From: "Maple Creek Farm"
To: "Michelle Lutz"
Subject: Food News From The Farm Issue 1
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 09:35:34 -0500
Food News From The Farm Jan 19th, 2007
Maple Creek Farm
Dear Supporters & Consumers Of Organic Food,
We feel a sense of responsibility as your organic farmers to ask for your help when our food choices are being threatened. We know our voice as a csa is heard, so please let's get involved and be a part of positive change. We hope you enjoy our new email segment this year-Food News From The Farm.
There has been a lot of negative reports about our food lately in the news, it seems everywhere we turn we're hearing about cloned animal meat, genetically modified animals, grains, vegetables, fraud & mislabeling of organic products (Wal-Mart). The truth is the only way to really know your food is to know your farmer. We understand it may feel a little unrealistic to have a connection with every aspect of your consumption, but we know there are channels available to us all right here in Michigan where we can make an impact. So we're asking you to get involved. See below for how to take action.
First concern among a lot of farmers and consumers is the NAIS program. Basically it's an animal id program. Many people think this is going to over burden the small producer and force them out of the market place. While we are able to understand the concerns facing the conventional food systems i.e. dealing with mad cow, cloned and genetically modified animal products entering out food chains in the near future. The USDA will need a system to track down (ha) the contaminated food source. We wish they could see the answer lies not in id tags, but in sustainable organic farm
practices. Stop feeding animal protein tubs (proteins tubs used in conventional systems contain the carcasses of animals, as a source of "protein"), keep the animals on pasture, stop feeding hormones & antibiotics as part of their regular diet, stop mass confinement of animals. If we could stop feed lots and the practices kept in that mass production system we wouldn't have to worry about mad cow, they wouldn't have to feed hormones and antibiotics as part of their regular diet. Cows
like to eat grasses, it's just that simple.
I was very disappointed to read the other day that some scientists solution to mad cow is not a simple dietary change, but to genetically modified the animal to not produce prions! Deep down I know why these changes are made, because they (big ag business) can make lots of producers dependent on their costly course. Costly in many ways....way beyond just dollars & cents.
Our approach as organic farmers is just far too simple, feed & take care of your animals well. Big business doesn't want to go the organic route because there is far too much money made in the conventional farming arena (not the farmers, just the manufactures of ag related products). From the excessive drugs the animals are fed to the petroleum based fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and the genetic modification of the crops grown to feed them, there's some mighty big hands in those pots. I'm talking about Monsanto, Cargill, ADM-the latest commercials from these companies really scare me, the king of spin, they want you to believe they care about your health and the health of our environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. They just want to control the market place, control the food-right
down to the seed, and take away your food choice.
Maybe we're just one of the lucky ones. Our beef operation is small, and it really works for us. We have a small herd of certified organic registered black angus. We brought the animals to the farm to aid in soil fertilization over 8 years ago. We also use the beef herd as part of our crop rotation program. We are also a breeding operation for another organic farmer in the area (Elmer Slabaugh) he takes all of our steers, and raises them for purchase. We are also blessed to have right here in Yale a family owned organic processor. C Roys. So maybe it's just our situation, but I can track my animals without a special computer tracking chips. Computer chips that cost money, require special software to report, and to be quite
honest we really don't have time to add this into our already busy schedules. What we will spend time on is growing your good food :
We will be contacting the governor asking her not to implement the NAIS program and I hope you will too.
Your Organic Farmers,
Danny & Michelle Lutz
Maple Creek Farm
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
The following is a full report sent to be by Healthy Traditions Network giving you the full scoop on NAIS: Please pass this email along others that will help.
Immediate Action Needed to Protect Our Food Supply! Fight Cattle ID!
We face a serious threat to our food supply. The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) has pushed through a requirement to add a new electronic tag to all cattle by March 1, 2007, just 6 weeks from now. This is a needless, costly procedure that will saddle small family farms with practical, financial, and ethical burdens. Many may leave the business rather than comply, or be forced out by the costs. While this is being done under the guise of the tuberculosis program, it is also the start of a
federal program, called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which will bring all animals (including pets) under massive government surveillance.
