Monday, September 27, 2010

A branch of our State Government is on the verge of a systematic harassment of local farmers. Specifically, the dairy farmers whose sole purpose it is to supply healthy dairy products to their friends. These farmers are ones who do NOT supply “dead” milk that has to be artificially supplemented with vitamins and nutrients which have been removed by pasteurization. The farmers I am speaking of supply raw milk, the REAL milk.

I am reminded of the commercials of Meijer and Hardee’s, wherein they have actors posing as competitors explaining how their products, either mass processed or frozen and shipped many miles, are better for the end consumer. Meijer says that their daily butchered meat is fresher than the packaged brands which have unpronounceable ingredients on the label, while Hardee’s claims that frozen is NOT “fresher than fresh”.

We can all see through these advertising ploys and realize that, yes, they are right, the freshness is lacking in mass processed foods but the convenience/price factor is just something that we have to live with. I and my family don’t feel that way. We desire to have the best available and the cost is justified. With the rise of “farmer’s markets” around the country and a growing “locavore” movement, we realize that we are not alone.

Just like Hardee’s customers, I wish to eat freshly made biscuits with my breakfast and, as well as the Meijer folks, the freshly cut beef and lamb out taste the “shipped in” products (although we get ours from Whole Foods). Our milk is even more important. We choose not to have the whole product stripped of all bacteria, just to have some “possible” strains of harmful bacteria “cleansed”, then replaced with (artificially created) “good” bacteria and vitamins/minerals. Our grandparents did not have this travesty thrust upon them when they were young and the pioneers did not suddenly keel over from bad farm food.

This form of food adulteration has come about by the rise in mass produced foods and the “factory farms” now being seen as a plague on America. >The massive recall of eggs that has recently been in the news did not come from the small farmers of Central Kentucky, nor did the spinach recalls of a few years ago, nor do the many meat recalls that happen several times a year. They all are centered on huge agri-processing plants which have touted their “economies of scale” for keeping prices low but have nothing to do with food safety. Factory farms and food adulteration may be killing America in the guise of saving it.

Real milk, the raw milk I spoke of earlier is not allowed to be sold in stores in Kentucky. It is not allowed to be sold in any way in Kentucky. These are the rules of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. You may get milk from your own cow for your personal use, and that is why we and some friends share the ownership of a cow. Now, I am a city boy and I don’t know how to deal with cows so we have a farmer take care of the animal (for a fee, of course). He has the land and the know-how, and particularly, the time. Once a week we have to go get our milk and some of the other things like eggs or produce that he may have available.

Our farmer is not the only one who operates this way. It is a also a growing movement, the idea of owning shares of an animal for the good of many (think of it as the original Stock Market shares. Lately, the Milk Safety Branch (a department within the Department of Health and Human Services) has started to feel the pressure from the factory dairies and will begin “on-farm inspections”, although they have no jurisdiction or authority to do so. These cowshare dairies are being harassed as a service of our government for doing more than the agri-business factory farm dairies care to. Product recalls at these cowshare places are unheard of. Health scare publicity for them is non-existent, so why the sudden need to do inspections while offenders and repeat offenders grab headlines and court cases wind slowly through the system?

Those of you who choose to go with the local foods and healthy living may wish to contact your local representatives and try to nip this in the bud, because from here it may only get worse.

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