Posts Tagged Corruption in Government

Wyoming withdraws from NAIS

Livestock Board returns $140,000.00 in federal funds

Cheyenne — Wyoming

Livestock Board members, meeting in Cheyenne Aug. 21, voted to abandon their agreement to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in implementing its National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

According to agency director Jim Schwartz, the agreement amounted to $140,000 in grant money.

Schwartz says the decision by the board resulted in the agency’s lost ability to utilize those funds in developing what some had hoped would be a state-level program.

“I had signed the contract,” says Schwartz, “but hadn’t spent anything.” It’s now a matter of sending the money back. Asked if other states are taking similar measures, he says most see this year’s disbursement as the last they’ll be offered and aren’t refusing the funds. Congress, citing expenditures surpassing adequate progress, is amidst debates on the future of NAIS funding. If funding continues, it will likely be at a much-reduced rate. Many believe the whole animal ID issue is dead.

Gillette rancher and veterinarian Eric Barlow brought the resolution to reject the NAIS agreement. “After reviewing the work document which outlined what we would do with the money,” says Barlow, “it did not appear to me to be building on a national program or being used to establish or fortify any program the WLSB has implemented.”

Barlow says that some members expressed hope the funds could be used in advancing the agency’s computerization efforts. “Maybe we could have, if that’s what we would have asked for,” says Barlow. “Either someone didn’t ask for that or USDA rejected it.” Barlow says the way he read the plan of work the money would have been used to register premises, educate producers on NAIS and hire staff for a six-month period for the purpose of doing those things.

Brent Larson of Laramie and Liz Philp of Shoshoni, sheep producer representatives on the board, were the two dissenting votes to the resolution.

Larson says while he doesn’t support NAIS, he did see the opportunity to use the dollars to advance Wyoming’s programs. He wanted the agency to seek amendments to its agreement with the USDA on how the dollars would have been spent.

“I thought we could make it work for us,” says; Larson. “Why not rework the plan and use the; $140,000 to build something that would work for Wyoming?” Something that would be worthwhile?

Without the $140,000 grant the Wyoming NAIS Director’s employment would possibly not be funded.

Appreciating the need to preserve the market-ability of Wyoming livestock, Barlow says he suggested that staff form a working group, including; industry representatives, to look at existing programs and how they can serve as the underpinning of a Wyoming-based program.

Larson, given the $800,000 in budget cuts the agency took earlier this year, isn’t sure where the money for a state-level program will come from. It would have been good to keep the USDA grant if it had true value to help Wyoming livestock producers. The board voted to give it all back due to too many negative strings attached.

Quotes provided by Jennifer Womack, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.com.

Note: WYOMING REFUSES TO BE BOUGHT! Congratulations to Wyoming!! NAIS has provided generous funding for USDA offices in every state with minimal oversight in regard to premises enrollment.

States joining Wyoming have received the following “grant” funds not including 2009 funding: Colorado $4,896,995; Idaho $4,242,645; Kansas $3,882,270; Montana $2,110,256; Nebraska $3,749,005; South Dakota $3,155,907.

Although Wyoming has repented of their latest “grant,” funds, their hands are not totally clean. During 2002 to 2008 they have deposited from USDA a total of $2,054,538.

Pledging to enroll producers in the NAIS program, the Wyoming effort was costing $1,119 per premise sign up. However, if Wyoming did a good job, USDA projected future funding would allow them to harvest another $7,151,717 additional.

Wyoming is to be honored by their own livestock producers and other states for setting the example of refusing NAIS demands. The strings attached by USDA appeared to be hanging nooses to ranchers in Wyoming, and many others agree.

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Super Human Radio: Stoping HR 2749 the Fake Food Safety Bill.

As you may know the US government is trying to pass a law, HR2749, which is about imposing totalitarian control on the food supply (such as mandating GMO-food) and restricting anything natural or healthy, such as access to supplements or even any natural food. Our health and very lives and the lives of our children depend on this being stopped. This is not an exaggeration. Our food supply will be placed in the hands of large factory farms and conglomerates like Monsanto who’s only objective is profits.

