Browsing Posts tagged congress

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

“Fighting for the U.S. ! Cattle Producer”

For Immediate Release                                                                         Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard

December 15, 2011                                                                                          Phone: 406-252-2516; r-calfusa@r-calfusa.com

8 Days of Opposition to USDA’s Proposed Mandatory Animal Identification Rule:  Part II of VIII-Part Series

Billings, Mont. – As promised, R-CALF USA has launched an 8-day series of news releases to explain in detail many of the reasons our members vehemently oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’) proposed mandatory animal identification rule titled, Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate (proposed rule).

With this effort, R-CALF USA hopes to bring to light many of the dangerous aspects associated with the proposed rule that R-CALF USA described in its voluminous comments submitted to APHIS on Dec. 9, 2011. Click here to view the entire 41-page comment submitted by R-CALF USA, which includes all of the group’s citations to specific references that are removed from this news release to save space.

Part II:  By Deploying the Underhanded Tactic of “Bait-and-Switch,” APHIS Deceptively Scared the Livestock Industry, Congress, and the Public Into Falsely Believing that a Mandatory Animal Identification System was Absolutely Critical to Protect the U.S. from Foot-and-Mouth Disease

  1. APHIS’ Flip-Flop Regarding Its Principal Justification for a Mandatory Animal Identification System Demonstrates that APHIS has an Ulterior Motive for the Proposed Rule that Is Unrelated to the Prevention or Control of Animal Diseases

Remarkably, while APHIS touted the risk of FMD introduction and spread as the principal justification – indeed its “poster-child disease” – for a national animal identification system (NAIS) in the years, months and days leading up to its publication of the proposed rule, FMD is no longer included among the diseases APHIS identifies as justification for its proposed rule. In fact the voluminous, 28-page proposed rule does not even mention FMD, let alone reference it as a disease APHIS would expect to prevent or control should it finalize its proposed rule. Any mention of FMD is now relegated to a small, hypothetical and ambiguous section in APHIS’ supporting documents, in which APHIS provides the disclaimer that its hypothetical FMD discussion “does not specifically model conditions that may exist under the proposed rule;” and in whi! ch APHIS provides no explanation regarding how its proposed rule would, in any way, protect against a potential outbreak or spread of FMD.

It is abundantly clear that while APHIS has long assigned substantial weight to the potential to mitigate FMD introduction and spread in the United States in its historical and ongoing effort to impose a national animal identification system on the U.S. cattle industry, it has now completely abandoned its flagship disease.

In its 2008 risk evaluation of South Korea, APHIS described in detail South Korea’s evolving national animal identification system to highlight the system as a measure to effectively mitigate FMD spread following a FMD outbreak (EXHIBIT 6, pp. 24, 25). Similarly, in recent congressional testimony, APHIS testified that Japan had adopted a national animal identification system and that the need for such a unified national animal identification system had assumed greater urgency in the U.S. due to FMD (EXHIBIT 7). APHIS further claimed that a national animal identification system would be critical in mitigating the risks posed by potential FMD outbreaks, and vehemently argued that the costs of a national animal identification system must be compared with the estimated billions of dollars in losses th! e U.S. would be expected to suffer from a FMD outbreak (EXHIBIT 7). Recently, in APHIS’ risk analysis section of its risk evaluation for the agency’s proposed rule to regionalize a Brazilian state, APHIS describes Santa Catarina’s animal identification systems in significant detail and claims the systems would allow officials to trace the movement of cattle within Santa Catarina, presumably to mitigate the spread of a FMD outbreak in Santa Catarina (EXHIBIT 8, pp. 45-47). Then, within just days of publishing the proposed rule, APHIS published a notice of availability (notice) and request for comment that referenced its APHIS Evaluation of the Foot and Mouth Disease Status of Japan risk analysis as the basis for deciding whether to resume trade in FMD-susceptible products with Japan (see 76 Fed. Reg. 44503-504 (July 26, 2011)). APHIS stated in its notice: “The risk analysis will also serve as the basis for our determination whether to allow the resumption of the importation of whole cuts of boneless beef from Japan.” Id., 504, col 1. APHIS’ referenced risk analysis regarding the potential risk of FMD introduction from Japan stated, “Japan’s cattle identification system ensures adequate trace-back capability in the event of an [FMD] animal disease outbreak” (EXHIBIT 9, p. 17).

As demonstrated above, APHIS for many years concocted a virtual taxpayer-funded fervor, both publicly and within the entire U.S. livestock industry, to advance its goal to establish a mandatory animal identification system in the United States – which goal manifested into the proposed rule – principally, if not exclusively, by claiming a mandatory animal identification system is essential to prevent the introduction and/or spread of FMD in the United States. APHIS’ absolute silence regarding any potential for the proposed rule to mitigate the introduction or spread of FMD in the U.S. is inexplicable and provides compelling e! vidence that APHIS has an ulterior motive for proposing the proposed rule, which ulterior motive has absolutely nothing to do with prevention or control of animal diseases.

APHIS’ proposed rule is a complete scam. APHIS provides no support whatsoever for its proposed rule based on its multi-year, multi-million dollar (EXHIBIT 10, p. 1), taxpayer-funded public-relations and nationwide marketing campaign to hype a mandatory animal identification system as essential to protecting U.S. livestock from the most contagious disease known to cloven-hoofed animals – FMD; and, as will be discussed below, APHIS’ proposed rule directly contradicts APHIS’ claimed objective to carry out its statutory responsibilities using a scientific, risk-based approach.

