1. They’re too expensive. The rules could cost farmers over half of their profits and will keep beginners from starting to farm.
2. They treat farmers unfairly. FDA is claiming broad authority to revoke small farmers’ protections without any proof of a public health threat.
3. They will reduce access to fresh, healthy food. Local food distributors like food hubs could close, and new food businesses will not launch.
4. They make it harder for farms to diversify. Grain, dairy, and livestock farmers could be denied access to emerging local food markets.
5. They will over-regulate local food. The rules could consider farmers markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs “manufacturing facilities” subject to additional regulation.
6. They treat pickles like a dangerous substance. The rules fail to protect a host of low-risk processing activities done by smaller farms and processors.
7. They make it nearly impossible to use natural fertilizers like manure and compost. Farmers will be pushed to use chemicals instead of natural fertilizers.
8. They require excessive water testing on farms. Farmers using water from streams and lakes will be required to pay for weekly water tests regardless of risk or cost.
9. They could harm wildlife and degrade our soil and water. The rules could force farmers to halt safe practices that protect our natural resources and wildlife.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition does highlight at least one good change in the new law: It takes an integrated approach, rather than commodity-specific. This means farmers won’t face more than 30 separate rules for each kind of fresh produce.
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