Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our Winter Project: Lobbying for the Raw Milk Bill at the Capitol!

We are finally getting to a number of posts we haven't had a chance to put together yet.  While we don't offer Raw Grassfed milk through our farm co-op, we support anything and everything that has to do with small, local farmers and food production.  

 As you can see Danny, Saffron & Samira had a busy few weeks in February and March at the Capitol.  Symbria and Sarah Patterson, owners of Red Acre Farm in Cedar City, tenaciously led the fight against Big Industrial Agriculture in Utah (Utah Dairy Council, Utah Grocery Store Manufacturers, etc) and all of their friends (The Farm Bureau, Utah Department of Agriculture), which culminated in the passing of HB 104 Cow Shares/Property Rights bill.  We were there to ride their coattails, learn the ropes, help lobby and get in the Food Freedom fight.  And while we were involved for 2-3 weeks, Sarah and Symbria were there for two months away from their farm and family.  They are amazing women!  

Thank you to all of our customers who joined in the fight by emailing or calling your legislators.  It worked!  We constantly heard feedback from legislators about how many emails they were receiving on the Cow Shares bill.  

It was a little harder to get to speak with Senators as compared to Representatives.

Wow, we learned a lot about what it takes to pass a bill!  It was quite the process.  Getting a sponsor in both chambers, Committee hearings, Hearing on the House floor, over to the Senate, Committee hearing, Hearing on the Senate floor, back to the House, etc.  And that was just small part of what happened, see here  It was cool to witness and be participants in our legislative process.  We had some champions in both the House and the Senate.  Rep Mark Roberts and Senator Mark Madsen were heroes who didn't back down to the lobbyists and legislators in the pocket of Industrial Ag in Utah.  

Saffron and Samira both brought their stuffed milk cows to show support for HB 104.  They were the cutest lobbyist up on the hill for sure!  

They also developed some amazing tactics for catching legislators and speaking with them.  One tactic was the coatrack ambush!  

Cutest girls in the world!  

We will need all of your support as we and all of the small farmers in Utah now turn to passing the Utah Food Freedom bill next year.  The Wyoming Food Freedom bill set the bar last year.  Together we can be the next state to pass a Food Freedom bill.  Heck you can go to the Food Freedom Fest to prepare for next years bill.  

There will be huge opposition from Industrial Agriculture in Utah so we need you to stand up and support your local farmers and your right to fresh, local food directly from producers.  The Grocery Store Manufacturers Association will again be doing everything they can to stop the bill.  So will the Utah Dairy Council, the large Industrial Poultry Producers, the Utah Department of Agriculture and the Farm Bureau.  All of whom have full time paid lobbyists while farmers like Sarah & Symbria have to leave their farms, not get paid and lobby.  They won't let this pass without a fight.  

You can help by emailing, calling and writing your legislators and the governor.  Among other things highlight the fact that the Utah Department of Agriculture should not be in the pocket of Big Ag in Utah.  Our taxes are paying their salaries and the Dept of Ag is one of the largest obstacles to the growth of local food and farmers in Utah.  They are sneaky, adversarial, retaliatory and unprofessional in their treatment and interactions with small meat producers, farmers and butchers.  This long time culture of magisterial arrogance needs to be removed in order that a new culture of collaboration, cooperation, coordination along with healthy up front communication will be the new norm at the Utah Department of Ag.  Local producers will then be unshackled to bring the local meat products to the people in Utah who want it.   

Finally HB 104 wasn't the first time the McDowells had been to the capital to support freedom, health & community.  This is us at the first clean the air rally in 2014.  We also made it an afternoon to attend this year.  

1 comment:

Paula Milby said...

Wow Danny, great post. I don't know if Symbria has had time to let you know, we have put the Facebook group together for the Food Freedom bill. Visit it and join. Farms, Food, and Freedom for Utah. Not much up yet but Connor's policy paper and the bill and constitutional amendment we intend to offer.