Larry Butler, (Boggy Creek Farm - Austin, Texas) on the radio today. Did you hear this?
You are against a bill that passed in Congress on Thursday - HR 2749 The Food Safety Bill
Larry Butler: "This is a food bill that will generate a lot of bureaucracy, not that much to do with food safety, it will generate a lot of fees for small farmers. Create a lot of paperwork we are already over our heads in those things. It will not be good for small individual growers.
"I have been in the business (growing) for 19 years. Over a month's period time 1500 to 2000 people (rely on his farm). I have not had one complaint (about any food coming off farm)."
What do you think the reason (for this bill) is?
"We have had a few food scares. Anytime you concentrate your food, when you have 26,000 acres of spinach and have a problem with that spinach and have made people sick over 20 states or have roasted peanuts and make people sick over 15-25 states, when you have these huge businesses and they have concentrated our food production -- it is ready for a problem.
"If I have a problem the people will come to me and say 'Hey, I've had a problem'. If I ever had a problem it might make one or two people sick and this would devastate me personally but its not going to have an affect over the whole United States. So, twenty thousand acres of spinach won't just get plowed under."
Why are they doing this to you?
"It feels good to put food safety on the top shelf here. The small grower will have one more thing to put up with and deal with and pay for and the paperwork that it is going to create. ... You can only stand so much of this for so long until you finally say 'I'm not going to do it anymore' and just get out of the business."
"If they are interested in pure food, real food safety -- they'll help more small growers get into the business and let's have food diversification instead of food concentration."
History of the street car. They went out of fashion not because we thought they were old fashioned or not the best but because the bus industry. I believe it was General Motors in with tire company either GoodYear or Goodrich together with Standard Oil to take over the industry for streetcars. They coluded with each other and got in with the cities to change the laws and make it so onerous for the streetcars. The streetcars could not keep up and the cities just started buying all the buses.
Could you make the case that big huge farms are doing the same thing to the small farmer?
"We need the big canneries, we have a lot of people to feed. We need to produce the food here that we eat. We need to process the food here that we eat here. We need to consume the food that we grow and process here.
"We buy our food from China, Vietnam, Honduras, Guatamala, Mexico. Some of these places hate our guts yet we want to put that food in our body? Hmm, I don't think so. There is some foods I have completely quit eating because of that. We need to be self-sufficent here, we need to be self-sustaining here.
HR 2749 - What are you hoping will happen?
"What Congressman is not going to sign a 'food safety bill'? ... Lets concentrate it on the people that do interstate business going across multiple state lines -- in other words the ones that are huge and need a little more regulation."