Pennsylvania Dairy Regs Threaten Small Farms

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Make Your Voice Heard, our Farmers Need Support

by guest blogger, Tom Maurer

I believe that we will lose our food choices if we merely buy the food items we like and ask someone else to take the risks and protect those rights. We all need to work to protect those rights, whenever the opportunity presents itself. We are at one of those points right now that requires your immediate action.

Thursday, October 7, 2010, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) in Pennsylvania, will hear “closing arguments” on the proposed revised dairy regulations, including the sections dealing with raw milk. We are past the discussion stage. The next step will be a yes or no vote by the IRRC.

A number of groups supporting raw milk have expended considerable time, energy and other resources commenting on and trying to get changes made to the proposed regulations. While I certainly do not question their motives, the results of those efforts have not corrected the major deficiencies and in the overall scheme of things produced only trivial changes.

Follow this Link to See the Proposed Regulations

Go to www.irrc.state.pa.us to read a copy of the proposed regulations.

The proposed regulation adds additional hurdles and costs to raw milk producers under the guise of public health and safety, some problematic enough to possibly put some farmers out of business. It is a waste of time to debate the true intent of these regulations. If someone shoots and kills you, the fact that they didn’t intend to doesn’t make you less dead.

The issue at hand is that these regulations must be stopped. This is what you need to do!! First, email a letter to the IRRC by 10:00 AM, Tuesday, October 5, 2010, expressing your desire that they reject the proposed regulation. Please make it forceful but civil.

Sample Lobbying Email

My name is _________________, I am a raw milk consumer and I respectfully request that you reject proposed regulation #2777 Department of Agriculture 2-160: Milk Sanitation.  I am an intelligent, discriminating consumer and do not need protection from my farmer-neighbor or local market or store. If they provide an unsatisfactory product or fail to appropriately correct a problem they will be out of business quickly. At that level, State regulation does not and cannot provide a higher level policing; every consumer polices that supplier with every transaction and has direct enforcement options. Where we need government involvement is where the suppliers or markets are no longer our neighbors but rather corporations created by the State. Food safety is not size neutral. Larger operations are more complex, problems have much more far-reaching impacts and we have no direct meaningful recourse if there is a problem. The regulation needs to focus on those operations.

Although some regulations on this latter group are necessary, the regulation could be much simpler if they were performance standards, requiring that the end product achieves a desired result. How that result is achieved is the producers’ responsibility, not the State’s. That would result in the State’s role being to test for compliance, a function that could easily be contracted out, rather than inserting itself in micromanaging the operation.

Again, I view the proposed regulation as excessive, and in some cases onerous and unnecessary. These flaws warrant that the proposed regulation be rejected.

Sincerely,

Your Name
City, State

IMPORTANT:  see the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund Action Alert.

Pennsylvanians, Attend the Public Hearing

Second, the hearing for this regulation will be at 10 AM, Thursday, October 7th in the 14th floor conference room, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA. I know this is short notice, but if you are from Pennsylvania and can possibly fit it into your schedule, please attend. This is a critical issue in the fight to regain control of our food and food choices. You can make a difference. And if your food is important to you, you need to let that be known loud and clear.

Over our lifetime, we all get many opportunities. Successful people are those who (1) recognize an opportunity and (2) recognize that opportunities don’t always appear when it’s convenient and (3) are flexible enough to take advantage of the opportunity. This is one of those opportunities.

Tom Maurer is one of the founders of the Lebanon Valley Food and Farming Association and now serves as Chairman. He is a life member of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and Secretary of Communities for Responsible Eco-Farming. When he was farming, he raised beef cattle, meat goats, hogs and chickens. Tom is a former civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers and served in the U.S. mililtary. He currently is an agricultural soil consultant.

See Tom’s previous post, Why Food Safety Bills are Marketing Strategy in Disguise his opinion editorial on the Food Safety Modernization Act which may come to a vote soon in the U.S. Senate.

Note from Kimberly: Please see the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund action alert for more details, especially if you are going to write a letter.

Here is the contact page to send your email:
http://www.irrc.state.pa.us/Contact.cfm

Comments

  1. Once again, the Agricultural industry is using regulations to destroy their competition, under the guise of “safety”. If we let this happen we will eventually have nothing left to eat but the very worst of the factory food.

    Our freedom to choose our own food is in great danger.

    I urge everyone who cares about eating healthy food to fight these regulations.

  2. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Your letters and calls helped! The regs didn’t go through. Here is a press release from PASA about it:

    Raw Milk After Math–How Sweet it Is!

    http://pasafarming.org/news/pasa-news

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