This is nothing short of a full out assault on independent and family owned agricultural producers to end competition to corporate producers. Within the verbiage is language that would once and for all codify Codex Alimentarius into U.S. law. This will restrict access to all supplements currently available over-the-counter. In Europe, CODEX has restricted the availability of such OTC products as Glucosamine and Selenium and now people are required to obtain a prescription to obtain these supplements. In fact, Vitamin C will no longer be available in anything larger than a 60 Mg tablet under CODEX!!
If you would like to take an in-depth look at what HR2749 will do to our food supply while handing it over to companies like Monsanto, read this entry in the Food Freedom Newsletter “Why HR2749 Is No Good For Us“.
Every American needs to know about this, and how they can help create real change. Email your friends, family, coworkers… everyone. Tell them their ’s and the health and lives of their children are at stake.
I have established a simple and effective way to let your opinion be known. Emails and snail mail don’t work because emails can be deleted and snail mail is shredded. BUT a fax must be read, cataloged, filed and saved FOR YEARS! I have set up a way for you to fax your State Representative or Senator in sixty seconds or less. Everything you need is on one page. You can locate your Representative and his or her fax number. I have had political activist Marti Oakley write a form letter so you can simply copy it and add your personal information. AND YOU CAN FAX THE MESSAGE RIGHT FROM MY SITE FOR FREE!
Please take action NOW. Take one minute out of your day and go to http://www.superhumanradio.com/core/2749.htm and send a fax to your State Representatives and Senators telling them that you do not want HR2749 to be voted in as Law. And copy and paste this email and pass it to everyone you know. We must act now before our God given rights to healthy natural food and supplements are sold to the large corporate monsters who put their profits far above our health and longevity.
Live Stronger, Live Longer,.
Carl Lanore
Super Human Radio
Follow Me On Twitter http://www.twitter.com/triceptor

Super Human Radio, 2528 Glen Eagle Dr, Louisville, KY 40222, USA

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Stuck on Stupid – (USDA)

PPJG original post. Author: Marti Oakley © August 22, 2009 4:23 pm cst

This is such a crock even I can’t believe it.  This is the actual public statement by USDA claiming they heard substantial support for NAIS/Premises ID.  What were these people smoking?

getimage~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Officials with the Department of Agriculture said they heard

substantial support for animal disease traceability during a series of

public meetings but many animal owners indicated concerns. Cost,

privacy, bureaucracy, liability in the event of a disease outbreak,

and the religious implications of such animal identification are

behind ongoing opposition to the department’s National Animal

Identification System.”

Those guys at the USDA are such jokers! And, after reading this press release from Wisconsin, the Wisconsin AG department must be in on the joke. The USDA listening sessions, each having been taped, shows that an estimated 95% of those attending were vehemently opposed to any such plan as the National Animal Identification System/Premises ID plans.

This small announcement has been picked up in various places but Wisconsin is one of those three test states that took cooperative agreement funding (bribery) to implement Premises Id through the state legislature.  Wisconsin is now preparing to go into Phase 2, NAIS.

Did I mention that Wisconsin wasn’t included in the listening session tours?  I wonder why?

It must have come as quite a shock to USDA representatives to be confronted with the high numbers of independent and family producers who showed up for each and every one of these sessions in every state where they were held.  I say this because for the most part USDA reps stuttered and stammered and had a look about them as if they were about to face the gallows. Then to have these same participants, whom the USDA was sure would be awed simply by its presence, whom the USDA was sure were just dumb farmers and ranchers who didn’t know anything, stand up and pointedly and with knowledge explain that they knew, what the intent of these programs really were and what it would do to their operations, must have been a frightening experience for them.

Nothing is worse than the realization that you have seriously underestimated your opponent and the obvious misconceptions you had about them.

In fact, if USDA is that confused about what took place at these “listening sessions” and the “breakout sessions” meant to steer those simple minded rural folk into thinking or believing that NAIS/Premises ID was a good idea, You Tube is loaded with videos documenting the public anger and outrage over this attempt to run them out of business.

The only “substantial support” the USDA can truthfully claim was from the hired security guards that stood between them and the people they feared most:  The farmers and ranchers they intend to put out of business on behalf of industrialized corporate agriculture, and international interests.

Just a side note:

The Pork Producers, Farm Bureau, and Dairy Industry via national organizations gave token support for the program; each of them listed as campaign donors to many of the politicians in the Ag Department.

Many of the larger producers most of whom belong to national organizations, speaking on behalf of members (who had no real idea of the impact this would have on their operations and many of whom are still in a state of shocked numbness,) claimed they needed NAIS to protect the security of their Industry.  Ironic how the dairy and pork folks have their hands out for cooperative agreement funds (bribes) and many have signed MOU’s (memoranda of understanding) with the USDA.  I wonder how these organizations will explain to their members how the government’s involvement in their industry was the cause of their financial problems to begin with…and they knew it.

USDA: You jackasses did NOT hear any substantial support for this ill advised plan.  What you did hear was the growing backlash against government takeover of agriculture.

Did I mention that Tom Vilsack never made an appearance?  Neither did Collin Peterson (D) MN, head of the Agriculture Committee in the US HOUSE who swore after the March AG meeting he would have NAIS mandatory by December 31 of this year.  Now you would have thought these two guys would have been out pitching their plan. Maybe they were busy those days; probably having lunch with those good old boys from Monsanto or some corporate lobbyist looking to make a buck……or spend one.

(C) copyright 2009  Marti Oakley


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Who speaks for family farmers?

Who speaks for family farmers?