APHIS’ inexplicable abandonment of the threat of an FMD introduction as its principal justification for a mandatory animal identification system as is clearly revealed in the proposed rule is akin to the hideous and unlawful scheme known as bait-and-switch in the retail industry.  Under a bait-and-switch scheme, retailers lure consumers into their establishment by advertising an item known to attract consumers; but, when the consumer arrives at the establishment, the item that lured them there is unavailable, and the retailer hopes the unsuspecting consumer will nevertheless purchase an alternative item. This deceptive tactic is precisely what APHIS has employed to coerce unsuspecting cattle producers to buy into the proposed rule – it aggressively advertised FMD as the principal disease ne! cessitating a mandatory identification system and when the proposed rule is published, FMD suddenly is abandoned as justification for the proposed rule, with only less contagious diseases remaining.

Like the victimized consumer duped by a retailer’s deceptive bait-and-switch scheme, cattle producers have no moral or ethical obligation to comply with APHIS’ equally deceptive bait-and-switch tactic deployed in the proposed rule, and they should have no legal obligation either.

If APHIS proceeds in any way other than to immediately withdraw the proposed rule, it must fully and comprehensively explain why APHIS abruptly abandoned FMD as a justification for the proposed rule. As part of that explanation, APHIS must describe in detail the specific role that a mandatory animal identification system played, if any, during the outbreaks of FMD that occurred very recently during this decade in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, and Paraguay.  Specifically, APHIS must describe in detail the degree to which traceability in those nation! s reduced the spread of FMD or otherwise assisted in combating the disease.

Further, and in addition to the proposed rule’s failure to address APHIS’ historical insistence that a mandatory animal identification system is needed to address FMD, the proposed rule also fails to explain or describe what measures and operations APHIS will deploy to control or eradicate any specific diseases. APHIS’ authority to control or eradicate diseases (note that “control” and “eradicate” have very different meaning) is conferred by the AHPA’s authorization to carry out operations and measures for those purposes. (See 7 U.S.C. 8308 (a), (“The Secretary may carry out operations and measures to detect, control, or eradicate any pest or disease of livestock. . .”). However, the proposed rule is silent on any specific “operations and measures” the agency intends to carry out to eradicat! e or control any specific disease.

Due to this additional deficiency contained in the proposed rule, and if the agency proceeds in any way other than to immediately withdraw the proposed rule, the agency must explain and describe to the U.S. cattle industry:

  1. The specific diseases APHIS intends to “control” under the proposed rule.
  2. The specific nature of the “operations and measures” APHIS intends to use to “control” each of the specific diseases APHIS intends to “control” and a detailed description of the role of the traceability contemplated in the proposed rule in carrying out such “operations and measures.”
  3. The specific diseases APHIS intends to “eradicate” under the proposed rule.
  4. The specific nature of the “operations and measures” APHIS intends to use to “eradicate” each of the specific diseases APHIS intends to “eradicate” and a detailed description of the role of the traceability contemplated in the proposed rule in carrying out such “operations and measures.”

R-CALF USA encourages readers to share this information with their neighbors, state animal health officials, and their members of Congress.

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

Team Obama Regulates Goat Herders’ Workplaces

Audrey Hudsonby Audrey Hudson
08/24/2011

 

The Obama administration is setting new workplace regulations to assist foreign workers who fill goat herding positions in the U.S. , including employee-paid cell phones and comfy beds.

These new special procedures issued by the Labor Department must be followed by employers who want to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform sheep herding or goat herding activities. It describes strict rules for sleeping quarters, lighting, food storage, bathing, laundry, cooking and new rules for the counters where food is prepared.

“A separate sleeping unit shall be provided for each person, except in a family arrangement,” says the rules signed by Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training administration at the Labor Department.

“Such a unit shall include a comfortable bed, cot or bunk, with a clean mattress,” the rules state.

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, unearthed the policy in the “ Federal Register,” the massive daily journal of proposed regulations that Washington bureaucrats publish every day.

Under the Obama Administration, the nanny state has imposed 75 new major regulations with annual costs of $38 billion.

“This captures what is wrong with government,” Katz said. “I could not have made this up.”

With unemployment holding steady at 9% and government regulations adding more burden to small businesses, such as those run by ranching families, Katz said, bureaucrats aren’t helping.

“Instead of remedying the problem, the regulations make it that much harder,” Katz insisted. “We may need a whole set of regulations just to define what a comfortable bed is. I imagine it’s not straw.”

The new lighting standards say that in areas where it is not feasible to provide electrical service such as tents or mobile trailers, lanterns must be provided. “Kerosene wick lights meet the definition of lantern,” the regulations say.

“When workers or their families are permitted or required to cook in their individual unit, a space shall be provided with adequate lighting and ventilation.”

“Wall surfaces next to all food preparation and cooking areas shall be of nonabsorbent, easy-to-clean material. Wall surfaces next to cooking areas shall be of fire-resistant material,” the regulations say.

“It makes you wonder,” Katz said, “how they ever did this before the government got involved?”

