The Facts About HR 875, 759 and 1322

| 3/27/2009 3:57:25 PM

Tags: industrial agriculture, food safety, sustainable farms, food and agriculture policy, organic agriculture,

Today the Cornucopia Institute issued an alert, calling to action its troops in support of organic and sustainable agriculture. Three bills have been introduced to Congress (HR 875, 759 and 1322), all designed to strengthen our country’s food safety system, but all falling short. 

Like the Organic Consumers Association, the Cornucopia institute was quick to point out that none of the bills are backhanded attempts from agriculture giants to cripple organic producers, as many have been led to believe. (Read HR 875: No Need for Alarm ... Yet.) But they do urge you to visit their website to read up on the bills, and contact your representatives to make your opinions known. As always, sample message wording and contact info for members of Congress are supplied — it will take a matter of minutes to make a big difference!


dan marks
5/7/2009 2:26:26 PM

Why would anyone want to restrict the "simple wording" to just during the "Economically Challenging" times? Who would decide if times were "Economically Challenging"? How about restricing the federal government involvement to either (a) just interstate commerce involvement (as is stipulated in the Constitution), or (b) add an amendment authorizing an FDA, period (it is NOT authorized and therefore it is unconstitutional at this time)? See the 10th amendment, please. Dan .

dominic ebacher
4/23/2009 3:37:39 PM

Genius! Keeping it simple, and redesigning laws like this so that they made sense would be a huge help to a working public that don't speak legalese. "No foodstuffs produced by American Citizens on their own property for their own consumption, sharing with neighbors or to supplement other hungry individuals during these Economically Challenging times shall be covered by HR 875."

sharon s._1
4/6/2009 8:52:14 AM

When one writes a bill with such sweeping language that does not specifically exclude small farmers, roadside veggies stands, and home gardens it causes confusion and apprehension. So here is the question: Wouldn't this entire mess just be cleared up if simple language, you know the Keep It Simple Silly principle, was applied? How about: "No foodstuffs produced by American Citizens on their own property for their own consumption, sharing with neighbors or to supplement other hungry individuals during these Economically Challenging times shall be covered by HR 875." I mean - we expect results - let us tell the legislators what we want. Maybe that is too simple - but look at the situation we are in now by writing thousand page Bills.

william silverman
4/5/2009 9:29:45 AM

The question that always pops up for me is: How come the American news media gives us not a hint of this pending legislation? Do their sponsors, and consequently, their chief editors dictate what is and is not acceptable to report on? Of course, the answer is self evident. I too am not sophisticated with leagalease, so, have to weigh and balance the interpretations I read. And, from what I've read in the way of opinions, I'm not at all surprised at what agribusiness is trying to do. Nonetheless, I am still shocked! I live in an area where there are many small farms. I go to a co-op that sells organic food including locally grown produce. I can envision underground growing of good vegatables, the secret sequestering of seeds. Don't kid yourself, Big Brother ain't very far away. Bill Silverman

4/1/2009 3:44:40 PM

I have seen this topic posted on other boards. It seems there is general concern over the vagueness of the bill. I especially don't like the words "any farm" in the definition of a food production facility. I would strike it and replace with simply "a farm". There should also be some language exempting small operations. Should there be some bad actors in small farm operations, let local laws deal with them.

3/31/2009 5:29:27 PM

I thought for sure I could go to Mother Earth News to find a rational, objective view as to how alarmed we should be and how soon we should take action about H.R. 875. I am surprised to not see talk of it in big bold letters on every page! This is serious business--to what I can only imagine are most Mother Earth subscribers and readers. Where can I go to find the unbiased, objective interpretation of what the passing of this bill will mean for small producers? I am VERY concerened and I KNOW I'm not alone. Please, use your resources, Mother Earth News, and give us the information we need in order to take the most effective action to protect the sanctity and health of small farms, farmers, AND American consumers.

doug myerscough_3
3/31/2009 2:56:07 PM

As an organic farmer who is somewhat familiar with legalese and who has just read the bill, I can assure you that I will be out of business if this bill passes. I farm a very small raised bed farm that can barely make a profit as it is. I will not be able to afford the costs involved nor will I have enough time to both farm and do the paperwork which would be at least another full time job. I do not care to live in a country that would do this to its small farmers.

3/29/2009 8:43:19 PM

In response to HR 875, it is paperwork intensive to buy produce from a local farmers market, or to have a small organic farm. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand the law, as I have read this bill. It would be good if everyone would write their Representative in the House, and Senators, to have an exemption put in this bill that would protect those small farmers/dairies from such regulation, and also home gardens and family farms. We do not want to buy all our food from major corporations, and that is what will happen. if we don't fight for our right to organic gardens, and keep our farmers markets from paperwork, and government intervention that would push food prices out of reach. Many would just quit growing healthy food and move on to other jobs. If we don't write, call and ask for those exemptions, then we will end up with only major corporations being able to grow food for human consumption, and that means cancer causing chemicals in all the food. Thanks.

john fritz_3
3/27/2009 9:05:07 PM

Other than the comments on the MEN website about H.R.875, everything I've read about this legislation argued that it's broadly worded and vague language would allow GMO companies like Monsanto to claim that pollen from heirloom vegetables have contaminated their hybrid seeds and then allow the GMO company to confiscate the real estate from which these heirloom pollens have drifted. Monsanto, in fact, has a history of doing this exact thing, though in reverse: Claiming that the owners of real estate that have received their at-large GMO pollens have therefore stolen their patented genes. The broad, vague language of H.R. 875 also requires the use of prescribed chemicals that are not part of the Organic paradigm. So that, while it does not specifically outlaw Organic Farming and Gardening, it does make it impossible to legally pursue such, by implication. I should make clear that I am a lay person who is not adept at interpreting "legalese", and that the above objections to H.R. 875 are largely based on reading of critques of it and not on personal interpretation. Still it is hard to understand how glaring differences in the level of concern can exist between everything else I've read about this bill and what appears on the MEN website vis-a-vis the Conucopia Institute's posting there. Perhaps they are not concerned because it is early in the legislative wrangling that goes into the passage of any bill. This would be a mistake. Any bill as far reaching as H.R. 875 should not be met with blase complacency, but instead with vehement resistance. I expect no less from the readers of MEN. This is especially true if, as reported elsewhere, that Monsanto and other GMO comanies helped write H.R. 875. How many times will common people let themselves be fooled by predatory corporations and the media that supports such corporations?

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