Organic production: a difficult business for small farmers
Americans reportedly have a growing appetite for organic food, but small US
farmers say that can't compete with large and corporate producers when it comes
to delivering the goods.
Meeting certification standards for organic meat is difficult, and there
a range of other issues facing producers including heavy workloads, a lack of
qualified farmhands, high fuel costs, and regulatory gripes in particular.
is an organisation promoting organic and sustainable farming that includes more
than 400 Washington growers.
Tilth Producers spokesperson Nancy Allen says, "There is this whole
groundswell of local organic agriculture, but it takes people willing to commit
their lives to it. It seems larger farms are more likely to stay with the
Small farmers are also concerned about the livestock identification program,
where livestock would be tracked with electronic ear tags or chips.
Supporters of the National
Animal Identification System say it will protect the national herd by
quickly enabling investigators to trace diseased animals. They say the program
would also help safeguard public health by ensuring tainted meat could be pulled
from store shelves, and protect export markets by assuring trading partners that
the US has a rigorous safety system in place.
But others in agriculture worry the NAIS amounts to unnecessary government
intrusion that will place an undue burden on farmers.
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