Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods.
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News for July 22, 2010

Want raw milk? Lease a farm—and hire a lawyer

For two months earlier this year, Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger let the proposed contract sit unsigned on his desk.

The agreement specified that a nonprofit organization known as Right to Choose Healthy Food, and headed by raw food advocate Aajonus Vonderplanitz, would lease his farm's 50 cows and dozens of chickens -- "the works," says Hershberger. In exchange, the organization would have access to all the food from the animals: milk, eggs, and meat.

READ MORE (Grist) ]

The Truth About Raw Milk - Part 2

In yesterday’s article about raw milk, we learned about the history of pasteurization, health benefits of raw milk, and some very specific information about the nutrient-dense value of milk and how it positively impacts health.

Part II will include our family’s personal testimony of our experience drinking raw milk for the last three years, questions to ask your farmer when searching for the right place to buy raw milk, and how you can become involved in a vibrant raw milk community with passionate individuals who are committed to helping keep raw milk available for everyone to consume.

READ MORE (Journal of Living Food and Healing) ]

USDA Tells Big Ag to Stop Bullying Small Livestock Farmers

Last month, the USDA released a draft of new rules updating the Packers and Stockyards Act, a law meant to stop meatpackers and processors from pushing around small farmers. In practice, the law clearly fell short of its goals. These new rules fulfill two sections in the 2008 Farm Bill and address some of the unfair and anti-competitive practices rampant in the meat industry. Big Ag lobbying groups are furious about the proposals, so you know they must be good.

These new rules do a number of things to protect small farmers from being screwed over by large packing and processing companies. The rules explicitly ban treating smaller producers differently simply on the basis of size (as is common today), require contractors to keep records justifying any differences in price paid to different growers, and they allow farmers to seek action against packers and contractors for a number of unfair practices. As the current law is understood, farmers don't even have that right unless they can prove that the unfair action stifles competition throughout the entire marketplace, a significantly higher burden of proof than simply addressing the farmer's own grievances. The rules limit the amount of capital investments a contractor can require of a grower, and they mandate that a contract must be long enough to allow the grower to recoup at least 80 percent of any capital investments the contractor has required. That means no more requiring a farmer to spend $50,000 updating their facilities and then deciding not to renew their contract when the farmer has only made, say, $20,000 in profit, leaving that farmer in serious debt with no way to make money from such specialized equipment.


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