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House Committee on Agriculture~~Public Hearing…..minus the public of course!

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 House Committee on Agriculture~~Public Hearing. 

Darol Dickinson~~reporting
 
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, Longworth House Office Bldg.
Re: To review animal identification systems

Washington DC—at 10:00 AM the first public hearing was held on USDA’s proposed NAIS animal numbering and enforcement plan. Numerous organizations were frustrated that no public forum was provided in the last six years to approach elected officials concerning this polarizing strategy. Livestock producers all over the US were excited about this opportunity to present opposition to NAIS.  Recent polls have revealed that over 90% of livestock owners, if given a choice, would not enroll property in NAIS. 
For starters, USDA organized the format with eight approved speakers who were required to submit a written text prior to their presentation. 

 

Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator, APHIS was given the floor with unlimited dialog time to explain the imperative nature of NAIS.  Committee members not familiar with livestock were provided written questions to ask Clifford. He is an employee of USDA and his job approval has to do with selling NAIS. He alleged the cost of NAIS would be as little as a half cent per cow.  He also alleged volunteer NAIS property enrollment was 35% of the US livestock producers and later a different sworn testimony stated sign up was as small at 9% in some states. (Nationally NAIS enrollment is under 10% when accurate numbers are calculated.)

 

Bill Nutt, of Georgia Cattleman’s Assn testified that the current numbering systems used by livestock owners were totally adaquate for all animal ID.  NAIS enforements were not necessary. (5 minutes allowed)

 

Dr. R.M. (Max) Thornsberry DVM, President of R-Calf, written testamony attached. He stated NAIS was not necessary, not wanted by the majority of livestock producers and the proposed plan would not make meat food safer. (allowed 5 minutes)

 

Three other individuals testified for NAIS who were licensed by USDA, under the authority or had been given grant money by USDA.

 

Dr. Rob Williams of Australia testified how the Australian animal ID system worked well.  He did not state that in Australia livestock breeders dislike the cost of their NLIS system because they can not compete in the world market with countries who don’t force a numbering compliance.  NLIS is considered by producers in Australia to be detrimental to world competitive trade for Australia. Australia has a 100% numbering scheme and their beef is the second lowest priced on the world market.

 

Kerry St. Cyr of Canada Cattle Identification Agency is employed by the Canadian numbering scheme and his salary depends on it’s continuation.  Canada also can compete against US meat products better if US has the cost burden of NAIS.

 

Monsanto Whistleblower Says Genetically Engineered Crops May Cause Disease

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http://farmwars.info/?p=159

Global Research, November 19, 2006
The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) – 2006-08-10

Monsanto was quite happy to recruit young Kirk Azevedo to sell their geneticallywhistleblower engineered cotton. Kirk had grown up on a California farm and had worked in several jobs monitoring and testing pesticides and herbicides. Kirk was bright, ambitious, handsome and idealistic—the perfect candidate to project the company’s “Save the world through genetic engineering” image.

It was that image, in fact, that convinced Kirk to take the job in 1996. “When I was contacted by the headhunter from Monsanto, I began to study the company, namely the work of their CEO, Robert Shapiro.” Kirk was thoroughly impressed with Shapiro’s promise of a golden future through genetically modified (GM) crops. “He described how we would reduce the in-process waste from manufacturing, turn our fields into factories and produce anything from lifesaving drugs to insect-resistant plants. It was fascinating to me.” Kirk thought, “Here we go. I can do something to help the world and make it a better place.”

He left his job and accepted a position at Monsanto, rising quickly to become the facilitator for GM cotton sales in California and Arizona. He would often repeat Shapiro’s vision to customers, researchers, even fellow employees. After about three months, he visited Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters for the first time for new employee training. There too, he took the opportunity to let his colleagues know how enthusiastic he was about Monsanto’s technology that was going to reduce waste, decrease poverty and help the world. Soon after the meeting, however, his world was shaken.

“A vice president pulled me aside,” recalled Kirk. “He told me something like, ‘Wait a second. What Robert Shapiro says is one thing. But what we do is something else. We are here to make money. He is the front man who tells a story. We don’t even understand what he is saying.’”

Kirk felt let down. “I went in there with the idea of helping and healing and came out with ‘Oh, I guess it is just another profit-oriented company.’” He returned to California, still holding out hopes that the new technology could make a difference.

Possible Toxins in GM Plants       READ MORE

Downsizer Dispatch: anti-NAIS campaign

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Quote of the Day: “Everything not specifically prohibited is mandatory.” — the fundamental principle of government

Subject: Our prediction comes true

The Congressional war against small business continues. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875) will create a new food safety bureaucracy, and require a “traceability” program for “food production facilities and food establishments.”

These new regulations will drive many small farms and restaurants out of business. Big Business can afford the compliance costs and will benefit from the reduced competition as smaller firms go bankrupt. Consumers will face fewer choices and higher prices, but will we really get safer food in return, and will it really be worth the cost?

Congress would have to know a lot of things that probably can’t be known in order to evaluate this question, but they’re charging ahead anyway, re-engineering society on the backs of small business owners.

Part of the bill’s intent is to absorb already-existing food-tracking programs. Section 210 (d)(4) says the new food-tracking system must be “consistent with existing statutes and regulations that require record-keeping or labeling for identifying the origin or history of food or food animals,” including “the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 (AHPA).”

