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News for March 12, 2010

Appellate Division Supports State's Regulatory Jurisdiction Relating to the Sale of Raw Milk

ALBANY, NY (03/12/2010)(readMedia)-- New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today commended the decision of the Appellate Division Third Department of New York State Supreme Court dismissing Meadowsweet Dairy LLC's challenge to the Department's jurisdiction over and regulation of the farm's raw milk operation, upholding the November 2008 judgment of the Supreme Court Albany County.

"Raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization, and while New York allows the sale of raw milk on permitted farms, regulations are in place in order to help ensure the safety of what some consider a high-risk food," the Commissioner said. "I greatly appreciate this Court reaffirming what the others before it have found in that this farm is not exempt from our regulations that are in place to help protect public health."

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Stricter oversight of dietary supplements closer

Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements is moving closer thanks to an agreement among senators to include guidelines in a food safety bill.

Four key areas of "common ground" are outlined in a letter sent by Sens. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, to Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

McCain and Dorgan were co-sponsors of legislation introduced last month, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act, aimed at regulating the industry. This week's letter to Harkin -- also sent to the committee's top Republican, Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican -- talks about incorporating the "areas of agreement" into the FDA Food Safety Modernization Bill.

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Family-farm advocates call for U.S. to ‘bust up big ag’

ANKENY, Iowa — Whether they realized it or not, the roughly 250 family farmers, workers and consumers gathered Thursday night fired off their own point-by-point response to a letter from two Republican Senators that urged the U.S. departments of agriculture and justice to maintain the existing status quo in the agriculture industry.

The often rambunctious townhall event was organized by a coalition of groups concerned that everyday people do not have adequate opportunity to express their opinions on the agricultural industry at a joint U.S. Department of Justice and USDA antitrust workshop on Friday. And it had one overarching message: “Bust up big ag.”

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Going ‘Beyond Organic’ at the Va. Biological Farming Conference

DANVILLE, Va. —John Wilson of New Earth Farm began his talk at the 2010 Virginia Biological Farming Conference with a quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln in 1859:

“The most valuable of all arts, will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil. No community, whose every member possesses this art, can ever be the victim of oppression in any of its forms.”

“It’s one of my favorite quotes,” said Wilson who raises fruits, vegetables and pastured raised eggs using organic methods on his Virginia Beach, Virginia farm.

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Monsanto, Expected To Expand Revenue In 2012, Affecting Farms

On Friday in an unprecedented move with the USDA, the Department of Justice will launch an investigation into the farm business. The investigation begins a 7-state probe into how Monsanto treats its customers, our nation’s farmers.

I recently had the honor of presenting for our nation’s top producing farmers in Chicago at the Top Producer Seminar, sponsored by Cargill and Pioneer. I was scheduled to present with Monsanto’s VP of Sustainable Yield, but a few days before the presentation was told that he had moved to China and that there was no one to take his place. I then had the privilege of spending the afternoon in an incredibly insightful discussion with the farmers, many of whom are Monsanto’s customers, who are remarkable fathers, grandfathers and businessmen.

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