MDA's plan will harm both farmers and consumers. Please contact our Governor and ask her to halt the program until reasonable alternatives can be found.
What to do - Contact the Governor:
Between Wednesday, January 17, and Friday, February 9, call, fax, e-mail or write the Governor. Focus on just one or two points in each message. State your name and address and ask the Governor to stop implementation of the Michigan Mandatory Animal Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Program. This is the only way we can stop this with so little time left.
We need 3,000 messages to get her attention enough to act. We can do this!
(1) contact the Governor yourself and
(2) forward the alert to 10 friends.We need to reach farmers and consumers throughout the state with this
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, P.O. Box 30113, Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-3400
Fax: (517) 335-6863
What to Say & How:
Call, fax, and email are best if you can do it. Below are talking points
that you may use in your messages. Be sure to personalize your call, email
or letter - tell her a bit about who you are and why you think this is
important. Show you care, but stay polite.
Messages Due to Governor by February 9th -
We will then ask the Governor for an in-person meeting to present the issues. If you must use mail, for religious reasons, just send the letters as soon as you can.
For more information, go to www.libertyark.net or contact Lisa Imerman at
email@example.com or 248-618-9266.
Economic Damage. NAIS and the Michigan's Mandatory RFID Cattle tagging program will drive farmers and ranchers out of business and hurt Michigan's economy.
There has been no cost analysis by USDA or MDA. Costs of the program = the cost of the tags, hardware, software, and labor.
Small farmer and ranchers will pay these costs, and many cannot afford it.
Service providers (veterinarians, feed stores, auction houses, meat processors, etc.) will be harmed whenthe farmers and ranchers go out of business.
Remaining farmers will pass the costs on to consumers, lowering demand for local foods.
The Governor's Michigan Food Policy Council recommended increasing the purchasing of Michigan-grown food products, supporting local farmers, to stimulate Michigan's
economy. MDA's program undermines goals. Exporting isn't the answer for Michigan's local farmers. They should not have to tag if they're not exporting. No Scientific Basis. Neither the USDA nor the MDA has scientific proof show that this will improve disease control.
It does not address the cause, treatment, or transmission of disease, in domestic or wild animals.
It does not significantly improve on current methods for identification
and tracking of disease. Even with
the RFID program in place, MDA recommends farmers still keep
written field records. So, farmers must now use two systems.
Not for Food Safety The program will not improve food safety. USDA itself has stated that this is not a food safety program. Contamination of food with e. coli and other bacteria occurs at the slaughterhouse or afterwards.
Not About Terrorism. The program will not protect against terrorism. The microchips chosen by the state can be cloned, destroyed, or infected with computer
viruses, and reprogrammed. Any terrorist or thief can use this.
The database of information will be created by Michigan but available to USDA. Government databases can be hacked into.
Unconstitutional. The NAIS and Michigan's mandatory Cattle RFID tagging program infringes on people's constitutional rights, including due process, privacy,
and religious freedom. MDA's proposal to address religious concerns isn't fully defined.
Voluntary Federal NAIS USDA states that NAIS is voluntary at the federal
level, so there is no "federal mandate requiring MDA to move forward with this program.
The MDA has signed a Cooperative Agreement with USDA, however, and is
also getting federal funds for implementing the cattle tagging program.
MDA is following funding, not the will of the citizens of the state.
MDA also has a conflict of interest because one of the main officials
implementing this program, Kevin Kirk, is the Treasurer for an industry organization (NIAA) that is advocating for NAIS.
No Legal Basis. MDA is implementing this new program via policy change, with no new legislation or the normal regulatory process
Without any pre-notification, the MDA simply assigned a USDA premises
number to all people who had herds tested in the TB Eradication program, which may lead to expensive litigation over misuse of people's information.
CONCLUSION: Many legislators are prepared to address the issue, but they need more time. We implore the Governor to stop this program before March