By: Rhonda Perry, Minuteman Media, Worthington Daily Globe

ARMSTRONG, Mo. — My family has farmed in Missouri for over a century and I currently raise livestock and grain on 800 acres in Howard County, Mo. But folks like me always seem to get drowned out in Washington, D.C, by commodity groups purporting to represent my interests. The American Farm Bureau bills itself as the “voice of agriculture.” A seemingly innocent-sounding group called the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) calls itself “the only nationwide expression of dairy farmers.” These organizations spend millions in lobbying and donating money to politicians. In the halls of Congress, in the federal agencies, and in presidential administrations, representatives from these groups exert undue control over the agenda for food and agriculture policy.

It is nearly impossible to convince D.C. politicians that these corporate interests do not represent the interests of family farmers. Until now. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently concluded 13 listening sessions to hear farmers’ input on the despised National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that calls for us to electronically tag and track the movements of every one of our animals. Factory farms, however, are allowed one group lot ID for their thousands of animals. Over $130 million of taxpayer money has been wasted on this radical, corporate-driven bureaucracy that originated from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, a group comprised of — surprise, surprise — the Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), NMPF and agribusinesses such as Cargill. Only a gigantic outcry from farmers has stopped NAIS from becoming mandatory by its proposed 2009 date.

At listening sessions across the country, including one in Missouri attended by over 300 people, up to 95 percent of producers were united in their adamant disapproval of NAIS and how it would do nothing to address animal disease or food safety. The few folks in the crowd willing to go on record for their support of NAIS were uniformly from the likes of NPPC, Farm Bureau and NMPF allies. That should tell the media, Congress, USDA and the Obama administration to quit listening to these interest groups and quit thinking of them as representing family farmers!

Why do we have such a broken food system that allows for deadly E. coli in our meat and now peanut butter? Why have factory farms been allowed to proliferate like viruses in rural America? Because these interest groups have been allowed to use their false facade representing America’s “farmers” to con politicians into buying their disastrous policies, while simultaneously conning the media into thinking that they speak on behalf of those farmers. Now they have conned USDA, President Obama and members of Congress into thinking we need a mandatory NAIS program.

These same corporate farm groups have opposed more testing for mad cow disease, opposed increased inspection of meat processing plants where most food borne illnesses start and continue to thwart any efforts to address antibiotic abuses on factory farms. Meanwhile they advocate for free trade agreements that bring in foreign animals from countries with known disease outbreaks like foot-and-mouth and BSE. Thus, the folks most responsible for breeding animal disease are now trying to shift responsibility from corporate meatpackers and factory farms onto the backs of America’s independent family farmers through NAIS.

Since 2006, NPPC has donated over $350,000 to federal politicians and spent over $3 million in lobbying. NMPF has spent $2.2 million in lobbying, including for a mandatory NAIS, even while dairy farmers suffer their worst crisis since the Great Depression.

We are thankful that USDA took the time to listen to the voices of family farmers instead of relying on the same old corporate interest groups. Given the shocking chasm between our corporate farm groups and real family farmers, NAIS is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad farm policy that emanates from of Washington. So the next time you hear that “farm groups” oppose cracking down on antibiotics, or that they want to water down environmental regulations over factory farms or that we need another free trade agreement the likes of the one with Colombia, just remember whose interests these folks really represent–and it’s not rural America.

Rhonda Perry is a livestock and grain farmer from Howard County, Mo. She serves as Program Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a member of the National Family Farm Coalition.

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The Jackasses did it……

HR 2749 the Seizure of the US food supply and production passed the House

hungryman_dees

This is an original article: posted July 31, 2009

By Marti Oakley http://ppjg.wordpress.com

Despite some really eloquent speeches to the contrary, our “for sale” House of Representatives passed the Food Fascism Act….euphemistically called a food safety act, by a margin of about 140 over the naysayer’s.

True to form, Rosa DeLauro spoke about things she knows nothing about and couldn’t care less; Rosa just loves her some Monsanto!

And that exclusion for farms??? Gone! And that includes you organic idiots who thought you had kissed enough behinds to have your industry excluded.

The newly revised bill that appeared overnight after the original was defeated 29th of July, now includes all those farms we were told would not be affected by this legislation. Of course those big agri-corporations made out like bandits. Biopiracy is going to have a profitable future thanks to the political whore’s in congress we call our representatives.

The entire HR 2749 bill was completely wiped and replaced with an amendment that was the text of another bill similar to, but far more lethal than the first. Now, please tell me again that backroom deals and pre-planned votes don’t happen in congress. To make it look bi-partisan, some Democrats voted no, and some Republicans voted yes. This was to make you think they had actually debated and considered what they all intended to do anyway.

The bill that passed does only two things……..it seizes control of food production and supply and then hands it over to big agri-corporations. The remaining content of the bill is a primer on enforcement……meaning all the powers they have granted themselves to prevent you from claiming Constitutional protections, and enabling them to violate your rights on multiple levels…..all for food safety of course.

There is NOTHING in this bill that will address, prevent or otherwise affect the safety of food. This was federal encroachment which will be extended to the states with the cooperation of state officials. This bill did nothing but establish a police agency, granting it massive and uncontrolled enforcement capabilities allowing it to make up even more rules to benefit its corporate sponsors, as it moves along.

