Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 40 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News    H3'ed 1/28/09

A farmer and NAIS

By Paul-Martin Griepentrog  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   3 comments
Message Linn Cohen-Cole

Your Northwoods News Alternative
Paul-Martin Griepentrog's 150-acre family farm includes 60 Ile de France ewes, 40 Limousin cattle and free ranging yard chickens, peacocks and goats. He cultivates about two acres of vegetables grown naturally, the old-fashioned way. He has sold his produce at markets across the state.

Well, it's Monday night and I've had another long day on the farm. Seems the weather forecaster got things wrong again, with predictions of light scattered frost that turned into a hard freeze.  That's farming for you.

You see, I'm the invisible spirit behind the Shady Knoll Farm's stand at the Hodag Farmers Market.  If I'm not farming, I spend my time advocating for the interests of small farmers.

There is a world of difference between the concerns of small, family farms like mine and large corporate operations, and yet the public and the government often lump us together or even worse: place additional restrictions, making my personal, hands-on business very difficult.

You may have heard about "traceability" lately in the news and how this will help with everything from disease control, to salmonella in tomatoes (or was it peppers, or was it cilantro)?

The real problem for me is that my farm's focus is in producing food locally, but the laws are designed for giant, impersonal businesses that deliver food across the globe.

To compound the problem, the USDA and FDA have cut their inspectors to 10 percent of what they were over the last 10 years. Less than one per cent of all imported food gets inspected, as a result.

The laws currently being discussed to provide "traceability" in produce would require me to record every harvest of every fruit or vegetable, every time, and keep the records for at least two years. The time wasted would be crippling. 

Even worse is the proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS). For example, if any of my free-running hens were to hatch out a brood of chicks, I would have to implant microchips, record the birth and chip numbers all within 48 hours or be subjected to penalties starting at $5,000. The big corporate outfits, however, would only need one number for an entire lot of animals.

Fortunately, it hasn't been put into effect yet but the cooperative agreement (between the state and the federal government and signed by the Wisconsin State Veterinarian), would, in the execution of the contract, implement the USDA's business plan. The USDA pays states based on the percentage of premises registered, and yet, full implementation would find me out of business.

In other words folks, what Edgar Salsbury, a former state food inspector, said rings more true today than ever before. At our first meeting I asked him, "Which part of the law applied to food processing?"  He replied, "The part that screws the little guy and lets the big guys get away with murder." 

What's to be done? First call your state legislators and go on record as opposing the current D.A.T.C.P. (Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection) proposals. Insist that Mandatory Premise Registration be revoked and in its place a voluntary registration with a workable opt-out clause. Wisconsin is one of three states with mandatory premise registration.

For more information on the subject go to:
These will get you started. Yes, I do this farming thing for a living, but, the bottom line is that it is your food security that is at stake. You have the right to know that what you are putting in your body, and, that what you're serving to your family is safe and healthful and that's what small farmers like me are trying to produce. 

Well, supper's ready and I gotta go.

Must Read 2   Well Said 1   News 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Linn Cohen-Cole Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Monsanto's dream bill, HR 875

Goodbye farmers markets, CSAs, and roadside stands

Monsanto Investigator in Illinois Laughs They Are Doing 'Rural Cleansing'

Monsanto bills being rushed through Congress, set to destroy organic farming.

A solemn walk through HR 875

Monsanto and Hillary Clinton's redemptive first act as Secretary of State

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend