‘Farmageddon’ Documents Threats to Freedoms

Loyal readers of this blog know how much I respect individuals like Janet Allquist and Jayna Davis who take hardline stands for freedom, justice and the American way. After reading a Health Freedoms report, I think I can add Kathy Canty to the list for her work on the documentary, “Farmageddon,” for which a four-minute trailer appears below:

Canty is described in the above-referenced report as an ordinary mom who became an extraordinary filmmaker.  Based solely on the film’s title, I was inclined to want to want to watch the full-length version of the film, an overview of which appears below:

Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.

The subject matter of this film was definitely on my editorial radar.  After all, I came across news of the film six months after my report about the USDA assault on the Morningland Dairy in Howell County, Mo., and only four weeks after my first report about the USDA fining a Nixa, Mo., couple $90,643 in for selling more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year,

If you run across any similar examples of heavy-handed USDA bureaucrats on the “warpath,” please drop me a note.

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‘Nanny State’ Agents Out to Kill Raw Food Industry (Update)

I’m not a health food nut, a vegan, a vegetarian or anything unusual, but I am an advocate of free enterprise.  From Howell County, Mo., to Ventura County, Calif., free enterprise is being threatened by agents of the “Nanny State” who seem to be on the war path, zealously striving to shut down elements of the nation’s raw food industry.

In the first video (below), you can see how government agencies have suspended operations in rural Mountain View, Mo., where raw food products have been made and shipped from Morningland Dairy for more than 30 years.

In the next video (below), you can see how ridiculously “over the top” an Oct. 30 raid on Rawesome Foods, a private members-only food cooperative in Venice, Calif., truly was.

If you think events like those highlighted above are rare and unusual, you might be right.  At the same time, however, you should be aware that a bill in the U.S. Senate, S. 510, contains 225 pages of new regulations, many of which are problematic, according to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).  While some regulations are potentially onerous, but perhaps reasonable – such as requiring every facility to have a scientifically-based, but very flexible, food safety plan—others give FDA sweeping authority with potentially significant consequences.

Read more of Senator Coburn’s concerns regarding food legislation here.

To help save the Morningland Dairy, visit the UNCHEESE PARTY web site.

UPDATE 1/12/11 at 8:10 a.m. Central: The Morningland Dairy case went to court yesterday in West Plains, Mo.  According to this post on the company’s blog, one judge for the case bowed out Friday afternoon and another judge was appointed.  In addition, the company was “denied trial by jury, and only part of the case is to be heard, which is the Missouri Milk Board’s claims and our first and second counterclaims.”  More updates to follow.

UPDATE 1/12/11 at 8:23 a.m. Central: Here’s another update about court proceedings yesterday inside the Howell County (Mo.) Courthouse.

UPDATE 1/16/11 at 1:35 p.m. Central: Bob Parker of Raymondville, Mo., reports, “I was locked out of the Morningland Dairy trial last week. They closed the door for the last two hours of the trial.”

UPDATE 1/26/2013 at 11:20 a.m. Central:  Today marks an important milestone in this case as the state shut down the Morningland Dairy after more than two years of a legal battle.  See video below:

As Food Costs Skyrocket, USDA Raises Milk Prices

As food and fuel prices continue to rise faster than they have in decades, the USDA decided now was a good time to raise milk prices. In response, the International Dairy Foods Association issued the statement below which, in my opinion, most Americans could have been summed up in far fewer words (i.e., “What in the world were they thinking?” or “They’ve got to be nuts!”), but I digress:

“Effective today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has increased farm milk prices throughout every county in 14 Southeastern and Appalachian states with the implementation of a controversial Federal Milk Marketing Order change that was announced last month. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) opposes this decision, because the condition that normally would trigger an increase — a documented shortage of milk in the region –clearly does not exist. In fact, USDA reports that milk producers are expanding herds in response to favorable returns during 2007, and cow numbers are expected to increase further in 2008.

“We believe this milk price increase is unwarranted and will ultimately be harmful to consumers who are struggling today to afford every-day necessities. With the cost of food already at an all-time high, we should be doing everything we can to keep milk available and affordable, not unnecessarily raising costs.

“USDA’s decision that goes into effect today is a not only a bad deal for the South but also for other parts of the country. The department already sets the cost of farm milk in Florida and other states in the Southeast at a much higher level than the upper Midwest and other parts of the country. This decision will create dramatic disparities among the processing facilities in these Southeastern areas.

“Most consumers do not know that USDA continues to set minimum prices for the majority of milk that is bottled through the authority it was granted in the 1930s, when the United States was suffering through the Depression and local milk supplies were uncertain. Today, with a vast highway system and refrigerated trucks, milk and other dairy products can and do move easily across state borders.

“The outmoded and archaic system must be reformed to better meet the needs of a 21st-century economy. It is astonishing that, while Congress is holding hearings on the high cost of food, USDA has implemented a decision that will raise the cost of milk in the Southeast. Even more unbelievable, USDA now is considering a similar decision that, by the department’s own estimates, would raise the cost of milk to consumers by an average of 5.5 cents per gallon and decrease consumption nationwide.”

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $100-billion a year industry.