Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Speak Your Mind

You've heard of Big Pharma, the lobbying arm of the big pharmaceutical companies. Well, there's also Big Elsie, and it's trying to water down new federal rules governing organic milk.

The proposed new regulations would clarify the requirement that dairy cows and other ruminants consume a meaningful amount of feed from pasture and grazing. Because this means that the big dairy companies couldn't continue their practice of confining animals in feedlot style operations, they're lobbying the White House Office of Management and Budget to weaken (or eliminate) the new rule.

The Cornucopia Institute, founded by the farmers of Organic Valley, along with FOOD Farmers (the Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers) and GoodStuffNW contributor Anthony Boutard, are urging you to express your concerns to the White House about "respecting the 10 years of collaborative work that has gone into clarifying strict pending regulations for organic livestock, especially requiring pasture." View a sample message here.

You can share your views by calling 202-456-1111 or e-mailing the White House.

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Readers of GoodStuffNW know that I've been reporting on the progress of the lawsuit and recent court decision in the case against the USDA over genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets being grown in the Willamette Valley.

Another similar case involves GE alfalfa, which a federal court banned until the USDA did a thorough environmental impacts statement (EIS). The draft of that statement has now been released and there is a 60-day period that ends on February 16 for the public to make comments.

The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), based in Port Townsend, Wash., strongly believes the EIS failed to address the economic and environmental consequences of GE alfalfa and sets a dangerous precedent for future deregulation. They are also concerned that it threatens the integrity of organic seed and food systems and the National Organic Program. The Alliance worked with Center for Food Safety staff and others to put together talking points specifically for organic farmers and consumers who want to give input, as well as providing a link to submit comments.

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