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Why We Should Worry About Farm Control Bills

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I wrote this originally as a letter to friends and family, who'd received a blind cc of my letter to one of the Senators working on the bills for USDA/FDA centralized control over agriculture.  It occurred to me they hadn’t been following Monsanto’s actions to suppress organic or sustainable farming, and therefore could not understand why I was so upset.

I also sent out a link a few months ago on a bill in Iraq to prohibit that country’s farmers from storing and using their own seed.  I don’t recall the exact details, but I hear that bill passed, and now the Iraqi people have to deal with a new kind of oppression and potential genocide: dependency on the whims of large corporations, especially Monsanto, for their food.  India has no similar law, but many of its cotton farmers have been driven to suicide as the result of Monsanto’s questionable business practices (see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av6dx9yNiCA )

I predicted that if they could achieve that kind of control over agriculture
in Iraq, they would then attempt to achieve it elsewhere.  Well, here they
are now, in America.  At last count, they have four bills before the Senate
and Congress being rushed through closed-door sessions, all ostensibly to
protect food safety, but in fact, designed to curtail agricultural freedom
in one way or another for the benefit of large corporations and trade
associations.  The implications are Stalinesque.

I have little specific information about these bills, but I hear that they
include legislation dictating what and how much pesticides, antibiotics,
etc., can be used (thus taking control from the farmers and altering
“organic” in favor of a corporation-friendly definition).  The NAIS tracking system would also become compulsory (see
http://sovereignty.net/library/nais-no/player.html which is a video running
about 30 min. explaining who supports and benefits by NAIS and who pays for it.  It benefits neither consumers nor producers and creates a huge
bureaucracy.)  The worst thing I can say about the bills right now is that
they are being rushed through closed-door sessions by people with a record of support for big agri-business.  The new Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is notably pro-Monsanto.

The United States does not even need to ask its police or USDA to enforce
the new regulations, should they pass.  Monsanto has already demonstrated its ability and eagerness to do the job itself.

Over the past ten years, Monsanto has been involved in efforts to force its
system of agriculture on farmers the world over.  If you are unaware of
Percy Schmeiser’s case in Canada, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Schmeiser .  In essence, when genetically modified seeds from a neighboring field blew onto his land and contaminated his crops, Monsanto successfully sued Mr. Schmeiser for patent infringement.

Since then, Monsanto has been sending its agents around the US Midwest,
threatening farmers with lawsuits if they don’t pay up for imaginary
infringements.  See this link:

Linn Cohen-Cole has been writing about these bills at Op-Ed News, and her
most recent article, with further background information is at

I am including a link below to a warning about our dependency on
petrochemicals in agriculture, because many people note that we face
serious food shortages the world over; therefore, aside from the health
considerations of relying on large corporations to provide our food (that’s
another topic entirely), we must consider learning how to grow our own
organic gardens and how to keep chickens and so on, because it might very
well mean the difference between starvation and survival.

Eating Fossil Fuels

by Dale Allen Pfeiffer

[ Note: The most frightening article FTW has ever published is now a free
story for all to read. Our paid subscribers read it last October. As Peak
Oil and its effects become a raging national controversy it's time everyone
reads the story that puts the most serious implications of Peak Oil and Gas
into perspective. Your biggest problem is not that your SUV might go hungry, it's that you and your children might go hungry. What has been documented here is no secret to US and foreign policy makers as China experiences grain shortages this year and, as CNN's Lou Dobbs recently reported, the US and Canada will soon no longer be the world's breadbasket. - MCR ]


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The author has lived 38 years in Japan. She has also spent time in Siberia, where she led ecotours for Friends of the Earth Japan. She is fluent in Japanese and Russian, and also speaks Indonesian, Thai and Spanish. She loves nature and is an (more...)

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