“Who knew we needed all of this federal help for herding goats?” Katz quipped.

 


Audrey Hudson, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a Congressional Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades — on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court.

The Denver Post

As USDA turns to ear tags over brands, cattle ranchers fear end of tradition

Ordway rancher John Reid holds some of the irons he uses to brand livestock on his ranch, the Reid Cattle Co. The USDA is expected to release new interstate rules requiring individual cattle to be identified by a number stamped on an ear tag. (Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post )

The future of the hot-iron brand, an icon of Western heritage, is at the center of a nearly decade-long battle over cattle identification and traceability.

“It’s the latest hot lightning rod,” said John Reid, an Ordway rancher who is past president of the Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected soon to release a draft of new regulations, which will remove the hot-iron brand from its list of official identification for cattle sold or shipped across state lines.

The new rules will require each animal to be identified by a number stamped on a removable ear tag.

States would still be able to use brands as official IDs within their boundaries.

Individual agreements between states can be reached to allow brands as official IDs for interstate movement — more complications.

Critics fear this is the beginning of the end for America’s centuries-old branding tradition.

“The federal government’s action sends a signal to the entire industry that the ear tag is a superior means of identification,” said Bill Bullard, chief executive of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund.

Ranchers argue that ear tags can fall off or be stolen by thieves, so are not a good form of official ID.

State brand commissioner Rick Wahlert said nothing will change for the state’s cattle producers.

However, the new system is a critical element of participation in the interstate beef market, he said.

Negative reaction to the new rules, he said, “is really about change, and a fear of the government being in your business.”

Gerald Schreiber, a third-generation rancher in northeastern Colorado, already uses ear tags for identification within the herd but bristles at the new regulations.

“It sounds good on the surface, but anytime you get the Big Brother approach, I don’t trust it,” he said. “The brand has worked for 1000 years, I don’t know why they want to disregard it. In the West, branding is more than just a tradition; it’s our identity as ranches.”

First proposed in 2002, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) was rolled out in 2004, but flatly rejected in USDA listening sessions by over 90% of the cattle producers.

Producers across the country are skeptical about the new program, which would require radio-frequency ear tags that would let cattle be tracked from slaughterhouse to birth.

Their concerns ranged from potential costs to confidentiality of information, including fears that animal-rights advocates would be able to gain information on ranchers through the use of the federal Freedom of Information Act.

“It got pretty ugly,” said Ordway rancher Reid.

From 2004 to 2009, the USDA spent $142 million on NAIS, according to a Congressional Research Service report to Congress. Because it was a voluntary program, less than 30 percent of cattle producers participated.

In February 2010, the USDA announced it was abandoning NAIS due to mass rejection by livestock producers. Now a new name and a new program has evolved called Animal Disease Traceability.

Loss of tradition

The draft of the proposed USDA rule was due in April but has been delayed. It is now expected to be released within weeks, followed by a 60- to 90-day period of public comment. It will take an additional 12 to 15 months before the final rule is released.

“Americans want two things,” Rohr said. “They want to know their food is safe, and they have an interest in knowing where their food comes from.”

Still, the plan to remove the hot-iron brand as an official method of ID across state lines has angered Westerners, who worry about a loss of tradition and the addition of more red tape to their businesses.

“The piece of the deal that is awfully hard for producers to understand is that most disease comes from meat processing plants more than individual cattle or cattle herds.” Reid said.

The brand is the oldest and more permanent form of herd identification, while ear tags, with their unique numbers, can easily fall off in brush and trucks where cattle frequent.

“So the question is,” said Reid, “do we need individual ID or is herd ID enough?”

NATURAL SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION
Your Global Voice of Health & Food Freedom™
www.HealthFreedomPortal.org

Health Freedom USA is pleased to re-post this article by Ms. Hannes which was originally circulated by our friends at NAIS Stinks.com … NAIS is the National Animal Identification System which wants to “chip” all farm animals, “voluntarily” — and, for many reasons we agree with them, NAIS stinks! Both Codex and S.510 are very NAIS friendly, and thus not friendly to farmers, consumer or environment – see: www.FriendlyFoodCertification.org.

Why S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food… or Freedom!
S. 510 Hits A Snag
by: Doreen Hannes Dec. 4, 2010
Reprinted with permission from www.naisstinks.com

Senate Bill S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed the Senate on November 30th, 74-23. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines. This bill is the coup on food in the US. Even though the Tester Amendment was included to dupe those who think it will stop small farmers and processors from being put right out of business, it will only slow down the demise of some small farms.

Then it came to light that a Constitutional issue that had been staring all of us in the face was present. The Senate did not pick up HR2749, which passed the House in July of 2009; instead they took up their own monster in S 510. They also began revenue generation in the Senate (Section 107 of the bill), which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Faced with a patently un-Constitutional bill, that violates Constitutional process, we have to remain vigilant until BOTH houses have adjourned for the winter recess prior to the next session of Congress. Talk about roller coasters.

If the Constitution means anything at all, the House should blue slip S. 510, which would preclude them from taking the bill up and very likely run out the clock for passage in this session.

However, there are four choices available for the legislation to move forward before they adjourn on December 24th. The first is for the Senate to bring it back and get unanimous consent to remove the offending section. Since Senator Coburn of Oklahoma will not consent, that avenue is cut off.

