT:
TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAIL BAG...
FAITHFUL VIEWER DAVE SCHNEIDER INVITES ME TO JUMP INTO THE MOST RECENT INTERNET ALARM. HERE IS ONE SAMPLE EMAIL:
"THESE ARE TRAGICALLY SOLEMN TIMES CALLING FOR SOLEMN RE-DEDICATION OF EACH OF US TO THE FIGHT TO RETAIN AND RESTORE FREEDOM. FOOD IS JUST ABOUT THE BEST PLACE POSSIBLE TO START. KILLING HR 875, S 425 AND ALL RELATED BILLS IS THE BEST PLACE TO START."
THANKS A BUNCH, DAVE. HERE GOES. I HAVE READ THROUGH HOUSE BILL 875 AND ALSO SOME OF THE COMMENTS POSTED TO TRY TO GRASP WHAT THE CONTROVERSY IS HERE. WE'LL HAVE LINKS SO YOU CAN DO THE SAME.
THE OVERALL FOCUS OF THE BILL IS TO CENTRALIZE FOOD SAFETY REGULATION INTO ONE NEW AGENCY: THE FOOD SAFETY ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.
THE OBJECTIONS TO THIS BILL I HAVE SEEN FALL BASICALLY INTO TWO CATEGORIES. FIRST, WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE REGULATION OF ANY KIND. SECOND, FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS WOULD PUT SMALL FARMERS AND FARMER MARKETS OUT OF BUSINESS WITH INCREASED COSTS.
WHILE BEING AGAINST MORE REGULATION SEEMS REASONABLE, THE RECENT SALMONELLA PROBLEMS, DOWNER CATTLE, AND FOOT AND MOUTH PROBLEMS HAVE TRIGGERED A STRONG MOVEMENT TO AT LEAST HAVE MORE EFFECTIVE FOOD SAFETY REGULATION. OUR CURRENT OVERLAPPING SYSTEM OF AGENCIES SHOULD BE CONSOLIDATED, I THINK, TO AID THIS GOAL.
AS FOR SMALL FARMERS, MY QUESTION IS THE BASIS FOR EXEMPTING FOOD FROM SAFETY RULES BASED ON SIZE OF OPERATION. IF YOU SELL FOOD, YOU SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO SAFETY STANDARDS. I'LL HAVE MORE ON THIS LEGISLATION IN UPCOMING SHOWS.