Restrictions & Regulations: FDA Still Attacking Organic Farming

farming
Farming/Crops

farmingBefore you decide this headline is simply propaganda, let me assure that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to ban organic farming. How, you might ask? By making it impossible for farmers to use their own organic compost – a tradition that is older than dirt, and has been practiced for longer than many countries have been on this planet.

The proposed FDA restrictions would also make burdensome rules for growers, affecting both the small farmer and larger agriculturalist alike. This is such a big threat to age-old farming practices, that many organic farmers could be forced out of business. You can guess who championed this ridiculous new set of rules – none other than the biotech industry who is scared witless of the growing organic trend.

Let’s start with the restrictions on compost – the very basics of organic farming. The limitations the FDA proposes are so severe, they are akin to a ban on compost. Not only would farmers that have livestock have to keep their herds apart from soil used for growing crops, but any farm that uses surface water would be forced to test their water at great expense and frequent intervals.

This is ridiculous, since manure from livestock has been used for centuries as a form of organic fertilizer. While it needs to ‘cure’ long enough to get rid of dangerous pathogens, it is an organic farmers heritage to use animal dung to grow food. In fact, animal manure adds many important nutrients to the soil, and animals fed organic crops act to close an open-system. What is taken out of the soil through grazing or feed is put back into the soil by amending it with compost and manure. Chicken, cow, and horse manure are an essential part of organic farming.

Read: Organic Gardening 101

The FDA did receive some backlash for this original proposal, but they still haven’t changed the rules sufficiently to allow for age-old composting practices.

“…comments received caused [the] FDA to reevaluate the proposed requirements for biological soil amendments of animal origin, which propose an increasingly stringent set of application restrictions based on the likelihood of the soil amendment harboring pathogens. These proposed requirements, if finalized, are expected to result in changes in current use of treated and untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin or potentially greater use of synthetic fertilizers. Changes in the type or handling of soil amendments may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”

As FoodSafetyNews points out, “the FDA’s peculiarly schizophrenic views on human pathogens in manures,” only shows its preference for expensive and energy-intensive chemical fertilizers. Once again, the biotech giants responsible for poisoning us with pesticides and herbicides want to get rid of a 15,000 year-old practice of composting manure and replace it with chemicals. How novel.

While it is a good idea to make sure there are no pathogens in soil used to grow organic fruits and vegetables, the FDA wants to propose a nine-month waiting period for farmers to have their soil tested. This would include all “untreated” amendments – which includes not only manure, but also worm compost and compost teas with any additives that aren’t ‘rubber-stamped’ by the FDA.

Farmers have been amending their soil with manure and making their own compost for centuries. Why the sudden interest in regulation? Oh yea, the FDA was infiltrated by Monsanto, Bayer, and Syngenta a long time ago.

What’s more, this is not the only crippling set of rules proposed by the FDA. They also want organic farmers to extensively test the water they use for their crops during a growing season. In places like Texas, where the growing season is all year long, that could mean over 52 required water tests!

Read: The Dirt on Peak Fertilizer – What You Need to Know

The FDA would require farmers to send their water to an approved lab, and they wouldn’t be able to water their crops with that water until they were ‘allowed.’ The cost of this testing could cost several thousand dollars annually, and for small farmers – that’s an extra cost they likely can’t afford. Furthermore, water would have to be treated with ‘antimicrobial’ chemicals if it does not meet the agency’s standards.

So – while biotech companies are spoiling our soil, air, and water with chemicals, organic farmers will be disallowed to water their own crops without FDA approval. I swear I’m not making this up!

If you want to tell the FDA that they are simply insane, and that you won’t stand for this blasphemy, you can submit comments or contact your Congressmen and women. These rules are unbelievably dim, and so obviously championed by big chemical companies it’s hard to believe our government thought they could get this past us.

The FDA has admitted that the proposed rules need some changes, but that is possibly the biggest understatement I’ve ever read. Don’t let the FDA ban organic farming. Stand up to the biotech bullies and tell the FDA to change these absurd rules today.

Additional Sources:

NPR

GPO.gov