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Illegal Farming Practices & Common Sense

May 8, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI see, on a regular basis, reports online that farms aren’t regulated when the truth is far from that.

A friend with a larger hog farm must maintain feed purchase records similar to a feed store – she’s not reselling but it falls under the requirements to do so. When we look at offering new things we must look at if it’s legal to do so. We can’t just sell baked goods for extra money anymore – and if we have visitors it’s regulated. When we look at doing farm shares I thought to raise funds I’d have an investor mode – a set amount and profit share until it’s paid back – nope! Can’t do that – it’s illegal!

I’m reading Joel Salatin’s Everything I Want to do is Illegal – a book that’s been on my radar for several years. And I see this morning the man in Michigan facing jail for keeping chickens, with a long list of regulations that appear nothing more than harassment. This, too, is increasing.

“When the neighbor called to complain about a skunk found on her property, three police offices in two separate cruisers arrived on the scene. The law enforcement officers reportedly told Randy to do something about the skunk. The neighbor had reportedly told them that Zeilinger had set the wild animal loose in the yard to spray her.

The officers allegedly made Randy go get the skunk, which wound up being a baby so young its eyes were barely open. After “capturing” the little creature, Zeilinger was cited for keeping an unlicensed animal. He ultimately found a home for the baby skunk with a wildlife rehabilitator.”

So they REQUIRE him to get a skunk that he didn’t have anything to do with, then punished him for having it…insane! Now at the same time we have an endless stream of inexcusable cruelty such as the men who for a decade kept three women confined, subjecting them to beatings, assaults – and we’re worried about someone having chickens or water bowls after a rain (more locally!)?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s specific things we must do – such as the way our packages are set up – to comply with regulations. We can’t sell a dozen pork chops or boneless chicken breasts – we can sell the entire animal, dressed.

The mountain of regulations doesn’t affect just Tysons and Smithfield’s – it affects those of us selling direct too. When it’s said no chickens can be in cages – that affects the ones on small operations separated for extra TLC too. When regulations are put forth for composting, water and other issues, all must follow them.

Many of the issues in “Everything I Want to do is Illegal” are things we’re also facing or have faced. Not long ago we got a visit from an environmental guy from the next county over concerned about water, pest control and disease possibilities from our little operation. We’re NPIP certified so poultry is tested clean. We have a plan in place to deal with manure (composting, then using in raised beds, sometimes selling it to gardeners when there’s interest). We strive to minimize water run off, but if we stop runoff we run afoul of regulations!

So to get online and see that there’s no regulation in agriculture is as misguided as saying only bicycles are allowed on interstates…it’s just not true folks! Agriculture is regulated more than many understand, enough to fill a recent two hour conversation on #agchat with lively conversation!

We need you – those who are interested in food choices, those who want to preserve buying at the store OR buying direct from farms, those who “just eat” to understand regulations affect us all. Many is done under the guise of protection. As Joel Salatin says:

If that really were a duty of the government, we could justify putting everyone in straightjackets to protect us from ourselves. I might jab myself in the eye with my toothbrush in the morning. I think we should legislate toothbrushing licenses before someone can use one. I might burn myself on the coffeemaker in the morning. Better issue a coffeemaker license while we’re at it.”

It’s not the will of the people, folks. Indeed if you’re not involved, it falls to those who are. Criticize those involved in contacting legislators, but they’re getting heard. And it’s making criminals from chicken owners, or recapturing water, or having a compost pile.

“But for crying out loud, must we criminalize everything we don’t think is wise? I don’t think it’s wise to pay credit card interest, but plenty of people do. I don’t think it’s wise to smoke, but people do. I don’t think it’s wise to buy lottery tickets or gamble in Las Vegas or climb Mt. Everest. But do we want a society that outlaws everything that 51 percent of the people think is unwise? If the truth be told, most of these regulations occur without involving 51 percent of the people. Most occur because a few influential people buy off or cozy up to the politicians or bureaucrats who act like marionettes on the end of a string. Every time I become involved in the political process, I’m amazed at how few people are actually involved. A vocal few, or wealthy few, can influence major cultural changes without 95 percent of the people having a clue what just happened. ~ Joel Salatin

It’s not hidden folks! From the furor in lean textured beef protein (or pink slime, depending on what side of the issue you believe) to GMO to a host of other food issues – it’s not hidden. It’s actually pretty open much of the time but more people need to pay attention! As long as there’s food on the shelf it’s ok. When there’s not it’s too late.

We need small business options, small processors, the ability to have several streams of income. Not just us here at SlowMoneyFarm but every farm. Making us criminals doesn’t help the food system as most of the time it’s not about food or safety or health issues. It’s legal harassment on some paper.

Agriculture is too important to be buried under paperwork. Your attention is appreciated!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2013 11:23 AM

    I hear ya! A friend of mine commented that instead of banning guns, we should ban ski masks since that’s the main tool used by robbers! lol Thanks for a great post, I wish more people were listening!

    • May 8, 2013 2:24 PM

      Ha!! Keep spreading – and I gotta believe the majority I know outnumber the minority of ban everything – we all need to speak up & mean it. I hate politics but anymore no choice – get involved or get buried! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. May 9, 2013 6:13 AM

    Exactly, Slow Money Farms!!! Impressive job! I, too am of the same notions. I was never involved in politics—hated it! I thought!–I am now, even on the low end, anyone can just show up in the legislature during their meetings — refuse to ‘WEAR THE NAME TAG OF THE MAJORITY”–HAVE your SAY or just HAVE your presence known, either during or after the days’ session, whichever will help your own cause and the most of your constituents! Thank you, I am with you!

    • May 9, 2013 7:31 AM

      Hi Sandy – thanks for stopping by. Regulations are increasing, customers are unhappy, we’re confined and it seems there’s a chance for harassment. Thanks!

  3. May 10, 2013 12:35 PM

    Reblogged this on Time for Action.

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