Farmers — and those who enjoy their produce — are probably asking themselves this: Why does the Obama administration so hate farming? The answer is two-fold: It likely comes down to freedom and corporatism.
During 2010 and 2011 the Food and Drug Administration conducted a concerted effort to suppress the distribution of unpasteurized milk across state lines. Among the targets of these stings were food clubs and the harmless Amish, including Pennsylvania’s Don Allgyer, who had to shut down his beloved Rainbow Acres Farm. The arcane rules against raw milk were enforced — at gunpoint — despite the health benefits of the beverage and the freedom that people should have to willingly ingest the foods they want in the manner they’d like.
In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (an arm of the Department of Transportation) had a plan to override states’ rights and reclassify farm vehicles and implements as commercial vehicles, which would have required hundreds of thousands of farm workers to get a commercial drivers license (CDL). As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, the language within those regulations would have reclassified farming as interstate commerce, which would have opened the flood gates to federal oversight of all farming activities. Fortunately, a last minute flurry during the public comment period prevented these regulations from becoming the law of the land.
Then, later that year, the Department of Labor came out with a draft of new labor laws that would have forever harmed agriculture by preventing 14- to 17-year-olds from doing a wide variety of farming tasks, which included working with and around tractors and powered equipment and all acts of animal husbandry. This would have kept thousands of teens unemployed and prevented their exposure to the lifestyle of farming in their formative years. Once again, this was stopped by intense public feedback.
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Bob Confer (photo)