Second is for the Senate to bust S. 510 down to the original a compromise amendment, remove the funding section and the Tester amendment and try to ram it through the entire senate process again before the 24th. This seems unlikely, but do not trust them as far as you can throw a semi trailer loaded with lead.

Third, the Senate could take HR2749, which has already passed the House, and rush it through the Senate, and it would go straight to the Presidents desk with no process with the House necessary. This also seems rather unlikely. The bills are very similar and would have the same detrimental effects for everyone, but the Senators are not familiar with the bill, so it could be really tough.

Fourth, the House Ways and Means committee could pass the bill through and forgive the Constitutional infraction and refuse to blue slip the bill, then vote on it before the 24th and we would have the bill albeit there would be legal issues brought forth that could possibly ensnare the regulations they want to write under this bill. This appears to be the most likely potential for S. 510.

Make no mistake about this, SB 510, or HR 2749 are worse than the Patriot Act, the Health Care bill, and the Federal Reserve Act combined. We can all live without little pieces of paper, and many of us can live without doctors, and we have been living with the increasing police state since 911, but none of us can live without food and water. If we lose food and water, we will not be able to fight anything else.

The Tester-Hagan Amendment Lipstick on a Pig

The largest deception played on the public in S. 510 is the inclusion of the Tester Amendment. This amendment was sold as the complete exemption for all small farms grossing less than $500,000 per year. But if one reads the actual amendment, it is evident that it will not do what it is purported to do for the vast majority of small producers.

The Tester Amendment has strident restrictions on those who may be exempted from HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) implementations. HACCP is 50 pages of instructions that require a certifier to sign off on the plan, and a team to be trained in ensuring the plan is followed on the farm. The requirement of this plan put about 40% of small meat processors out of business several years ago. If you fall under the protection of the Tester amendment, you will not have to do it….but let us see how protective the Tester Amendment really is.

First, the Tester Amendment purports to exempt farms with less than $500,000 in sales from the requirements of S.510. However, to be exempt one must sell more than 50% of their products directly to consumers or restaurants within a 275-mile radius from production, and keep records substantiating those sales. The records are open for inspection and verification of the exemption. In other words, you have to prove you are playing by their rules through record keeping and approval of those records, or meet the more onerous requirements of S.510.

You must apply to be included in the protections of the Tester amendment. You must substantiate through your records for three years that you fit the category of selling more than 50% of average annual monetary value within this 275-mile radius. So, if you sell on the roadside or at a farmers market, you must have a map handy and ask for ID from everyone who purchases from you or lose your exemption. Nice, huh?

Proof of Residence for Food? Really?

I can see it now….A lovely early June day, with the birds singing and the smell of freshly mown hay hanging in the air like the best memory from childhood. A young mother pulls into the Farmers Market and readies herself for a wonderful shopping experience.

She approaches the first stand with her mouth nearly watering at the bright display of fresh produce. I would like 3 cucumbers, please, says the lady with her 3 kids and cloth grocery bag.

Great! Can I see your ID? replies the guy in bibs.

Oh, I am paying with cash she replies with a smile.

No matter, says the farmer, We have to make sure you are within a 275 mile radius of our farm in order to sell to you.

She looks perplexed and says, Well, we are not. We are on our way to visit my parents and I wanted to make a special dinner for all of us, using their locally produced foods so they could remember how good home grown veggies are….So I can not buy from you without an ID?

The farmer scratches his head and says, Now see, I have to be very careful. I belong to a CSA that sells to a Chipotle that is 276 miles from us, so all of my sales at market have to be local or I lose my exemption and will have to hire 5 people to take care of the paper work and then I just go out of business. So no, I can not sell to you. What is more, all the vendors here are part of the CSA, so no one here can sell to you. You have a nice day now!

No Surprises-It is Locally — Global

What we have in Tester is local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In sum, control over all human impact on the environment. Everything will need to be within the food shed, and if you are outside of the food shed, too bad for you. It is a great way to surveille and monitor food production and distribution. And you still fall under the broad based reason to believe of the Secretary with the Tester amendment. If the Secretary, meaning the head of the FDA or HHS thinks you may have a problem, or deems what you produce to be high risk, you will be shut down until they say you can begin again. All of your product is subject to mandatory recall; that is why you have to keep records of everyone you sell to. And you will have to register as a facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, referred to as Sec 415 throughout the bill. (Knock knock—this is premises identification as in NAIS)

So please, do not tell me how great the Tester Amendment is, and that the expansive powers being granted to the DoD, DHS, HHS, FDA and USDA in this bill will be helpful to small farmers and local food production and make my food safe. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Oh, wait. The only state that could produce coffee within 275 miles of itself, is Hawaii. Never mind. Wake up, and smell the tyranny, please.

(The best thing to do right now is to call the members of the House Ways and Means Committee as well as your own Representative and tell them they MUST blue slip S. 510. While I know it gets frustrating to call the Congress critters, the more they know that we know, the better the chance at slowing down the destruction they have planned for us. The switchboard number for Congress is 202-224-3121.

