Are Small Farmers and Co-Ops Under Attack?


I am getting concerned as to what is happening in relation to food and water.  What I mean specifically is three things.  First, it seems our government, especially the FDA, but also Homeland Security, is busting organic farmers and dairies all over the country.  Collecting rainwater is now illegal in many states. Secondly, it seems that our seed markets are being controlled by a few big ag producers and they are being very aggressive to insure you and I don’t own the seeds we develop from our growing.  And finally, there is pending legislation that seems to extend this control even further.

Stories like the following example are cropping up all over the country.  Swat teams, cars of police ascending with guns drawn on co-op farmers and independent small grower’s farms, taking everything like computers and farm equipment as “evidence’.  Raiding organic food stores. A sign of new times?

Collecting rainwater is illegal in many states, especially western states, such as Utah where it is illegal to collect rainwater without a “water right” permit!

And now S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, which may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US.  It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes.  It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God,” according to Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower.  It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food.

Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create — without judicial review — if it passes.  S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.

History

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton introduced HACCP (Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points) purportedly to deal with contamination in the meat industry.  Clinton’s HACCP delighted the offending corporate meat packers since it allowed them to inspect themselves, eliminated thousands of local food processors (with no history of contamination), and centralized meat into their control.  Monsanto promoted HACCP.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton, urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president.  Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto.  Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510.

S 510 fails on moral, social, economic, political, constitutional, and human survival grounds.

1.  It 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.  It resembles the Kissinger Plan.

2.  It would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security.  It would end the Uruguay Round Agreement Act of 1994, which put US sovereignty and US law under perfect protection.  Instead, S 510 says:

COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.

Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.

3.  It 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 United States.” Since under that law, the US is a corporate entity and not a location, “entry of food into the US” covers food produced anywhere within the land mass of this country and “entering into” it by virtue of being produced.

4.  It imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food. It allows the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the WTO to take control of every food on earth and remove access to natural food supplements.  Its bizarre history and its expected impact in limiting access to adequate nutrition (while mandating GM food, GM animals, pesticides, hormones, irradiation of food, etc.) threatens all safe and organic food and health itself, since the world knows now it needs vitamins to survive, not just to treat illnesses.

5.  It 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. See Seeds – How to criminalize them, for more details.

6.  It includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals. The UN is participating through the WHO, FAO, WTO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in allowing mass slaughter of even heritage breeds of animals and without proof of disease.  Biodiversity in farm animals is being wiped out to substitute genetically engineered animals on which corporations hold patents.  Animal diseases can be falsely declared.  S 510 includes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), despite its corrupt involvement in the H1N1 scandal, which is now said to have been concocted by the corporations.

7.  It extends a failed and destructive HACCP to all food, thus threatening to do to all local food production and farming what HACCP did to meat production – put it in corporate hands and worsen food safety.

8.  It deconstructs what is left of the American economy. It takes agriculture and food, which are the cornerstone of all economies, out of the hands of the citizenry, and puts them under the total control of multinational corporations influencing the UN, WHO, FAO and WTO, with HHS, and CDC, acting as agents, with Homeland Security as the enforcer.  The chance to rebuild the economy based on farming, ranching, gardens, food production, natural health, and all the jobs, tools and connected occupations would be eliminated.

9.  It would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs. This would industrialize every farm in the US, eliminate local organic farming, greatly increase global warming from increased use of oil-based products and long-distance delivery of foods, and make food even more unsafe.  The five items listed — the Five Pillars of Food Safety — are precisely the items in the food supply which are the primary source of its danger.

10. It uses food crimes as the entry into police state power and control. The bill postpones defining all the regulations to be imposed; postpones defining crimes to be punished, postpones defining penalties to be applied.  It removes fundamental constitutional protections from all citizens in the country, making them subject to a corporate tribunal with unlimited power and penalties, and without judicial review. It is (similar to C-6 in Canada) the end of Rule of Law in the US. In addition to this act, keep in mind the designed “Anti-Hoarding Act” making it illegal to store more than 30 days food supply.

Even without S510, it seems that the big ag companies already believe they are in control of our food supply.  Consider this by Jack Kaskey:

June 25 (Bloomberg) — Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed company, is being investigated by West Virginia over possibly misleading growers who were promised improved yields from its new Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean seeds.

“My office is concerned that West Virginia farmers are paying much higher prices for soybeans with the Roundup Ready 2 trait when the yields do not live up to the claims and do not justify the increased prices,” West Virginia Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw wrote in a letter dated June 24 and posted on his website.

Monsanto last year began shifting growers to the new seeds by promising a 7 percent to 11 percent bigger harvest compared with the original Roundup Ready soybean seeds, which loses patent protection in 2014. Iowa State University, Pennsylvania State University, a farmer group and investment researcher OTR Global found the latest seeds failed to boost yields as promised, McGraw said in the letter.

The St. Louis-based company may have engaged in unfair or deceptive acts under West Virginia law and be subject to penalties, McGraw wrote. He invited the company to meet before the state possibly begins litigation. Monsanto has data demonstrating the improved performance, it said in an e-mailed statement. Roundup Ready 2 soybeans increase yields on average by 3.6 bushels, more than 7 percent, according to 40,000 comparisons the company conducted between 2007 and 2009, it said.

Purchase Decisions

The attorney general’s letter “is based on a misunderstanding of our national marketing materials,” Monsanto said. “Growers measure the performance of these products on their farm and make their purchase decisions based on what’s right for them.”

