Monday, March 23, 2009

Opposition to NAIS grows

NAIS has been treated by most reporters and news organizations as a niche issue, not of interest to its general audience. It's as if because this affects farmers, the consumers who eat what farmers grow don't have to be concerned. That's changing.

The New York Times published an OpEd opposing NAIS March 10, Shannon Hayes, the author of “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook” and the forthcoming “Radical Homemakers,” wrote it from the small farmer's perspective.

"The burden for a program that would safeguard agribusiness interests would be disproportionately shouldered by small farmers, rural families and consumers of locally produced food. Worse yet, that burden would force many rural Americans to lose our way of life," she concludes.

Huffington Post published its own piece last week on March 16, Written by Alison Rose Levy, the column attacks NAIS for its ineffectiveness in improving food safety. That's not the issue that USDA has proposed as justification for NAIS, but it has inevitably become confabulated with the issue of animal disease, the stated focus. She confuses the FDA with the USDA in the column, but that confusion reflects how the alphabet soup of federal agencies confuses us all. Her reasoning is correct and getting attention in the general media for NAIS is important.

A related issue is Collin Peterson, D-Minn, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, The Sacramento Bee says he must go, after having damaged a valuable public lands bill by adding an unrelated amendment to allow concealed loaded weapons in national parks to accommodate the National Rifle Association,

The NRA isn't the only organization pulling Peterson's strings. He's been a mouthpiece for industrial agriculture throughout his tenure chairing the ag committee. It's time for him to go.

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