NATURAL SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION
Your Global Voice of Health & Food Freedom™
www.HealthFreedomPortal.org

Health Freedom USA is pleased to re-post this article by Ms. Hannes which was originally circulated by our friends at NAIS Stinks.com … NAIS is the National Animal Identification System which wants to “chip” all farm animals, “voluntarily” — and, for many reasons we agree with them, NAIS stinks! Both Codex and S.510 are very NAIS friendly, and thus not friendly to farmers, consumer or environment – see: www.FriendlyFoodCertification.org.

Why S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food… or Freedom!
S. 510 Hits A Snag
by: Doreen Hannes Dec. 4, 2010
Reprinted with permission from www.naisstinks.com

Senate Bill S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed the Senate on November 30th, 74-23. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines. This bill is the coup on food in the US. Even though the Tester Amendment was included to dupe those who think it will stop small farmers and processors from being put right out of business, it will only slow down the demise of some small farms.

Then it came to light that a Constitutional issue that had been staring all of us in the face was present. The Senate did not pick up HR2749, which passed the House in July of 2009; instead they took up their own monster in S 510. They also began revenue generation in the Senate (Section 107 of the bill), which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Faced with a patently un-Constitutional bill, that violates Constitutional process, we have to remain vigilant until BOTH houses have adjourned for the winter recess prior to the next session of Congress. Talk about roller coasters.

If the Constitution means anything at all, the House should blue slip S. 510, which would preclude them from taking the bill up and very likely run out the clock for passage in this session.

However, there are four choices available for the legislation to move forward before they adjourn on December 24th. The first is for the Senate to bring it back and get unanimous consent to remove the offending section. Since Senator Coburn of Oklahoma will not consent, that avenue is cut off.

Second is for the Senate to bust S. 510 down to the original a compromise amendment, remove the funding section and the Tester amendment and try to ram it through the entire senate process again before the 24th. This seems unlikely, but do not trust them as far as you can throw a semi trailer loaded with lead.

Third, the Senate could take HR2749, which has already passed the House, and rush it through the Senate, and it would go straight to the Presidents desk with no process with the House necessary. This also seems rather unlikely. The bills are very similar and would have the same detrimental effects for everyone, but the Senators are not familiar with the bill, so it could be really tough.

Fourth, the House Ways and Means committee could pass the bill through and forgive the Constitutional infraction and refuse to blue slip the bill, then vote on it before the 24th and we would have the bill albeit there would be legal issues brought forth that could possibly ensnare the regulations they want to write under this bill. This appears to be the most likely potential for S. 510.

Make no mistake about this, SB 510, or HR 2749 are worse than the Patriot Act, the Health Care bill, and the Federal Reserve Act combined. We can all live without little pieces of paper, and many of us can live without doctors, and we have been living with the increasing police state since 911, but none of us can live without food and water. If we lose food and water, we will not be able to fight anything else.

The Tester-Hagan Amendment Lipstick on a Pig

The largest deception played on the public in S. 510 is the inclusion of the Tester Amendment. This amendment was sold as the complete exemption for all small farms grossing less than $500,000 per year. But if one reads the actual amendment, it is evident that it will not do what it is purported to do for the vast majority of small producers.

The Tester Amendment has strident restrictions on those who may be exempted from HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) implementations. HACCP is 50 pages of instructions that require a certifier to sign off on the plan, and a team to be trained in ensuring the plan is followed on the farm. The requirement of this plan put about 40% of small meat processors out of business several years ago. If you fall under the protection of the Tester amendment, you will not have to do it….but let us see how protective the Tester Amendment really is.

First, the Tester Amendment purports to exempt farms with less than $500,000 in sales from the requirements of S.510. However, to be exempt one must sell more than 50% of their products directly to consumers or restaurants within a 275-mile radius from production, and keep records substantiating those sales. The records are open for inspection and verification of the exemption. In other words, you have to prove you are playing by their rules through record keeping and approval of those records, or meet the more onerous requirements of S.510.

You must apply to be included in the protections of the Tester amendment. You must substantiate through your records for three years that you fit the category of selling more than 50% of average annual monetary value within this 275-mile radius. So, if you sell on the roadside or at a farmers market, you must have a map handy and ask for ID from everyone who purchases from you or lose your exemption. Nice, huh?

Proof of Residence for Food? Really?

I can see it now….A lovely early June day, with the birds singing and the smell of freshly mown hay hanging in the air like the best memory from childhood. A young mother pulls into the Farmers Market and readies herself for a wonderful shopping experience.

She approaches the first stand with her mouth nearly watering at the bright display of fresh produce. I would like 3 cucumbers, please, says the lady with her 3 kids and cloth grocery bag.

Great! Can I see your ID? replies the guy in bibs.

Oh, I am paying with cash she replies with a smile.

No matter, says the farmer, We have to make sure you are within a 275 mile radius of our farm in order to sell to you.

She looks perplexed and says, Well, we are not. We are on our way to visit my parents and I wanted to make a special dinner for all of us, using their locally produced foods so they could remember how good home grown veggies are….So I can not buy from you without an ID?

The farmer scratches his head and says, Now see, I have to be very careful. I belong to a CSA that sells to a Chipotle that is 276 miles from us, so all of my sales at market have to be local or I lose my exemption and will have to hire 5 people to take care of the paper work and then I just go out of business. So no, I can not sell to you. What is more, all the vendors here are part of the CSA, so no one here can sell to you. You have a nice day now!