Oh! And did I mention this will be done by expanding the FDA? The FDA for god’s sake!

A November 2007 report titled “Subcommittee on Science and Technology, FDA Science and Mission at Risk” doc was a scathing review of the not only the inadequacies of FDA, but the fact that it in no way can assure the safety of food in the United States.

That report cited the massive failure of FDA to perform even its basic functions, going on to declare the agency’s problems were the result of corporate influence and funding. It should have been declared defunct right then and there, but of course the lobbyists who stalk the hallways of congress on behalf bio-pirates and other parasitic corporations just wouldn’t hear of such a thing.

I can only assume the report on the massive failure of FDA to operate on even a cursory level ended up in the restrooms to wipe the behinds of all those royal asses who hold down seats in the House and who voted today to end competition for industrialized corporate producers while wiping out family and independent operations.

And it wasn’t just the House that sold us out. In the last few months various organic associations and other assorted producers came out with what they described as “myths on the net” about the intention of these bills. Why…..these bills were not going to apply to family and independent farms and ranches and surely not to organic growers. That was just internet hysteria! I wonder who was hysterical last evening as this bill passed specifically bringing them under the expanded FDA authority?

And drinks all around!

I have no doubt that dinner and drinks were being supplied last evening by corporate lobbyists as a way to thank House members for passing this seizure of the US food production and supply. FDA was probably pouring the champagne.

I wonder if anyone thought to invite those organic groups?

Maybe they could give everyone a big dose of Vioxx when they arrive, spike it with a Gardasil shot and then wash it all down with a big giant super sized diet soda loaded with that yummy aspartame. This should all be followed by a meal consisting of gmo infected fruits and veggies with a big slab of genetically altered meat just oozing antibiotics, growth hormones and the residues from chemicals of all kinds, shipped in from a country who gave their word they “inspected” the food before shipping it.

After all, thanks to Henry Waxman and his cohorts in Constitutional Crime, that’s what is going to end up on our plates.

(C) 2009 Marti Oakley

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In Washington, Aren’t All Things Politics, Even NAIS?

Written by: Chuck JolleyCattle Network

Even if the gentle folk at the USDA can’t see the handwriting on the wall, the more politically astute in the House and Senate are quite capable of reading the bright red neon signage. First, Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Ag appropriations sub committee, cut NAIS funding back to a chilly absolute zero.

The Senate originally proposed a paltry $14. 6 million — nothing more than a rounding error in the big bucks often tossed around inside the beltway – but Senators Jon Tester (D- MT) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) joined hands across the aisle and offered an amendment that slashed that number by half. If passed, NAIS funding would become an almost insignificant piece of the $23. 6 billion agricultural spending bill proposed for fiscal 2010.

Their amendment also limited use of those meager millions, slapping some serious handcuffs on Ag Secretary Vilsack’s failed effort to gain any industry support during his early summer cross-country listening sessions. Their reasoning?Congress had spent $140 million on the program and “gotten next to nothing.”

R-CALF and the Western Organization of Resource Councils, groups representing the rabidly anti-NAIS grassroots livestock producers, stood as one and applauded the Senate action. A standing ‘O. ‘Hurrah’s from the hinterland. WORC would have broken out the proverbial six pack for a party with their R-CALF friends just down the street in Billings, MT. They’ll keep the Bud on ice until the Senate agrees with DeLauro and zeroes out all funding, though, before dancing on the patio down at Tiny’s Tavern,

WORC’s Dan Teigan thanked Senators Tester and Enzi, for “taking the lead against this expensive, intrusive, and unworkable program. The conference committee should zero out all funding for the animal identification program. You don’t just want to slow down a runaway train. You want to stop it.”

R-CALF USA President Mad Max Thornsberry issued a surprisingly calm statement. “NAIS epitomizes what government should not do: it should not impose costly and highly intrusive regulatory burdens on private industry and private citizens without first considering alternatives, without first establishing a critical public need, and without first determining the effect that a significant government mandate would have on the culture and economy of the U. S. livestock industry.”

Teigan need not worry about that runaway train. The House and Senate just tore up the tracks. Doc Thornsberry can rest assured he’s helped defend the culture and economy of the U. S. Livestock industry. The actions of the House and Senate are a survival technique learned by most politicians; when attending a listening session, just shut up and listen. Those are voters doing the talking.

Chuck Jolley is a free lance writer, based in Kansas City, who covers a wide range of ag industry topics for Cattlenetwork. com and Agnetwork. com.

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Lies and Prevarication

Doreen Hannes, radio talk show host, NAIS scholar, legal analyst and livestock freedom advocate prepared the following details of HR 2749.  Hannes, far more knowledgeable of international political sabotage than most all elected officials, offers this carefully researched document.  Read it and go to the next town hall meeting with your elected employees.  Use this data to know how the cow ate the cabbage and where to spit it.  Darol


HR 2749 Authorizes International Take Over of Food Production –

by Doreen Hannes 2009

August 6, 2009

Spy on YouThe staff of Congress said HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, didn’t authorize the National Animal Identification System. Many organic groups agreed with them.

