Wisconsin Town to Appeal Decision Allowing a Factory Dairy Farm

Saratoga, WI is appealing a trial court decision that will allow the construction and operation of a 5,300 cow dairy farm.  Notice of appeal was filed Monday, June 15 in Wood County, Wisconsin.

The 7,000 acre farm is slated to offer many new jobs to Central Wisconsin. The Wysocki Family of Companies also promises to use the 7,000 acres to allow for grazing, as well as growth for potatoes and other vegetables.  Wysocki plans to use manure produced by the 5,300 cattle as nutrients for the potato and vegetable soil crop.

As with any large scale factory farm, the risk of run-off pollution is ever-present with large scale land application of manure. Soil density, precipitation, temperature, and amount of pollutants (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) require a delicate balance, and it is notoriously difficult to environmentally enforce or control such methods.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is still reviewing the environmental impact of the agricultural pollutant permit applications.

Oregon Senate Bill 207

In interesting remedy to the dichotomy created by the infamous US Supreme Court Monsanto decision [or as some characterize the predatory and evil practices of Monsanto], Oregon introduced a bill earlier this year that seeks to help the often targeted smaller farmers.

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Senate Bill 207 seeks to establish “control areas” between growers of genetically modified ((and thus patent-protected) plants and the growing of “other plants” in order to avoid conflicts between growers that naturally arise from cross-pollination (wherein plants accidentally incorporate legally protected biotech genes, potentially incurring large monetary liability on innocent farmers merely based on wind patterns and proximity.

Oregon’s legislative session ends July 30, 2015 and this bill is currently sitting in a committee, so if you are an Oregon resident, find your legislator and contribute to the discussion or stay informed!

California Passes Bill Strict on Fraud at Farmers’ Markets

California passed AB 1871, which does two major things, among other provisions.  First, it restricts and criminalizes fraud at farmers’ markets in the state.  Second, it increases the daily stall fee from $0.50 to $2.

The bill first criminalizes any statement (oral, printed, or otherwise) that is misleading regarding the products area of production, producer identity and method of production.  Violation of such law is a misdemeanor, meaning 6 months (maximum) or a fine of $500-$5,000.

The rise in vendor fee is expected to raise $1.4 million annually and will be deposited into the Department of Food and Agriculture Fund.  This fund will be used to promote transparency.  Vendor fees will be used to evaluate county enforcement procedures, conduct hearings for violating these laws, maintaining a list of farmers’ market locations, maintaining lists of certified producers, and maintaining lists of producers whose certification was revoked.

This law also regulates the use and meaning of the term “California-grown,” directs the administrative agency to pass rules that regulate and promote wholesomeness of agricultural products, and regulates what constitutes a “certified” farmers’ market.

For further information on what this bill means for California, see this article.

Legislation Roundup – Arizona

What sort of agricultural laws is your state considering to pass?  Legislation Roundup highlights the laws that each state’s legislative branch is considering in session.  Never forget the importance of public political participation.  If you live in any of these states and support or oppose any state legislation, never hesitate to contact your assembly(wo)man/representative/senator and voice your opinion!  We pay their salaries in taxes.

  • HB2222 – would create the Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council to implement programs to promote the health of Arizona’s cotton industry.  The council terminates on July 1, 2014.
  • SB1478 – creates the Watershed Improvement Program which provides funds for projects that reduce noxious brush and vegetation to allow for revegetation for the land.

USDA Announces $19 Million in Grants to New Farmers

USDA Announces $19 Million in Grants to New Farmers

Earlier this month, the USDA announced $19 million in grants for young farmers. The grants, managed by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture, are aimed at those trying to break into farming and those who have been at it for fewer than 10 years.

The grants will help train producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), the USDA said in a statement in mid-April. Those competitive grants help beginning ranchers, farmers and foresters through the extension of training and technical assistance.

Legislation Roundup – Alaska

What sort of agricultural laws is your state considering to pass?  Legislation Roundup highlights the laws that each state’s legislative branch is considering in session.  Never forget the importance of public political participation.  If you live in any of these states and support or oppose any state legislation, never hesitate to contact your assembly(wo)man/representative/senator and voice your opinion!  We pay their salaries in taxes.

  • HB215 – Would require all genetically engineered food products to have a label indicating it was “produced with genetic engineering” or “partially produced with genetic engineering.” Unpackaged food, such as produce, would have to have a label visible on the shelf or bin they are being sold in. This bill would bar any product from being labelled as “natural,” “naturally grown,” or “all natural” if it contains or was processed with genetically engineered food products.
  • HB224 – Prohibits the application of any neonicotinoid pesticide to any seed, foliage, or granular form to soil unless it is applied entirely within a greenhouse.
  • HB249 – Would prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds and plants for agricultural product production.
  • HB248 – Establishes May 15 as ‘Think Local Day’ to raise awareness of use of local businesses, food, and products.