Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ADM, Tyson, IBP: Big Ag vs. Farmers and Families

Remember the "spinach problem" of early this year? All that spinach was USDA-approved...

Makes you feel good, eh?

...They raise free-range beef, pork, turkey, veal, lamb, goat, duck, and chicken -- without jacking the animals up with hormones and antibiotics, as is common practice at factory farms. Their meat goes through a USDA processing facility, as government regulations require -- all except the poultry. And because of those chickens, the Peaceful Pastures have been troubled

..."The state says no bird in Tennessee can be sold without USDA inspection of the processing facilities," says Drake. "Here's what kills all of us small poultry farmers: There are no USDA custom-kill processing plants in the entire Southeast."

Wanna build a USDA-acceptable processing plant? Think again.

Drake says she looked into building a small processing facility on her farm, but the cost of meeting government standards made it impossible. If all she had to do were to construct facilities strictly for meat processing, Drake figures she could have done so for $20,000; but as the law stands now, a building that met minimal federal guidelines would cost about $150,000.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act, for example, means a small producer has to put in restrooms that are handicapped-accessible," Drake says. "I'd have to build an office for the inspector. That office has to have its own phone line. I'd have to put in a paved parking lot. We have to meet the same physical standards as a Tyson's, and we just can't do it.

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Joel Salatin and his family run Polyface Farms...

"The code said we had to have bathrooms for our employees. I told them we were 50 feet away from two houses with bathrooms, and besides, we're a family operation: We don't have employees. It didn't matter to them. Then they said we had to have twelve changing-lockers for employees -- even if we didn't have employees.

"See, this is bureaucracy in action," he says. "It has nothing to do with the quality of our meat. They just want to follow the code. This is happening all over the country. A lot of it is being done under the guise of protecting the general welfare and guaranteeing clean food. But what it really does is protect big agribusiness from rural independent competition."

Of course, since Big Ag controls Congress, but smaller farmers are the more numerous votes, the sop was "Corn-a-Hole," allowing smaller farmers to make money (and starve Mexicans) while Big Ag and its tax-loophole "farmers" keep small producers out of other parts of the business.

HT: Dreher

1 comment:

Billiam said...

Read "The death of Common Sense" and you'll see example after example of how that abomination of an act is misused and abused. It makes an excellent example of "the tyranny of the MINORITY" that exists in this country.