They weren’t telling the truth, however, either out of ignorance or deliberate omission.

HR 2749 certainly doesn’t mention “the” National Animal Identification System by name, but it definitely authorizes the program.

It also doesn’t state that it is legally authorizing Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, partially comprised of Codex guidelines on traceability and food safety and the OIE’s Guide to Good Farming Practices including auditing, certification and inspections as well as disincentives for not participating in the form of fines, penalties, and loss of access to market; but it most certainly does.

Is it possible that Congress doesn’t have the slightest idea what they were voting on?

Maybe, maybe not.

It doesn’t come as any surprise that Congress didn’t read the bill as it was changed three times in a 24-hour period before it was passed out of the House with a 283-142 vote.

Congress says it doesn’t have time to read bills like HR 2749.

The bill includes that mentioned above and even more.

All one needs to do is understand what is involved in Good Agricultural Practices and how the agencies of the World Trade Organization operate within member countries to get this.

I’ll explain that to you. Really, there are only a few pieces from the legislation itself that are necessary to read to fully comprehend that this is indeed what we are dealing with in HR 2749.

The international “guidelines” are much lengthier than the legislation itself.

HR 2749 is 160 pages in its final version. If you search through it, you will find the following references to international standards and guidelines:

“(B) INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS.—In issuing guidance or regulations… the Secretary shall review international hazard analysis and preventive control standards that are in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act and relevant to such guidelines or regulations to ensure that the programs…..are consistent……with such standards.” (page 35)

“CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS.—The Secretary shall apply this paragraph consistently with United States obligations under international agreements.” (page81)

“The Secretary shall issue regulations to ensure that any qualified certifying entity and its auditors are free from conflicts of interest. In issuing these regulations, the Secretary may rely on or incorporate international certification standards.” (page 82)

What this actually means is that there will be a layer of auditors, certifiers, and inspectors over every aspect of food production in this country, and that these inspectors and certifiers will be trained in ISO (International Standards Organization) management program certification.

The ISO has been working with Codex Alimentarius on Food Safety Standards and in particular, a technical standard for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) which is a consortium of the seven largest food retailers in the world, and that is ISO22000:2005.

All traceability falls under the purview of Codex, the OIE (World Animal Health Organization and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) for global trade agreements.

The following excerpt from HR 2749 shows the fully interoperable global network already in existence regarding food and its production:

“Development of such guidelines shall take into account the utilization of existing unique identification schemes and compatibility with customs automated systems, such as integration with the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the International Trade Data System (ITDS), and any successor systems.” (page 142)

So it is clear that international standards and guidelines are implicit in this legislation.

Note the usage of the command form SHALL. This isn’t a ‘might’, ‘may’ or in anyway a voluntary issue on the part of the Secretary.

Then there is the section on Traceability. This is a code word in the National Animal Identification System and when one reads Sec.107 of this bill, it definitively describes components of NAIS even down to the 48 hour trace back, which cannot even be fantasized about with out individual animal identification.

“…..the Secretary shall issue regulations establishing a tracing system that enables the Secretary to identify each person who grows, produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, holds, or sells such food in as short a timeframe as practicable but no longer than 2 business days.” (=note that it says “grows”=) (page 70), and

“……use a unique identifier for each facility owned or operated by such person for such purpose…” (page69)

So we have PIN and 48 hour traceback harmonizing with international standards and guidelines along with this:

“….”(C) COORDINATION REGARDING FARM IMPACT.—In issuing regulations under this paragraph that will impact farms, the Secretary “(i) shall coordinate with the Secretary of Agriculture; and “(ii) take into account the nature of the impact of the regulations on farms.” (page 71)

Now that I’ve killed you with legalese, it’s time to let you find out just what these international standards and guidelines mean to those engaged in agriculture in this country.

Good Agricultural Practices are not a standard in and of themselves. They are more of a combination of standards and guidelines set forth by the FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, through both the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) and Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) to meet the certification and auditing side of the international trade aspects of the standards set forth.

The OIE and Codex are charged with setting global standards and guidelines for the member countries of the WTO to meet to satisfy the SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary), TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) and Equivalency agreements of the WTO for participation in international trade.

Both the OIE and CODEX have guidelines for traceability that, with the passage of HR2749 into law, would be written into regulations governing all interstate commerce within the boundaries of the United States.

The components of traceability are the pillars of NAIS that many of us have become so familiar with in the course of the battle over the past several years. Those being:

  • Premise Identification,
  • Animal Identification, and
  • Animal Tracking.

You can’t have traceability under the Codex and WTO and FAO international standards without having those three components.

One of the main issues in the implementation of these standards and guidelines within a member nation of the WTO is that they must have a legal framework through which to regulate and enforce these guidelines and standards.

HR 2749 would meet the criteria for that legal framework via the excerpts from the bill above.

