Federal Legislation Threatens Massachusetts Agriculture

Massachusetts has a long, proud history of farming. Drive into the small towns West of Metro Boston and it’s hard not to notice an orchard, dairy, or signs for one of our many local farmer’s markets. A few minute’s drive from my home will bring you to Bolton – a right to farm community. A few minute’s drive in the other direction, and you’re in Lancaster, where a pick-your-own orchard gave me my first job in Massachusetts, when I moved here in 2001. One more town over from Lancaster and you’re in Sterling, where the Davis family, farming for over 100 years, turned a disaster on their family-owned dairy into Davis Farmland – a local attraction dedicated to educating children and conservation of endangered livestock. All of this, and more, is threatened by the provisions in S 510, The FDA Food Modernization Act.

The Food Modernization Act was primarily written to force American food producers and exporters into compliance with international treaties that the United States has entered regarding the import and export of agricultural products. To the extent that the bill will regulate the exportation and importation of food in international commerce, it is constitutional. However, there are serious constitutional and economic issues with the bill in how it deals with small, local farms.

One of the act’s main initiatives is to make all food produced in the United States traceable. The motives behind this initiative seem honorable on their face. Essentially, the act says food must be traceable in order to protect public health.

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Repeal Amendment: Giving Back The Power Back To The States

The politicians in DC have proven that they are no longer capable of governing in the best interests of the several states and have long used the courts to usurp powers granted to the states via the 10th Amendment by invoking the General Welfare clause, theCommerce clause and/or the Necessary and Proper clause.

The states have always had the power to rein in the federal government through an Article V Convention, otherwise known as an Amendments Convention, when “on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof,”. While it is a very little used tactic, just the threat of one can be enough to nudge Congress into action, as was the case with the 17th Amendment and possibly the 21st, 22nd and 25th Amendments as well*.

Today we have the perfect storm forming with the strength of the Tea Party along with the overall awareness of the American people that the federal government has grown too large and does not operate in the best interest of them or the states.

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