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A solemn walk through HR 875

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 3/14/09

The "sources of seed contamination" include five little items:

agricultural water
manure (but NOT chemical pesticides or fertilizers)
harvesting, transporting and seed cleaning equipment 
seed storage facilities

What you must realize is that seed cleaning equipment is THE single most critical piece of equipment for sustainable agriculture.  It is how we save organic seed.  It is the machinery used after plants "go to seed" to separate out (sort) the seeds from the plant material so the farmer can collect (harvest) and then save (put in storage) seed for the next year at little cost.  With his own seed, the farmer stays free of patented, genetically engineered, corporately privatized seeds.

They never mention seeds but this is precisely how they will criminalize seed banking and all holding of seeds.  

You must also understand that Monsanto is getting rid of the people who do the seed cleaning and many other means of our having access to seed. This year, 2009, seed cleaning equipment is now illegal in some parts of the country which tips us off to both the intent to control seeds in this way and to how they could do things under this bill.

How can they make such vital equipment illegal?  Quietly, and by saying it contaminates food.  "Contaminate" is their favorite word since the public fears the deadly contamination that industry itself - not farmers - has caused.  Scare the public and thus push for "food safety standards" to be set.  

And to eliminate seed cleaning equipment, they have now set the standards so seed cleaning (the simple separation of seed from plant) will now require a million to a million and a half dollar building and/or equipment ... per line of seed.  

So, a farmer who has been seed cleaning flax for 40 years with a hand made seed cleaner can't sell flax on the market anymore, though there are NO instances of anyone ever having gotten sick from seed cleaning equipment.  A farmer who has been cleaning wheat, corn and soy each year with the same perfectly fine equipment would now need three to four and half million dollars for three pieces of equipment to continue.

(The FDA isn't so bar-setting when it comes to other things like melamine in baby formula, though it is proven to sicken and kill infants, initially denying the melamine was in our baby formula and then quickly inventing a "foods safety" standard to okay it.) 

Organic farmers are not aware of this happening, perhaps because the left is being treated with kid gloves until HR 875 and related bills are/were passed.  Meanwhile, the FDA and USDA have been tromping on traditional (many of them farming organically, by the way) farmers for years.  The organic community is disconnected from them so hasn't been aware of what is happening to them. Indie farmers have a history of no one listening to them, which is too bad because it is they who are the ones bringing the warning that these bills are deadly.  The organic community, measuring against its own seeming safety, hasn't heard or understood.

Notice, though, that because a single "foods safety" bar has been raised, in time no one will be able to get organic seeds in any number because it will be illegal for all farmers to sell them to anyone.

Now, look at the last item on the list: seed storage facilities.

They would be careful not to ban them all outright given the extreme reaction they would get.  But now the method is more clear.  "Food safety" is the weapon and public fear is the driver and they only need to set the bar at the level that is impossible to meet.  

Farmers, gardeners, seed saving exchanges, seed companies, scientific seed projects, and seed banks, all require "seed storage facilities."  All are working overtime to protect biodiversity that is rapidly disappearing because of ... genetic engineering.  

Set the standard for "food safety" and certification high enough that no one can afford it and punish anyone who tries to save seed in a multitude of ways that have worked fine for thousands of years, and presto, you have just criminalized seed banking.  

The penalties, I will assume, will be tremendous, the better to protect us from nothing dangerous whatever, but to make monopoly over seed more absolute.  One is left with control over farmers, and end to seed exchanges, to organic seed companies, to university programs developing nice normal hybrids.

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Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Withdraw HR 875 immediately as well as SR425, HR 814, and related bills

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
 

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Linn&Sue, Well done! I have read all 117 pages... by Lee Cornell on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 8:36:38 PM
Sue and Linn's analysis does show that the pro... by Jim Eldon on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 9:18:31 PM
Big Business is the problem with the oceans having... by Mel Smith on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 11:49:55 PM
I'm sorry I neglected to thank you for all the... by Mel Smith on Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 12:13:12 AM
I'll pass this on to all my contacts. You have be... by Oh on Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 7:07:09 AM
This type of legislation is known as raising barri... by Arktig Silver on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 5:04:25 PM
Please publish below the list of sponsors and cosp... by Mad Jayhawk on Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 3:24:37 AM