No Surprises-It is Locally — Global

What we have in Tester is local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In sum, control over all human impact on the environment. Everything will need to be within the food shed, and if you are outside of the food shed, too bad for you. It is a great way to surveille and monitor food production and distribution. And you still fall under the broad based reason to believe of the Secretary with the Tester amendment. If the Secretary, meaning the head of the FDA or HHS thinks you may have a problem, or deems what you produce to be high risk, you will be shut down until they say you can begin again. All of your product is subject to mandatory recall; that is why you have to keep records of everyone you sell to. And you will have to register as a facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, referred to as Sec 415 throughout the bill. (Knock knock—this is premises identification as in NAIS)

So please, do not tell me how great the Tester Amendment is, and that the expansive powers being granted to the DoD, DHS, HHS, FDA and USDA in this bill will be helpful to small farmers and local food production and make my food safe. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Oh, wait. The only state that could produce coffee within 275 miles of itself, is Hawaii. Never mind. Wake up, and smell the tyranny, please.

(The best thing to do right now is to call the members of the House Ways and Means Committee as well as your own Representative and tell them they MUST blue slip S. 510. While I know it gets frustrating to call the Congress critters, the more they know that we know, the better the chance at slowing down the destruction they have planned for us. The switchboard number for Congress is 202-224-3121.)

[Note from REL: you can also use our automated email system to message all your representatives in both houses of Congress; in fact, please to both! Click Here for Action Item: http://tinyurl.com/3xdz3lp.

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 5th, 2010 at 4:48 pm and is filed under Activism, BeyondOrganic, Disinformation, Divest Government of Food Regulation, Food Crisis, GMOs, Legislation to Oppose, Organics . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can track-back from your own site.

Democrat’s Secret Attack on Agriculture with Food Safety Bill

Monday, 22 November 2010 12:42 Chuck Justice

The Left is notorious for their friendly-sounding nomenclature of bills.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was the phony stimulus bill; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is Obamacare; Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is Wall Street regulation.  Each of these monstrosities have the same thing in common: they do the exact opposite as they’re advertised.  And that’s why S-510, the Food Safety Modernization Act needs to be stopped from turning into law.  It goes to the Senate floor for a vote the day after Thanksgiving.

This is not the Democratic party that everyone grew up with – it’s been hijacked by some of the most radical, anti-American individuals.  Make no mistake, S-510 is no difference than Obamacare.  If this passes the Senate, the House has already said they’ll pass it in its current form so it can be sent to the president.  Liberals still control the House in this lame duck session, so it’s highly likely that they’ll bundle it up with H.R. 4729, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which the House passed and is outline below.  If passed, the government will now not only control your health care, but everything you eat.

To sum up S-510, or the food bill for short, it gives the FDA authority and power for additional enforcement, including fines, penalties, license revocations and new requirements, and control over processes and harvest.  All of this will add additional cost, which will just get passed on to the consumer, but that’s not even the worst aspect of the bill.  Here are some of the troubling elements:

  • Puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency.
  • Would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security.
  • Would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into the US.
  • Imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food.
  • Would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security.
  • Includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals.
  • Would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs.
  • Uses good crimes as the entry into state power and control.

So, how do you think that’s going to impact the agriculture industry?  Well, it only gets better if the House bundles it together with HR 2749.  Here are the hidden details of it:

  • $500 annual registration fee on any “facility” that holds, process or manufactures food – “farms” are exempt.
  • Empower the FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested – this would eliminate organic farming and lead to the forced purchase of products as mandated by the government.
  • FDA would be granted the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, which includes “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.”
  • FDA has the power to make random and warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers without evidence that there’s even been a violation.
  • Creates severe criminal and civil penalties for each violation

The ambiguity is intentional.  For example, the power to quarantine a geographic area, including the transportation of food, extends well beyond food safety.  Think about people that go grocery shopping – easily 90% of Americans – they transport food; it has to get home somehow.  Notice how individuals and consumers aren’t exempt.  That’s because liberals want to control an individuals every move because they feel the individual is incapable of making their own decisions.

There is a common trend with the radical liberals in Congress:  all bills need to be passed so the country can see what’s in it.  Nobody knows who wrote the bill; Congressmen don’t even know what’s in it because special interest groups write the bills on their behalf; can we say shadow government?  Or even better, can we say spooky George Soros and his plethora of organizations hell-bent on destroying America.

This food bill needs to be stopped.  A government that has this much control also has the power to take everything away.  Between Obamacare controlling your health care and the food safety bill putting control in the hands of the fourth branch of government – the unelected administrative branch – America is going down a very dangerous path.  Unfortunately, this is what the liberals want.

Chuck Justice is the editor-in-chief for Habledash.

Democrat’s Secret Attack on Agriculture with Food Safety Bill

Monday, 22 November 2010 12:42 Chuck Justice

The Left is notorious for their friendly-sounding nomenclature of bills.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was the phony stimulus bill; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is Obamacare; Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is Wall Street regulation.  Each of these monstrosities have the same thing in common: they do the exact opposite as they’re advertised.  And that’s why S-510, the Food Safety Modernization Act needs to be stopped from turning into law.  It goes to the Senate floor for a vote the day after Thanksgiving.