Roundup Ready 2 soybeans were planted on 1.5 million acres last year and cost growers $74 an acre, 42 percent more than the older product. West Virginia growers bought enough of the new seeds to plant fewer than 50 acres in 2009, Monsanto spokesman Lee Quarles said. Sales this year aren’t yet available, he said.  West Virginia grew about 18,000 acres of the nation’s 77.5 million acres of soybeans last year, making it the smallest soybean-growing state tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On the regulatory side we are hearing more and more stories like below:

Earlier in June, agents of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, escorted by police and also bearing search warrants, raided and shut down Traditional Foods Warehouse, a popular food club in Minneapolis specializing in locally-produced foods. They also raided two farms suspected of illegally selling raw milk. And in a national first among such raids, agents searched a private home and made off with computers; the family’s offense appears to have been that it allowed one of the raw dairy farmers to park in its driveway to distribute raw milk to area residents who had ordered it.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has declined comment on such raids, saying they are part of an ongoing investigation into raw milk distribution in the state in lieu of eight illnesses in May linked to raw milk.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has launched three raids over the last three months on the dairy farm and farm store of Vernon Hershberger, near Madison. The day after DATCP agents placed seals on his fridges storing raw dairy products in July, Hershberger cut the seals, and announced he was going to challenge the agency’s contention he needs a dairy and retail license to sell his products. Obtaining such licenses would be problematic, though, since Wisconsin prohibits sale of raw milk, except “incidental” sales, and defining “incidental” has been a bone of contention for many years. In any event, Hershberger contends he sells only to consumers who contract privately for his food.

What’s behind all these raids? They seem to stem from increasing concern at both the state and federal level about the spread of private food groups that have sprung up around the country in recent years — food clubs and buying groups to provide specialized local products that are generally unavailable in groceries, like grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, fermented foods, and, in some cases, raw dairy products. Because they are private and limited to consumers who sign up for membership, these groups generally avoid obtaining retail and public health licenses required of retailers that sell to the general public. (For more on what’s behind the raids, see this new post.)

In late 2008 and early 2009, the representatives of state agriculture agencies in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois met via phone conferences with representatives of the FDA to map a plan for targeting raw-milk buying clubs in the Midwest. The meetings came to light after Max Kane, the owner of a Wisconsin buying club who was subpoenaed by Wisconsin authorities for the names of his customers and suppliers, obtained email accounts of the sessions via a Freedom of Information request to Wisconsin’s Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection department. (Kane has since been prosecuted by Wisconsin authorities for contempt of court for failing to give up the names; his case is under appeal after he was found guilty last December.)

Now, the Midwest program seems to have gone national, and the recent spate of raids suggests a quickening pace and broadened scope. While most raids before the Midwest government meetings had been related to raw-milk distribution, some, like a December 2008 armed raid of Manna Storehouse, an Ohio food club near Cleveland, have been about licensing issues. In that raid, armed law enforcement officers held a mother and eight young children being home-schooled at gunpoint for several hours while they searched the home and food storage areas. A legal challenge to the raid by the family is still tied up in court.

The current uptick has Pete Kennedy of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund concerned, not only about the spreading of the raids, but about the seemingly easy willingness of judges to hand out search warrants. While the U.S. Constitution’s fourth amendment suggests judges should exercise tight controls over search warrants (“no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”), Kennedy observes, “I haven’t seen an agency turned down yet” over the last four years in requests for search warrants connected with raw milk and other food production and distribution.

Is this some government conspiracy to take over the food supply?  No , I don’t think so.  What it is however, is large private corporations using their influence to insure their domination in the market place.  I have very strong fundamental problems with that modus operandi when it comes to food and a private individual’s right to grow food and to share food.  It is simply over the line by any standard.  If we can’t agree on geo-politics or the economy, surely we can be united when it comes to our food, can’t we? Oh God I hope so.

Advertisements

Author: redhawk500

International business consultant, author, blogger, and student of life. After 35 years in business, trying to wake the world to a new reality. One of prosperity, abundance, and most importantly equal opportunity. it's time to redistribute wealth and power.

8 thoughts on “Are Small Farmers and Co-Ops Under Attack?”

  1. I would love to pass this on to everyone who lives in the USA and perhaps put an end to this terrifying prospect.Ive raised,shared and sold organic meats and vegetables for years..most of the sharing being for families who would otherwise have gone hungry.Being an American is becoming a scary thing indeed.Thanks for posting such a well written and informative article.

    1. Dear Jodi:

      I appreciate your kind comments and I agree that this is something maybe EVERYONE can understand in a manner that they realize we must be active in order to protect the rule of law and the standards of freedom and society we all enjoy. It is not a gift, rather a privilege earned by our participation in its care and nurturing. Please feel free to copy and share my article in anyway you see fit. Thanks again for commenting, it validates what I am trying to accomplish with my blog.

      May You Always Travel In Peace

      Redhawk

  2. Globalization at its best, re Mosanto owing the seed market. The same concept applies to the banking sector, BHP wants to buy POT, take over fertilizer production, “this one is stinks” ask any farmer in North America, or the world.

    I am 100% behind a counter offer from China, through Canadian Pension Funds.
    as BHP would dominate fertilizer production, and drive up the price by controlling supply, and China knows it.

    This is the most dangerous corporate takeover bid in history, which will determine
    how much yield you get on your food crops, and at what price which is why Wall Street is pumping this story, at our expense.

    1. Duncan:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I wrote this article after much research and as I always do, I left a lot of the sensational and personal accounts etc. This article was especially close to me because I worked alongside my father in a ten year effort to save our farm and in the end you know the story.

      What I wonder is when the world gets more hungry, how are the “big boys” going to handle that situation. We are already seeing dramatic increases in global food supplies. Thanks again for taking the time to read my little article and responding. More importantly we got to keep trying to bring this issue more into the light.

      May You Always Travel In Peace
      Redhawk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s