It's time to raise a hue and cry on this one, on its way through congress at the moment. This bill could be a potentially devastating blow to any progressive agricultural project, and especially would impact Hawaii. Take the time to do some research on the intent and the likely consequences of this legislation. Read it for yourself.
I don't like to offer my opinions on such things, as I believe people should read such material for themselves, but few seem willing to do so. In a nut shell, at the moment, these are the ramifications of this bill as I see them.
1) Every "farm" in the country must be federally licensed and registered. A 500 dollar annual fee.
2) Every "farm" in the country is now open to federal inspection at any moment in time.
3) Every "farm" must provide in essence a detailed "MSDS" on every farm product. If you grow a green bean, you'll need to register with the federal government what kind of green bean it is, where the seeds came from, the process by which it was grown, and any and all soil amendments, or fertilizers, or mulches, or pesticides, or whatevers where used in the process. 10000 dollar fine for each omission. This includes home brewed mixtures of garlic juice and tobacco or elsewise.
4) Of course, all of those fertilizers, or mulches, or carts of horseshit you use to grow those green beans will require producer "MSDS" sheets as well, as to what the mulch is made of, or what the horses ate, or where it all came from.
The strict interpretation of these provisions are onerrous in the extreme to any small farmer, and the fines so threatening for small operations that surely the bill will discourage small farming. The provisions are especially difficult for small operations that emphasize diversity, or organic practice, or permaculture, as the paperwork load required will be hundreds of times more complicated than that of, say, a huge factory farm growing GMO corn. . .this is how I see it.
Read the material for yourself and form a educated opinion. Primarily this will impact the consumer, rather than the producer, and everyone has a vested interest in the details. Kiss farmers markets good bye if the bill passes in its current form.
I'm trying to get a discussion going on the forum, by the way. It's important.
UPDATE: Farm language has been modified, thankfully, to be specifically exempt as long as no processing occurs on the farm site. The language pertaining to processing is very precise, and involves simple things like cutting or drying. More on this as it comes along.
UPDATE: annual fee for drying herbs has been raised to 1000 bucks, from 500, from zero. Monsanto may care little. You might.
UPDATE: This bill, written by people on the Monsanto payroll(no shit, really.) has passed the house. Some exemptions have supposedly been made for small farms, no details.
There's two other bills in tow behind this one if this one doesn't achieve the agenda. Again, written by those on the Monsanto payroll. No shit. Stay tuned.
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