This is not the Democratic party that everyone grew up with – it’s been hijacked by some of the most radical, anti-American individuals.  Make no mistake, S-510 is no difference than Obamacare.  If this passes the Senate, the House has already said they’ll pass it in its current form so it can be sent to the president.  Liberals still control the House in this lame duck session, so it’s highly likely that they’ll bundle it up with H.R. 4729, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which the House passed and is outline below.  If passed, the government will now not only control your health care, but everything you eat.

To sum up S-510, or the food bill for short, it gives the FDA authority and power for additional enforcement, including fines, penalties, license revocations and new requirements, and control over processes and harvest.  All of this will add additional cost, which will just get passed on to the consumer, but that’s not even the worst aspect of the bill.  Here are some of the troubling elements:

  • Puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency.
  • Would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security.
  • Would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into the US.
  • Imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food.
  • Would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security.
  • Includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals.
  • Would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs.
  • Uses good crimes as the entry into state power and control.

So, how do you think that’s going to impact the agriculture industry?  Well, it only gets better if the House bundles it together with HR 2749.  Here are the hidden details of it:

  • $500 annual registration fee on any “facility” that holds, process or manufactures food – “farms” are exempt.
  • Empower the FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested – this would eliminate organic farming and lead to the forced purchase of products as mandated by the government.
  • FDA would be granted the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, which includes “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.”
  • FDA has the power to make random and warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers without evidence that there’s even been a violation.
  • Creates severe criminal and civil penalties for each violation

The ambiguity is intentional.  For example, the power to quarantine a geographic area, including the transportation of food, extends well beyond food safety.  Think about people that go grocery shopping – easily 90% of Americans – they transport food; it has to get home somehow.  Notice how individuals and consumers aren’t exempt.  That’s because liberals want to control an individuals every move because they feel the individual is incapable of making their own decisions.

There is a common trend with the radical liberals in Congress:  all bills need to be passed so the country can see what’s in it.  Nobody knows who wrote the bill; Congressmen don’t even know what’s in it because special interest groups write the bills on their behalf; can we say shadow government?  Or even better, can we say spooky George Soros and his plethora of organizations hell-bent on destroying America.

This food bill needs to be stopped.  A government that has this much control also has the power to take everything away.  Between Obamacare controlling your health care and the food safety bill putting control in the hands of the fourth branch of government – the unelected administrative branch – America is going down a very dangerous path.  Unfortunately, this is what the liberals want.

Chuck Justice is the editor-in-chief for Habledash.

S. 510 will make your food more expensive and less safe. It will drive many small farms out of business. The leaders of the “lame duck” Congress want to pass this falsely named “food safety” bill NEXT WEEK, but . . .

They’ll need 60 votes to break Sen. Coburn’s “hold” on the bill.

That means we can defeat S.510 with just 40 votes, but we must apply the pressure now!

Please send a letter right now telling your Senators to oppose S. 510.

You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

S.510 will crush family farms and small businesses with excessive regulations – even though they were NOT the source of recent food safety problems.

S.510 also violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the FDA to invade and search farms and food producers without court permission.

If you think the FDA will use this new power responsibly, think again. David Gumpert reports that the FDA shut down two raw-milk cheese-makers for the presence of the pathogen listeria, even though . . . http://tinyurl.com/2e5x2sq

* Nobody got sick
* The FDA almost never shuts down companies for the mere presence of pathogens – even when people DO get sick
* Companies have previously been allowed to clean things up, rather than shut down.

If the FDA is starting to behave like this now, just imagine how abusive it will be under S.510?

Finally, it must be stressed that big agribusiness has been the source of most recent food safety problems. S.510 will make this problem worse by burdening small producers, and driving them out of business. This will make our food supply more centralized, less diverse, and more dangerous.

Please STOP S.510. This Congress must NOT pass any food safety bill. Remember, the voters have repudiated this Congress, and it’s heavy handed ways.

END LETTER

You can send your letter through DownsizeDC’s Educate the Powerful System.

Remember, Congress DOES read your letters. They DO have an impact. The more letters they receive, the more we’re likely to succeed.

So please forward this, share on your social networks, and retweet this message: http://twitter.com/#!/DDCDispatch

And thank you for being a DC Downsizer!

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation.

SUPPORT the “Educate the Powerful System”.

Feel Free to Forward or Reprint, as long as attribution and action links are retained/included. But we recommend you delete everything in this footer, i.e., below the words “Downsizer-Dispatch”.

S. 510 will make your food more expensive and less safe. It will drive many small farms out of business. The leaders of the “lame duck” Congress want to pass this falsely named “food safety” bill NEXT WEEK, but . . .

They’ll need 60 votes to break Sen. Coburn’s “hold” on the bill.

That means we can defeat S.510 with just 40 votes, but we must apply the pressure now!

Please send a letter right now telling your Senators to oppose S. 510.

You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

S.510 will crush family farms and small businesses with excessive regulations – even though they were NOT the source of recent food safety problems.

S.510 also violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the FDA to invade and search farms and food producers without court permission.

If you think the FDA will use this new power responsibly, think again. David Gumpert reports that the FDA shut down two raw-milk cheese-makers for the presence of the pathogen listeria, even though . . . http://tinyurl.com/2e5x2sq

* Nobody got sick
* The FDA almost never shuts down companies for the mere presence of pathogens – even when people DO get sick
* Companies have previously been allowed to clean things up, rather than shut down.

