Congressional sex .... part 2.

My favorite part of the sermon at church is the "So What" moment. Pastor John has read through the Bible verses, connected them to his message and at the end, does the "So What" moment.

So what does it mean in my life??

And that is where I am with H.R. 875. So what does it mean in my life??

Maybe nothing. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says that we should be voting for this bill.

I agree with food safety. Food poisoning is not fun. I didn't enjoy 5 days in the hospital. I didn't enjoy being off work for 3 weeks. I was compensated for my illness ... $900 for being off work 3 weeks. Not much.

But I go back to why I farm. In a previous lifetime, I woke up in the morning, put on stockings, high heels and a dress. I "did" my hair and make-up and everything I owned coordinated. I dressed and played the part of an interior designer. I was miserable.

My soul was freed when I started to grow things. Flowers, tomatoes, peppers. Hmmmm? Why do I feel strong, independent, opinionated when I am growing things?? Why do I feel confident in my knowledge and my strength and my abilities? Why do I feel like myself?

I made the decision to grow naturally without the use of pesticides and herbicides. I had my farm certified as Animal Welfare Approved because I believe in the humane treatment of all animals. But I made those decisions. Not the government. I decide what I want to feed my girls and how I want to fertilize my flowers.

Those decisions would now be subject to Sec 206 -- sub-section c regulations. And what if their standards don't meet my values???

c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall--

(1) consider all relevant hazards, including those occurring naturally, and those that may be unintentionally or intentionally introduced;

(2) require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards;

(3) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water;

(4) include, with respect to animals raised for food, minimum standards related to the animal’s health, feed, and environment which bear on the safety of food for human consumption;

(5) provide a reasonable period of time for compliance, taking into account the needs of small businesses for additional time to comply;

I wanted to be a farmer because I wanted independence. Independence from high heels, independence from a time-clock, independence from bureaucracy, independence from the grocery store and Cargill. I wanted to be responsible for my own life ..... my own existence.... my own own meals.

I am proud to be a farmer. I like being a farmer. And I'm not sure if I will like being a "food production facilitator" as much as I like being a farmer.

I do my best to assure a quality product for my customers. My eggs are as fresh as they can be. I won't sell a faded flower or a wilted herb. Why?? Because I eat those eggs and enjoy my flowers and savor the herbs. We as small farmers are our very best customers. And our customers are not nameless or faceless......... they are our neighbors and friends. Knowing my customers by name ....... getting Valentines from their children ..... is far better incentive to farm responsibly than fear of regulation.

What is the "so-what" moment? I'm still not sure what H.R. 875 means to me. I do know the regulations could discourage many small farms. We don't know what the extra expense may do to a farm. But I do know what it means to my customers ....... there will fewer options to feed their families with quality locally grown food. And that's just not right.


melanie said…
You said it all beautifully - and yes, the more voices, the better the chorus!

Farm definition and size issues have been a hot topic of discussion around here for the last year - that's the only reason I focused on that aspect...
Dan Mays said…
See... Your old hero, Ronald Regan (I didn't say George Bush.) was right. The problem IS big government.


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