In the OIE’s “Guide to Good Farming Practices” the management of a livestock facility are clearly spelled out.

Some of these recommendations that would become defacto law in the US under agency rule-making on passage of HR2749 (GGFP delineates international guidelines for food safety at the farm level) are for each animal, you must keep:

  • All commercial and health documents enabling their exact itinerary to be traced from their farm or establishment to their final destination,
  • A record of all persons entering the farm,
  • Medical certificates of persons working with the animals,
  • Documents proving the water you give to the animals meet specific criteria,
  • Samples of all feed given to the animals,
  • Documents from official inspections,
  • Records of treatment and procedures on all animals (castration, disbudding, calving, medications, etc.)
  • Prevent domestic animals (cats and dogs) from roaming in and around livestock buildings,
  • All of these documents at the disposal of the competent authority (government or veterinary services) when it conducts farm visits.

Some of the other guidelines and standards that would come into play after the implementation of traceability for all agricultural products would be :

  • (from FAO COAG/17 “Development of a Framework for Good Agricultural Practices”)
  • The adoption and implementation of international standards and codes for which Codex food safety standards and guidelines have been designed, and
  • The associated capacity building, training, development and field implementation in the context of the different production systems and agro-ecozones. These include:
    • Enhancing Food Quality and Safety by Strengthening Handling,
    • Processing and Marketing in the Food Chain (214A9);
    • Capacity Building and Risk Analysis Methodologies for Compliance with Food Safety Standards and Pesticide Control (215P1);
    • Food Quality Control and Consumer Protection (221P5);
    • Food Safety Assessment and Rapid Alert System (221P6); and
    • Food Quality and Safety Throughout the Food Chain (221P8).”*

To be certified as meeting the requirements of “GAP,” which is synonymous with being in compliance with international standards and guidelines, we can check out GlobalGAP.org.

This is “the” certifying methodology for international trade in ag products. Here are a few excerpts from their 122 page general regulations booklet that has links to checklists for those who would be certifiers and auditors under the principles of GAP.

GAP is an organization, not a governing body under WTO agreements, that works with nations and businesses to meet the criteria regarding these GAP practices for international trade. Here is a bare minimum of excerpts from their regulation document:

  • (ii) Developing a Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P.) framework for benchmarking existing assurance schemes and standards including traceability. (iii) Providing guidance for continuous improvement and the development and understanding of best practice. (iv) Establish a single, recognised framework for independent verification.
  • Production Location: A production unit or group of production units, covered by the same ownership, operational procedures, farm management, and GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) decision-making activities.
  • Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracing product from the producer’s immediate customer back to the producer and certified farm.
  • Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracking product from the producer to his immediate customer.

In simple English, which appears to be highly lacking in all these guidelines, it means NAIS for everything, and for anyone who wishes to be engaged in agriculture. Remember the “grows” phrase from the earlier excerpt from HR2749.

Now let’s look at some of the ‘exception’ clauses in HR2749.

This bill is a terrifically crafty piece of legislation that is designed to cloud the reader’s understanding of the impact of the law being proposed in it.

For example, all of the exception clauses give the exception under this Act so long as you are ready to be regulated under a different Act. We’ll just look at a couple of these clauses to allow you to get the gist of the lack of exception available through the exceptions….

FARMS- A farm is exempt from the requirements of this Act to the extent such farm raises animals from which food is derived that is regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act.

“(I) such an operation that packs or holds food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised, or consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership;

“(II) such an operation that manufactures or processes food, provided that all food used in such activities is consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership; (pages9 and10)

Thus, if you grow everything you feed and consume, then everything you grow—and use no minerals or salts that you don’t mine yourself—you may be exempt.

Or, in plain English, don’t even try to make a living in agriculture if you won’t comply with these rules.

One more exception to contend with here is:

(A) DIRECT SALES BY FARMS- Food is exempt from the requirements of this subsection if such food is–

(i) produced on a farm; and

(ii) sold by the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such farm directly to a consumer or to a restaurant or grocery store. (page 71)

Thissounds good.

However, there are several problems with this that are not evident without some knowledge of how things are done in the traditional avenues open for market to growers.

First of all, cattle, whom you may recall as the primary target of the NAIS Business Plan, are sold either at auction barns or via potload to feedlots. It is illegal to sell beef directly from the farm to consumers in every state that I know of. People often will sell a calf ready to butcher in halves or quarters to people and deliver the calf to the slaughter facility for the consumer, but this is far from the normal route of commerce in cattle or other species of meat animals. Even if you can securely wedge your operation into this particular exemption, they get you later via the record keeping section of this bill:

‘(E) RECORDKEEPING REGARDING PREVIOUS SOURCES AND SUBSEQUENT RECIPIENTS- For a food or person covered by a limitation or exemption under subparagraph (B), (C), or (D), the Secretary shall require each person who produces, receives, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, distributes, or holds such food to maintain records to identify the immediate previous sources of such food and its ingredients and the immediate subsequent recipients of such food.

