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January 19, 2009
By Linn Cohen-Cole
What follows is a living nightmare of one farmer in Wisconsin, a leader in trying to stop NAIS, a founder of the Seed Savers Exchange ...
What follows is a living nightmare of one farmer in Wisconsin, a founder of the Seed Savers Exchange, a leader in trying to stop NAIS, a man trying to protect Amish by going pro se in court for them, a man who goes out to his barn in sub-zero temperatures at night for weeks, helping to deliver lambs. He is a farmer who has raised flax for years and now, suddenly, this year, because of Monsanto helping the FDA to write seed regulations, his seed cleaning equipment is defined as a source of "seed contamination" and he can't sell flax seeds.
Included under that regulation are all seed used as food, so raw seed - flax, poppy, sesame; all sprouting seeds - wheat, alfalfa, beans, greens, etc.; all seed pressed into oil - corn, soy, canola, sunflower, etc.; all seed used for animal feed. And now you have only a glimpse at how Monsanto's infiltration of our government affects control of seeds and criminalizes quite normal and clean small farming. This is only on the crop side. NAIS is more monstrous by far on the animal side. And SWAT team attacks are happening on the dairy side.
Obama picked Vilsack. Vilsack is Monsanto. Monsanto helped design NAIS which can provide it a means of wiping out animals stocks and substituting GMO animals - which it will own with patents. Monsanto is attacking hundreds of farmers in Illinois right now, Obama's state, right now. Our food supply itself is under threat and Obama has opened the door. He didn't "listen" to the grassroots but tramped on them in support of the most evil corporation on earth - the one responsible for altering nature itself, corrupting government to set that loose, and dumping pesticides throughout the earth. Obama's inauguration is no day for celebration by farmers or by anyone who eats or wishes for a real democracy or cares about a healthier world or saving forests or wants to stop global warming - because they are all immensely threatened by Monsanto.
Now, one farmer's reaction to being caught in this. (And Charles Walters, mentioned below, just passed away two days ago, a giant in terms of his contribution to sustainable agriculture.)
"The facts cited in the following futureistic vision are based on Federal Archives, existing or proposed legislation. Annotations available upon request."
"He closed the latch on the barn door for the last time. The structure built in the 70's had housed livestock since then, but now stood empty, soulless without animals. He had agonized over making a final tour before leaving the property for the last time. Not even a barn swallow remained; the fields had been sprayed the year before when the Department of Natural Resources had moved earthworms onto the invasive species list. Forced to pay for the eradication had broken him financially and destroyed the fundamental building blocks of the land itself. The animals had gone a few years before with the implementation of the National Animal Identification System. Refusing to register his premises and allocute his allodial title to the property that he owned, free of mortgage, he had sold the livestock to slaughter. His family had labored for years to own the land and had done so without any government payments.
"Turning the corner by the farm shop he viewed the gardens and high tunnel greenhouses that now were in tatters and full of weeds. He reminisced of how he and his wife dreamed 35 years before of owning and operating a farm in harmony with the land and its true community. He remembered meeting Robert Rodale at a book signing in Pennsylvania, just prior to his oldest daughter being born, and asking him what was the best way to build organic matter into the soil. "Sheet composting" Robert replied "it will enhance the soil and increase the earthworm population." He considered the profiteering of carbon sequestering by heartless corporations that had been all the rage a few years before. Rodale understood the carbon relationship long before, combined with lime, it afforded the soil a buffer to the rain and airborne toxins. The now illegal practice of allowing the synergistic effect of the applied composted animal manure (carbon) to heal the soil and subsequently the creatures that drew life from it. He recalled having challenged Gene Logsdon's opening statement "You can't make a living organic farming" rising up from his seat stating "My organic farm paid my way here, and will pay my way home".
"Gene had smiled, as if he had been waiting to hear those very words.
"He came up the lane by the big greenhouse and wondered how it had come to this. He knew the answer; Charles Walter's novel "A Beast of Muddy Brain" outlined the history of the demise of farming at the hands of government and the big corporations. It spoke of how Farm Bureau had been created by the USDA's public relations division to prevent farmers from organizing during the depression. Along with the National Farmer's Union they had forwarded one government program after another, refusing to recognize the reality of NAIS and other programs and their negative impacts on small producers while centralizing food production. Like the two party political system they were only another example of the Hegelian Dialectic, creating controversy while the real players behind the scenes consolidated power.
"These government programs came with strings attached, contractual servitude, many became slaves on farms and ranches owned by their families for generations. Even those who had avoided these entangling alliances had been sucked in. He recalled having filed legal motions in defence of Emmanuel J. Miller Jr., an Amish man he had never met, having been burdened with proving innocence against the state of Wisconsin's charge of failure to register a premises. With the implementation of federally mandated NAIS prior to the new administration coming into office, he and others like him would not defy their religious convictions and had sold out their livestock. Within a year, fresh market produce fell under the same restrictions via the revival of the Fresh Produce Safety Act, where the USDA had granted regulatory power to Disney, McDonalds, and Walmart. The new administration had brought change all right, all the wrong kind, as it found the farmers markets void of vendors unable to comply with the new regulations.
"He reached the car where his wife was waiting, "I love you, you know"she said, he did his best to smile, but it wasn't easy. As they turned on the gravel road toward the covered bridge he pondered what other's thought of him now, he had rallied people who were depressed along the way, folks he had come to know in this battle against big ag and all its many appendages, would they think him a fool? The dust rolled up behind the car….
""Paul wake up, blue number two is having problems lambing". It wasn't the first time Carol had awakened me from an hours sleep to help a ewe. "I've been having another dream, they put us out of business and we had to leave. To hell with them, here we will make our final stand." "
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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 taught to assume but great people with immense decency.