Saturday, April 18, 2009

For dairy farmers, damned if you do, damned if you don't

Below is an article on the plight of most American dairy farmers - a  near instruction manuel on how corporations get rid of farmers.  Flood the market with cheaper imports, raise the price of all inputs, and there you have it.  

Some dairy farmers escape this.  They stay outside the system, taking nothing from the USDA, selling nothing to middlemen.  Who are they?

Raw milk dairy farmers.  They raise their cows, milk them, and sell direct to customers.  They have no Dairy Farmers of America to contend with, no imports to compete with, little rising feed costs because their dairy cows often live mostly on grass.  It's a sane, clean, local system that is growing even in hard times, even with no advertising, even without obstacle after obstacle.  And it's a system that provides real food security for neighboring areas.

But they do have one problem - having mastered all the farming and economical ones - their own governnment is aggressively trying to destroy them.

The USDA and FDA have been attacking those independent dairy farmers mercilessly.  Those are the same agencies which the fake "food safety" bills would merge into new massive agency and invest with police state power over all food.  It is set to be run by Monsanto which gave us genetically engineered rBGH for milk cows, along with no controls over GMOs and non-labeling of them, including suing farmers who tried to label their milk honestly as rBGH-free.  

So, if the dairy farmers stay inside the system, they get cheated and crushed by corporate interests (and some dairy farmers are committing suicide).  But if dairy farmers try to exist outside the system, they are literally attacked by the government working for industry - and using "food safety" as the ugly, false weapon.

Holstein cows (Photo: Wikipedia)

Holstein cows (Photo: Wikipedia)

Although their message may have gotten lost in the 'tea party' hype, Iowa dairy farmers spent time at the capitol this week to raise awareness of drastically low farm milk prices. During the past year, farmers have seen the price they are paid for milk drop by nearly half, even while retail prices have remained relatively high.

"This has reached a crisis point in rural Iowa," said Jerry Harvey, a dairy farm producer in the southern portion of the state.

Francis Thicke, an organic dairy farmer who is considering a run for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture as a Democrat, explained that as prices rose for producers, prices also rose in grocery stores. Now that producer prices have fallen, however, retail prices have remained steady.

John Bunting, a New York dairy producer and member of the National Family Farm Coalition commissioned to write a report on the dairy industry earlier this year, concluded that a few "elite players, with little or no governmental oversight, are running the dairy markets."...

"We are at a crossroads in agriculture," said Chris Petersen, president of the Iowa Farmers Union. "We need to decide who will produce our food — farmers or vertically integrated corporations."...

From those opposing the fake "food safety" bills, for use by any opposing them as well:

"We reject all forms of food dictatorship. We oppose all deceptive attempts to industrialize the food supply under the guise of "food safety." Current bills before Congress such as HR875, S425, HR759, etc., lack any producer protective language patterned after Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USCsec 203(s)(2)and DSHEA protective language of the 2007 FDA act, Section 1011.

"They are therefore unacceptable to the members of a free society and must be defeated."

Urgent 3-Part Action Item:
Step 1: Click here to email the President

Step 2: Call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 and the comment center 202-456-1111. Let's keep those phones ringing!

Step 3:
Click here to tell Congress "NO!" to all of the fake food "safety" bills. They provide neither real, wholesome food nor safety:

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