‘(F) RECORDKEEPING BY RESTAURANTS AND GROCERY STORES- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), restaurants and grocery stores shall keep records documenting the farm that was the source of the food.

‘(G) RECORDKEEPING BY FARMS- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), farms shall keep records, in electronic or non-electronic format, for at least 6 months documenting the restaurant or grocery store to which the food was sold.’. (page 74 and 75)

So being exempt means you are required to keep records.

Keeping required records means you may be required to release those records. So how exempt can a person get under this legislation?

Then of course, as with any law, there are the fines and penalties. These are from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per violation. (page 122)

There is also the change under the seizure section that takes away judicial overview…(double quotations indicate amending language)

“. . .procedure in cases under this section shall conform, as nearly as may be, to the procedure in admiralty; except that on demand of either party any issue of fact joined in any such case shall be tried by jury, “”and except that, with respect to proceedings relating to food, Rule G of the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions shall not apply in any such case, exigent circumstances shall be deemed to exist for all seizures brought under this section, and the summons and arrest warrant shall be issued by the clerk of the court without court review in any such case””……pg 116

So we can just throw out that pesky Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and while we’re at it, let’s get rid of probable cause as well via this wording from page 117:

by striking “credible evidence or information indicating” and inserting “reason to believe;”

There are many other dangerous aspects to HR 2749, like seizures, quarantines, and licensing and whistle blower provisions, but this should leave no doubt that this bill will indeed affect ranches and farms, and has the potential to affect even home food production if an agency decides to apply the international risk analysis schemes to that venue.

Now, the questions that everyone involved in agriculture, meaning everyone who eats, must ask themselves are these:

Can regulating, fining and destroying the freedom of people to grow food create food safety?

Have the impacts of Free Trade on this nation been beneficial for the citizens of this country?

Have food safety concerns increased or decreased since we have begun to import more food under these trade agreements?

And ultimately, does the US Constitution provide for the voidance of the Bill of Rights to participate in global trade?

My copy of the Constitution clearly does not allow for any law to void the Bill of Rights which is unalienable and Constitutionally guaranteed. It’s time to let our Federal representatives know in no uncertain terms, that everything to do with governance ultimately comes down to the consent of the governed, and we will not consent to being run by international agencies.

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My deep thanks to Paul Griepentrog, who helped in going through the legislation and many of the ramifications and amendments to current law under this Act.

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USDA Partners with Private Company to Help Sell Ear Tags to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

“Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator

August 3, 2009                                                                                        Phone:  406-672-8969; e-mail: sdodson@r-calfusa.com

USDA Partners with Private Company to Help Sell Ear Tags

to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers

Billings, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with Allflex, a private multinational firm that manufactures and sells ear tags in more than seven countries, to help Allflex market, promote and sell ear tags to U.S. cattle producers. Both USDA and Allflex contributed $10,000 or more to become “Platinum Level” sponsors of the private industry conference ID∙INFO EXPO 2009 to be held August 25-27 at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. Among the stated purposes of the conference is to further participation in USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a program that would significantly increase the market demand for ear tags.

“This is a perfect example of how USDA is inappropriately using taxpayer dollars to further the interests of private multinational companies,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “This huge contribution clearly shows that USDA is catering to the interests of multinational corporations to the exclusion of the hard-working men and women who are being besieged both by ear tag companies and USDA to force them to comply with NAIS.”

In each of the 14 NAIS listening sessions held throughout the U.S. during May through June, overwhelming opposition was raised by U.S. farmers and ranchers against the USDA’s NAIS program.

“Despite this overwhelming opposition, and despite repeated pleas from U.S. farmers and ranchers that USDA cease catering to the interests of multinational corporations and begin listening to the concerns of U.S. citizens,  the agency obviously is forging ahead to help its corporate friends,” Thornsberry said.

“Allflex is among a select list of USDA-authorized ear tag manufacturers, so its help from USDA to boost demand for ear tags under NAIS is certain to boost the company’s marketing opportunities,” he added. “We are appalled by USDA’s brazen financial partnership with Allflex and urge Congress to immediately cut all further funding to USDA for the purpose of promoting NAIS.”

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketin! g issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

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The Amazing Failure of NAIS

Written by Harlan Hentges

Thursday, 23 July 2009 14:38

About the Author

Mr. Hentges is a 1992 graduate of the University of Texas with a juris doctorate from the School of Law and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He is a 1987 graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of science in agricultural economics.

He is admitted to practice law in the States of Oklahoma and Texas and the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the Oklahoma County Bar Association and the American Agricultural Law Association.

Mr. Hentges’s legal practice is concentrated in agricultural law, civil litigation, Endangered Species Act, eminent domain and appellate law.

Phone: (405) 340 6554

Harlan Hentges P. L. L. C.

