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Congressmen question ‘Know Your Farmer’ campaign

Three Republican Senators are expressing concern with the direction of USDA’s “Know Your Farmer-Know Your Food” campaign.

In a sharply worded letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senators John McCain of Arizona, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Pat Roberts of Kansas, criticize the spending of 65 million dollars on the program.  They claim the effort is “aimed at small, hobbyist and organic producers whose customers generally consist of affluent patrons at urban farmers markets.”  And they accuse the USDA of prioritizing Rural Development grant and loan programs for so-called “locavore projects” in urban areas, at the expense of rural communities with greater needs.

The Senators chastise the USDA for ignoring “conventional farmers who produce the vast majority of our nation’s food supply.”  They also request that USDA provide proof of congressional authority to spend money for Know Your Farmer purposes, along with a full accounting of all spending on the program.

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  • I am barely middle class, but I care whether or not I eat poison or gmo’s. I don’t want them. I want them clearly labeled so I can make a choice–this is America, the land of the free. I am free to choose as long as I can make an informed decision.

    This isn’t a hobby. I patronize farmers I trust to buy my meat and vegetables. I grow my own eggs and have a garden. This is very important stuff to many of us, and perhaps you should educate yourselves before you stick your foot in your senatorial mouths. America has lots of people who prefer not to eat genetically modified food, HFC’s, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, steroids and hormones. We aren’t elite. We are just smart! And small local farmers deserve as much support as Archer Daniels Midland or Monsanto!

  • Way to go McCain, Chambliss and Roberts. Yes, let’s bash organic farmers, the small independent businessmen that make this country great and are just trying to provide healthy, local food for their communities while at the same time supporting their families. Let’s instead support the huge corporate farmers who can contribute SO much money to the campaigns of these three gentlemen to insure that corporate farming continues to receive outrageous and unnecessary government price supports and outmoded tax breaks. Don’t these three have anything better to do than bash small farmers…like the economy, health care, Wall Street financial regulation, etc., etc. Our politicians are a bunch of lame brain bloodsuckers that spend most of their time thinking how to get MORE money out of corporate donors and produce the policy these donors need. Like McCain needs another house? What does he have…nine?

  • I’m thinking those congressmen need a “know your food system” campaign. Talk about out of touch with reality. Can you believe one of those ignoramus was actually a presidential candidate?

  • We don’t earn enough to be considered middle class, either, but I certainly care VERY much where my food comes from. What about helping farmers escape the serfdom that is commercial farming, and let them grow food directly for families instead of being a cog in a system of highly processed “food” that only serves to weaken our health?

  • Who are these “progressive farmers” that a couple of you are referring to that should be thanking this ignorant bash on local food systems?

    Are “progressive farmers” the ones are sucking on the commodity subsidy teat, greedily adopting every new chemical solution offered by Monsanto, sticking their livestock in factory farms, and chanting “get big or get out!”?

    Sounds more like backward farmers to me. Sounds like the failed farm policies that have decimated the family-scale farm.

    I think the real progressive farmers are those of us figuring out how to raise the grain, pork, beef, and poultry without at much fossil fuel, toxic chemicals, and their accompanying environmental destruction.

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