Dear Farmers and Farm supporters,
You may be interested in having your voices heard on this topic!  Please
see bottom of email for instructions on how to contact  your rep and
express your thoughts.

Vicki Morrone and Susan Houghton
-----Original Message-----
From: Susan Houghton [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 4:26 PM
To: Vicki Morrone
Subject: FW: [Market-farming] Proposed USDA Restrictions on Salad Crops

Susan Houghton

> [Original Message]
> From: John Ferree <[log in to unmask]>
> To: Market Farming <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: 11/27/2007 10:54:43 AM
> Subject: [Market-farming] Proposed USDA Restrictions on Salad Crops
> Protect Fresh Leafy Greens and Family Farms
> *Federal Regulations Would Harm Sustainable Farmers and Biodiversity*
> We need your help in another battle to stop the *slippery slope toward
> sterilized and industrialized food system* that threatens biodiversity
> and the very existence of family-scale farms that grow food in a safe,
> healthy, and environmentally sustainable way.
> In response to the E. coli 0157 outbreaks last year in bagged spinach,
> the USDA is considering a change in the federal regulations that could
> potentially require growers of *_all_ fresh leafy green vegetables* to
> follow specified guidelines in the fields and during post-harvest
> handling. The federal rules would be similar to the California
> guidelines that were set by large-scale operations after the
> The _guidelines include growing practices that discourage biodiversity
> and sustainable/organic farming practices_, deplete soil fertility,
> create "sterile" fields-methods that have not been scientifically
> to actually reduce E. coli 0157 bacteria but are certain to *reduce
> biodiversity, harm wildlife, and burden family-scale farms*.
> *Small- and medium-scale farmers would bear the greatest financial and
> logistical burden of such specified guidelines*. For example, if the
> rules require testing for pathogens at every harvest-as they currently
> do in California-then large-scale farms that grow one type of crop and
> harvest only one to three times per season would pay much less than
> smaller and more diverse farms that continually harvest many types of
> vegetables. If regulations dictate a single set of growing practices
> food safety measures, which are appropriate for large-scale "factory
> farms" but not for diverse family farms, *_we risk losing the very
> that grow leafy greens in a healthy and sustainable way_*. A
> one-size-fits-all regulation will not work!
> The rules threaten biodiversity and environmental sustainability in
> several ways. Farmers would be encouraged to eliminate wildlife and
> vegetation that may provide habitat for wildlife. The rules also
> discourage the development of microbial life in the soil. These
> have not been shown to reduce the risk of harmful bacterial
> contamination*. In fact, sustainable farming methods that promote
> microbial life in soil have shown to reduce E. coli 0157 because it
> to compete with other microbes and is therefore less likely to thrive.
> However, the aim of these rules seems to be for sterile fields that
> support no forms of life, except for the leafy greens.
> *We must make our voices heard*, telling the USDA that we do not
> federal rules that would put a great financial and logistical burden
> family-scale farmers, discourage environmentally healthy ways of
> farming, and harm wildlife.
> Taking action is easy, but with a *December 3 deadline* for submitting
> comments to the USDA, we need your help *_today_*. Please tell the
> that food safety is an important concern, but that mandating measures
> with no scientific basis that will put small farmers out of business,
> and harm wildlife, is not the way to go.
> *Please submit your comments today by downloading the sample letter
> below* or writing your own message and posting it online (see
> instructions below), or faxing it in. The USDA is specifically asking
> citizens to comment on its plan to implement these rules, and it's
> important that you tell the USDA that you want to ensure access to
> fresh, leafy greens and that you oppose a Marketing Order or Marketing
> Agreement that would impose federal standards for all growers of leafy
> greens. Remember that every comment counts, but individualized
> messages/letters carry more weight than form letters.
> <>
> *1) To submit online: *
>       Go to <>. In the
>       middle of the screen, you will see "Search Documents." 
>       In Step 1, choose "Documents with an open comments period"
>       In Step 2, choose "Department of Agriculture"
>       In Step 3, choose "PROPOSED RULES"
>       In Step 4, choose "Docket ID" and then type in "AMS-FV-07-0090" 
>       Hit "Submit."
>       Next, you will see a column titled "Comments, add/due by." Click
>       on the tiny tan dialogue icon, and you are now ready to submit
>       your information and your comment. 
> *2) To fax: (202) 720-8938. *
> ** Please make sure that your letter references Docket Number
> AMS-FV-07-0090.
> In addition to the Cornucopia website more information on this matter
> available by visiting the California-based Community Alliance for
> Farmers' website at We thank CAFF for
> their diligence on this issue.
> _______________________________________________
> Market-farming mailing list
> [log in to unmask]

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