1015G Waterwood Parkway Ste F1

Edmond, OK 73034

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) would have gathered and introduced a huge amount of new data into the food supply chain. Data is very valuable in any supply chain and would certainly be valuable to food. USDA had the power and resources of the US government and support of multinational corporations that dominate the U. S. meat market. Under these circumstances, getting data into the food supply chain should have been like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead it was an amazing failure. Why?

I submit that USDA and their industry partners have a common flaw in structure, leadership and management. The flaw causes them to be blind to social, cultural and economic values of food and farming . After several years and hundreds of millions of dollars, USDA continues to face fierce public opposition to NAIS and members of congress have declared NAIS a failure and have moved to eliminate funding. The failure of NAIS reveals a flaw and its potentially negative consequences for the food supply chain.

For at least four decades the U. S. consumer and producer have expressed a preference for a food and farming system that is consistent with their social and cultural values. In the 1970’s the American Agricultural Movement radically protested the loss of farms. In the 1980’s Farm Aid lamented the loss of farms. The 1990’s saw the growth of organic foods and specialized stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats. The 2000’shave movements such as local food, real food, raw food, slow food, vegetarian, and vegan. All of these movements and many more are vocal, national, well-publicized and they express the desire for food that is consistent with social and cultural values. Even the Pope writes about the lack of social and cultural values in our food system.

The only way to add social and cultural value to food is to provide consumers with information about their food . Valuable information would include where it was produced, by whom and under what conditions. This would permit consumers to know if the food they purchase is consistent with their values and enable them to act on those values.

When USDA and its multinational corporate partners under took the implementation of NAIS, they ignored virtually all of the value information might have to the food supply chain. They focused on only one objective — to track and, if needed, control the movement of every animal in the U. S. They claimed that in the event a disease was discovered in the U. S. every exposed animal could be identified, located, and quarantined or destroyed. This ability would benefit only one segment of the food supply chain, the large meat packers. By controlling the movement of animals, the slaughter facilities could continued to operate with as little disruption as possible . Theoretically, saving the packers as much downtime would justify the cost of the system.

Despite a ubiquitous desire for food that is consistent with social and cultural values, USDA and the multinationals designed NAIS so that any information about the animal was lost at the slaughter facility . Information about the source of the animal would never be available to a consumer . Information about the customer’s satisfaction could not be available to the farmer.

It is apparent that USDA and the multinationals failed to consider that information would be valuable to the producer or the consumer. This failure is inexcusable. The values of food and farming are thoroughly addressed in books like Fast Food Nation and Omnivore’s Dilemma and films like Food, Inc. and Fresh. It is undeniable that there is a widespread concern, and in some cases outrage, that industrialized agriculture is responsible for the decline of rural economies and communities, economic oppression of farmers, environmental degradation and mistreatment of animals. Yet USDA and the multinationals act as if information about where, by whom and how food is raised is irrelevant to the food supply chain and the value of food.

USDA and the multinationals failure to recognize the value of information about food is really a failure to recognize the value of food. USDA and the multinationals failed, I submit, because they do not know why food is valuable. Food is not valuable because of its nutritional content. Food is valuable because it comes from one of many economically viable farmers who live nearby and can produce a supply of food that is safe and secure for the long term. It is valuable because it is provided through supply chain that functions freely and is not subject to foreign, corporate or governmental control. Food is valuable because it comes from animals and crops that are genetically diverse so that they are not all susceptible to the same disease. Food is valuable because it is produced with farming methods that preserve the productivity of the land and produces offspring and seeds for the following year. Food is valuable because it is consistent with moral, social and economic values that sustain communities indefinitely. The amazing failure of NAIS indicates that the USDA and the multinationals do not understand or do not share these values.

Due to USDA’s power and the multinationals to influence the nation’s and world’s food supply, this lack of understanding of the value of food is a huge obstacle. Nonetheless, the challenge and opportunity in agriculture and food markets is to provide this value despite USDA’s policies and the market power of multinationals. Each food recall, each disease outbreak, each bankrupt farmer, and each contaminated water body is a new and better opportunity and a greater challenge to provide food of greater value.

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Organic farmers plead for help from USDA Secretary Vilsap

Written by: Bill Suydam, Editor, Health Spectator

This posting from the Cornucopia Institute is a video that portrays an emergency meeting of organic dairy farmers in Wisconsin pleading with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to level the playing field against factory farms so that small farmers can survive.

One of the ironies of this piece occurs at the beginning, when an emcee approaches the refreshment stand at the fair and notes that bottled water is selling for $2.00—and milk for $0.50.

“Can farmers really be expected to sell milk for one quarter the price of water?” he asks the camera.

The farmers are protesting the fact that many large “organic” dairy farms flaunt the regulations, while “conventional” dairy farms—ironically the current term used for farms that inject their dairy cows with hormones to force them to produce twice as much milk as normal—may milk as many as 7200 cows a day.

Meanwhile, small farmers are finding it tough to survive, and more go out of business every day. This is not what we want to see if we are going to keep ourselves and our children healthy with wholesome products from small, local organic farms.

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