[permaculture] HR 2479 alert (US proposed legislation that will negatively impact local foods

Ben Martin Horst ben.martinhorst at gmail.com
Thu Jul 30 00:45:54 EDT 2009


See the following URL to send your representative a message regarding HR
2749:
http://capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=13799941

-Ben

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 9:26 PM, Ben Martin Horst <ben.martinhorst at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Actually HR 2749. The other (HR 2479) is an orthotics bill.
>
> -Ben
>
> On 7/29/09, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net> wrote:
> > I'm sorry, but I would like to interrupt our
> > discussion with news of a potential threat to
> > small scale vegetable production and artisan food
> > processing in the United Stats.
> >
> > HR 2479 is a proposed bill in the US House of
> > Representatives that would have negative impacts
> > on many small farmers.  For the first time, it
> > would allow the FDA to issue regulations governing
> > the production, harvesting, and distribution of
> > fresh vegetables. It imposes new fees and
> > regulations on artisan food producers and on
> > farmers.
> >
> > It was first presented to the full House this
> > afternoon (Wednesday) under rules that allowed no
> > debate or floor amendments, and thus it required a
> > 2/3rds majority to pass.  It fell short of the
> > required votes by only 6.
> >
> > Late Wednesday afternoon, the House Rules
> > Committee met under emergency rules, made a few
> > minor changes to the bill, but left most of it
> > intact.  So it will be voted on again, possibly
> > very soon.  The summary of the changes the Rules
> > Committee made at its page reporting the action
> > http://rules.house.gov/SpecialRules_details.aspx?NewsID=4413
> > is inaccurate.
> >
> > I read the entire thing.  (I had to put on some
> > relaxing music so I could get through it. I
> > probably also should have been drinking chamomile
> > tea. Or maybe bourbon.)
> >
> > The last sentence of the committee summary of its
> > action says -- "In the fresh produce section of
> > the bill, it is clarified that the FDA should
> > issue standards only for the riskiest types of
> > products."
> >
> > I didn't find anything that actually said that in
> > the actual text.  There's some fluff about
> > consulting with the Sec of Ag and taking into
> > account the impact on small farmers yadda yadda
> > yadda but I didn't see anything that would prevent
> > the FDA from issuing detailed regs to farmers
> > about their vegetable production practices.
> >
> > Another problem with the summary -- "For instance,
> > the substitute amendment provides that farms,
> > including those that process food and feed that
> > they sell to other farms or primarily directly to
> > consumers, do not have to register or pay. "
> >
> > This is sort of true and sort of not true.  If a
> > farm sells to both individuals and into some sort
> > of regular commercial marketplace, the value of
> > the sales of individuals must be greater than the
> > value of its other sales for the farm to be
> > exempt.  Also, "farm to school" sales are NOT
> > exempt, so this will be a burden for farmers
> > participating in farm to school programs.
> >
> > I also didn't really see anything that exempts
> > artisan producers.  Maybe some that only do direct
> > sales, but once they branch out from that, they
> > come under the full impact of the regulations, and
> > the fines for non-compliance are very large,
> > starting at $20K and going up from there, and
> > every "day" of the violation is a separate
> > offense.  I can see people looking at that risk
> > (plus the criminal penalties, which start at 10
> > years in jail) and deciding to just close up shop.
> >
> > They did take out the bizarre provision of the
> > original bill that would allow meat packers to use
> > carbon monoxide to preserve the red color of the
> > meat. .
> >
> > I think this bill is likely to negatively impact
> > anyone involved with permaculture who is also
> > trying to earn income by the sale of their on-site
> > produced products.
> >
> > I intend to continue to oppose this bill and
> > encourage others to do likewise. If you are in the
> > United States, you can find out the contact info
> > for your congressional representative by going to
> > http://www.house.gov and entering your zip code in
> > the box in the upper left corner of the screen.
> >
> > It's obvious that this is an attempted major power
> > grab of authority over the growing of vegetables,
> > and the last minute exemptions the Rules Committee
> > threw in are only a fig leaf attempt to give up
> > the least amount possible so they can maybe get
> > this passed.
> >
> > Once the camels nose of regulation of vegetable
> > production is in the tent, the rest of the animal
> > will not be far behind.  The attitude of the
> > government towards farming for 50 years has been
> > "get big or get out", and I think this is the
> > latest incarnation of that program. For some, it
> > may be the last straw and they will just give up.
> >
> > I feel like I need a flag with a cabbage on it
> > that says -- "Don't tread on me."
> >
> > Robert Waldrop, president
> > Oklahoma Food Cooperative
> > www.oklahomafood.coop
> > froglet in training with Barking Frogs
> > Permaculture, www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org
> >
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