The contention that NAIS was authorized by the AHPA is wrong. NAIS implementation has never been authorized by any Congressional legislation. It’s a bureaucratic initiative.

This false assumption gives NAIS the aura of Congressional approval. Instead . . .

This is another step on the road to converting NAIS from a “voluntary” program to a mandatory one. This is exactly what we predicted three years ago when we launched our anti-NAIS campaign.

H.R. 875 is a de facto “authorization” of NAIS. It makes the penalties laid out in the AHPA applicable to participants of NAIS. It also presumes that NAIS can be “required,” or made mandatory for all owners of livestock and poultry — even exotic pets.

Up until now Congress has largely ignored NAIS, but Rep. David Obey, who introduced the Omnibus Appropriations Act, included $14.5 million for additional NAIS funding and has specifically expressed his intent that the money will be used to implement NAIS aggressively according to the USDA’s September 2008 Business Plan (written by bureaucrats as well).

This plan includes:

  • Forcing cattle owners to use NAIS “840” RFID (radio frequency identification) tags when they participate in vaccination programs
  • Increasing compliance in the sheep and goat industries through new regulations and “increased emphasis on enforcement.”
  • Requiring premise registration for horse owners who must submit their horses for EIA testing
  • 98% compliance by July 2009 for poultry and swine
  • 90% compliance by July 2009 for horses, sheep, and goats
  • 60% compliance by Oct 2010 for cattle

These figures reflect the USDA’s goal of near-total control of every aspect of the livestock industry.

Such control isn’t possible without aggressive, heavy-handed means. There’s already enough opposition to NAIS to make those targets impossible. That means farmers that don’t comply will be run out of business.

Many who do comply will lose their businesses because of the compliance cost. 

This issue is important right now because a hearing is scheduled on H.R. 875 on Wednesday, March 11. Please check the list in the P.S. to see if your Represenative serves on the committee, and if they do, please call them.

For the rest of you, we need to prepare the Congress to vote against H.R. 875 should it get out of committee. Use our simple Educate the Powerful System to . . .

  • Tell your Representative and Senators to strip NAIS from any pending legislation
  • Tell them to introduce legislation to abolish the program entirely

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. The subcommittee members are . . .

Joe Baca (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6161
Leonard Boswell (D-IA), (p): 202-225-3806
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6131
K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), (p): 202-225-3605
Jim Costa (D-CA), (p): 202-225-3341
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), (p): 202-225-5431
Tim Holden (D-PA), (p): 202-225-5546
Steve Kagen (D-WI), (p): 202-225-5665
Steve King (R-IA), (p): 202-225-4426
Frank Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD), (p): 202-225-5311
Betsy Markey (D-CO), (p): 202-225-4676
Walt Minnick (D-ID), (p): 202-225-6611
Randy Neugebauer (Ranking Minority Member), (R-TX), (p): 202-225-4005
Mike Rogers (R-AL), (p):  202-225-3261
David P. Roe (R-TN), (p): 202-225-6356
David Scott (Subcommittee Chair), (D-GA), (p): 202-225-2939
Adrian Smith (R-NE), (p): 202-225-6435

Fight The Monsanto Monstrosity with Hydroponics

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While it is essential to our future food supply – and thus, our survival – to defeat the Monsanto juggernaut in our midst, I’d like to introduce a ray of hope that may contain at least a partial solution to safeguarding our food supply from unwanted infiltration by Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” GMO seeds.

That solution comes in the form of an ancient farming technique known as hydroponics. While Nebuchadnezzar II built the hanging gardens of Babylon as early as 600 B.C., the science of hydroponic farming and gardening has, since the 1970s, become increasingly sophisticated and today, most of the world’s fruits and vegetables are grown in highly controlled hydroponic greenhouses.

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil by supplying them with all the necessary nutrients they require, directly at the root system, which is suspended in tanks of temperature-controlled water. This method of growing produce is actually superior in many ways to traditional soil-based farming, in that, it removes the possibility of soil-borne pests and diseases that can damage crops, it allows far greater yields because more can be grown in a smaller space than can be in a field, it is perfectly suited to organic gardening, it is better for food safety, and the resulting produce usually tastes better and is superior in nutritional value to its field-grown counterpart.

But, the main thing about hydroponic farming and gardening is that it can not only be carried out almost anywhere (including apartments, where small gardens can be grown indoors in very little floor space, supplementing one’s grocery shopping), but, since it is usually done in climate-controlled greenhouses, commercially, it avoids the possibility of contamination by wind-blown GMO seeds.

The big question, though, is will hydroponic gardens be outlawed? At present, there is a move on to do just that to regular soil-based home gardens, both here in America and in Europe, as well. Police helicopters equipped with thermal imaging equipment are increasingly being used to locate private homes and apartments in which people are using grow lights to nourish their hydroponic produce. Unfortunately, these grow lights are also used by marijuana growers, so the police are attempting to shut down hydroponic gardens by raiding and arresting hydroponic gardeners under the pretense of fighting the “drug war.” There are some tricks for avoiding this scenario, though. One of these is the use of LED grow lights, which have a lower temperature than conventional Metal Halide or halogen lights, as well as a longer life span (up to 18 hours a day for 7 ½ years) and lower operating costs.

Neverthless, hydroponics presents a way for many people to ensure their survival in the event of famine, whatever may cause it.

Some Hydroponics resources:

LED Grow Lights

How-to Info

Do-It-Yourself Info

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