Brion: So, how much of this proposed legislation could impact your farm if it is put into law?
Farmer Ian: Pretty much every page of it. It’s going to disrupt the way small scale farming has been done for thousands of years. They’re trying to rewrite the way farming is done on a small scale in this country. And, the real issue is the big farms, the massive 20,000 acre, 10,000 acre, 5,000 acre farms–that’s where you really can’t stay on top of things. When you’re small, you can stay focused on all the little things that ensure that people are getting safe and healthy produce.
Brion: Now, this is on the heels of–well, the government, from all the small farmers I’ve talked to, does absolutely nothing to help them.
Farmer Ian: Uh…yep. All of The Farm Bill, all the government subsidies, none of that ever touches small farms. I’ve never received help from the government. My father never received help from the government. Nor did my grandfather [a chicken farmer]. Not only do we not get help from the government, but they’re also going to make it harder for us now.
Brion: And, in regard to contamination, there are literally shit lakes on massive factory farms.
Farmer Ian: Oh, yea. And when it rains, it leaks out of these lagoons and gets into the local water supply or the overflow washes directly into neighboring fields. It’s really disheartening to see such a proposal when giant farms are obviously the ones responsible for contaminating the food supply. You know, here I thought our government understood that people were backing the small farmer, that people wanted to support the small farmer, and then they come out with this. That says, that obviously, they don’t care. A lot of it is, it sounds like a big conspiracy, but in actuality…it really is a conspiracy. There’s the whole thing with Big Ag’s lobbyists going to the government and getting the ball rolling on this.
Brion: You’re talking about people who work with companies like Monsanto and other Big Ag corporations before going to work with The FDA , The USDA, The EPA.
Farmer Ian: They’re scared shitless right now. And they’re scared shitless because, if you look at the last 15-20 years and look at the amount of food that is being purchased from small family farms as opposed to grocery stores that draw from mass produce farms, it has increased exponentially. And I think they’ve been paying attention and they’ve finally found a way to affect the small family farm.