If the FDA is starting to behave like this now, just imagine how abusive it will be under S.510?

Finally, it must be stressed that big agribusiness has been the source of most recent food safety problems. S.510 will make this problem worse by burdening small producers, and driving them out of business. This will make our food supply more centralized, less diverse, and more dangerous.

Please STOP S.510. This Congress must NOT pass any food safety bill. Remember, the voters have repudiated this Congress, and it’s heavy handed ways.

END LETTER

You can send your letter through DownsizeDC’s Educate the Powerful System.

Remember, Congress DOES read your letters. They DO have an impact. The more letters they receive, the more we’re likely to succeed.

So please forward this, share on your social networks, and retweet this message: http://twitter.com/#!/DDCDispatch

And thank you for being a DC Downsizer!

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org

D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation.

SUPPORT the “Educate the Powerful System”.

Feel Free to Forward or Reprint, as long as attribution and action links are retained/included. But we recommend you delete everything in this footer, i.e., below the words “Downsizer-Dispatch”.

The Last Frontier II

By Vaughn Meyer – Nov 5, 2010

Throughout history “The Last Frontier” has been associated with the settling of the West during the 19th century. As children this time frame of history was narrated through history books and multi generation family recollections. Probably some of the most vivid attributes to this period were the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Indian – Whiteman wars, the large cattle barons, huge cattle drives and our very own roughrider president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Near the end of the 1800s we witnessed a new policy of Homesteading which introduced the concept of family production agriculture. This introduction of family ownership and management of agriculture created more incentive for individual achievement and our industry flourished. As agriculture grew it stimulated creativity on the national level which economically and industrially established the U.S. as a world leader.

However as the number of family farms and livestock numbers increased and competition for our product decreased, Congress realizing the need for competition and fair markets for our livestock drafted the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. As the 20th century drew to a close it became apparent to livestock producers that without tools for the enforcement of the P&S Act we still remained at the mercy of the anti competitive practices of the packers.

However during the 2008 Farm Bill debate our Congressional leaders also became aware of the need for rules to enforce competition in the market place and the need to restore fairness within our industry. They commanded the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) under the leadership of GIPSA Administrator Mr. J Dudley Butler to draft rules to enforce the P&S Act. Nearly two years later Mr. Butler and his staff have addressed the congressional mandate and proposed new rules known as the GIPSA Rules.

As with all new game rules which are directed at leveling the playing field the opponents are those who possessed an unchecked advantage over other key players. In this case the packing industry, through its affiliated voices of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI), has realized a 90 year old reign over the production side of our industry. They are squealing louder than stuck hogs and labeling Administrator Butler and his GIPSA rules as the destruction of the industry.

In a recent attempt to degrade Mr. Butler’s motives they portray him as a litigation happy trial lawyer who is attempting to drum up business for his post GIPSA years. Mr. Butler and his boss, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, have been accused of being indifferent for not considering the request by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and 114 other congressmen to delay the GIPSA rule with another economic analysis study. They also connect him to a few so called “other liberal – leaning cattle organizations”.

What critics of Administrator Butler fail to mention is that similar to the other 955,000 livestock producers Mr. J. Dudley Butler is a producer from Mississippi and a former ranch partner from Wyoming. As a fellow producer from S.D. maybe we should look at the producer side of this GIPSA Administrator like:

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler possesses compassion for his fellow livestock producers as he has witnessed the individual sorrow and defeat of the 370,000 producers and their spouses and children as they lost their livelihoods!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has witnessed the hunger and suffering of children in other countries who have insufficient production agriculture!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has experienced first hand the destruction of family enterprise hog and poultry farming and wishes to prevent the same coercion and threats from raping the cattle industry!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler foresees the 20% drop in producer carcass share over the past 20 years is correlated to the smallest U.S. cow herd since 1952 which will have a profound effect on the future safety and procurement of our nation’s food supply!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler noticed that Senate Ag Chairman Collin Peterson and his 114 colleges were the recipients of over $48.6 million of Agri Pac campaign contributions!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler has observed the past 90 years of unchecked pilfering of our industry by the packing industry and affiliates and he realizes a change to honest moral values is necessary for the survival of agriculture!

JUST MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler notices the similarities of the “Last Frontier” of the 1800’s and the “Last Frontier” of the present beef industry which ironically is precipitated by the same packing industry. Possible he also recognizes that a United States without a viable livestock industry to spur prosperity in our cities may well become the “Last Frontier” of the world!

In summary, Mr. Paul Engler of Cactus Feeders testified in Ft. Collins that as a child he bought his first calves to feed and today he feeds millions annually. Just maybe Mr. J Dudley Butler, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and US Attorney General Eric Holder realize that that would not be possible in today’s broken market system. Just maybe they and hundreds of thousands of fellow producers are attempting to salvage a market system that will provide similar opportunities for future generations!

As livestock producers we can restore U.S. family agriculture and rebuild our rural communities through comments of support for the GIPSA rule at comments.gipsa@usda.gov

Or Fax to 202-690-2173, or at the Federal e-rulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov

Thank you.

Vaughn Meyer, a concerned livestock producer

Reva, SD

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