America: Land of the Free? From Farmers to Prisoners — Stop NAIS!

. 4 min read

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” — Henry Kissinger

“We do not need more laws, we need more liberty. We need to protect freedom of choice. We need to protect the freedom of the farmer to sell and the freedom of the consumer to purchase anything they jolly well want without the encroachment of harassing, capricious, asinine government regulations. If we don’t preserve that liberty today, the only thing our children and our children’s children will be able to have and eat is irradiated, amalgamated, extruded, reconstituted, chlorinated, genetically prostituted, ADM fecal soup. I am convinced that the freedom to eat our choice of foods will be one of the showdowns of tomorrow.” — Joel Salatin

In the United States today, there are nearly twice as many prisoners than farmers. Source We have less than 5 percent of the world’s population, and almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Source

In the 1940s there were over 6 million farms in America. Now there are only 2 million farms. Less than 1% of our population (285,000,000) are farmers, and only about 960,000 of those people claim farming as their principal occupation. Meanwhile, according to a U.S. Justice Department Report, over 7.2 million people are in prison, on probation, or on parole. In other words, 1 in every 32 Americans are in the system. According to the International Centre of Prison Studies at King’s College London, out of that 7.2 million, 2.3 million are currently behind bars. Source

There is definitely a pattern here. We’ve seen a massive reduction of American family farms and rural communities along with an astronomical rise in prison populations.

Some say the reduction of family farms is not accidental, but systematic, planned and executed by large corporate and government interests.

Just after air and water, food is life. Agriculture was the basis of America, but where are we today? In a recent Power Hour radio interview Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm stated a sobering statistic: We now have twice as many people in prison as we do farmers.
What does this say about the state of our nation? How did we get to the point where the incarceration industry overshadows the cultivation of crops?
Food is power and the powers that be are ever mindful that the control of food is important to their scheme. Who was among the hardest hit during the bankster engineered depression of the 1930s? Farmers. How many lost “the family farm” then? Add 50 years and we were again losing farms to bank foreclosures and an economic structure designed to destroy the small operator, repossess the asset of the land and give birth to industrial corporate agriculture. Source

NAIS: The Next Step in the Elimination of Small Farms?

What is NAIS? According to the USDA, NAIS, or the National Animal Identification System is being proposed in order to “protect the health of U.S. livestock and poultry and the economic well-being of those industries, we must be able to quickly and effectively trace an animal disease to its source.”

Opponents say NAIS is designed to drive more small farms out of business. “The government’s own numbers show that a small farmer will pay at least twice and in some cases nearly three times the costs per animal to participate in NAIS as will the operators of the large confined animal feeding operations (CAFO),” said Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund president, Pete Kennedy.

According to Linn Cohen-Cole, “NAIS is not a direct ban on meat or chicken or goat meat… but a slow, complex legal threat entailing loss of more and more control and then of isolated bankruptcy or of just giving up farming or ranching completely.” Source

According to the website:

The USDA’s proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS) was originally designed to give the big beef producers help in getting export markets which required disease controls. The idea is that every single livestock animal in the United States will be identified and tagged. All livestock animal movements will be tracked, logged and reported to the government. The benefit is to the big factory farms who probably do need this type of regulation. They get to do single IDs for large groups of animals. Small farmers, pet owners and homesteaders will have to tag and track every single animal.

Watch this video of NAIS Judith McGeary at a NSDA Listening Tour in Austin from May, 2009:

For more information about NAIS, please visit and NAIS Stinks.

Take Action — Help Stop NAIS

To help support small farms and farmers, please join the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. The Farm-to-Consumer Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization created to expand public awareness about sustainably farmed food, increase choices and access to local sources and support small family farms growing and raising these foods.

You can also attend a NAIS listening session. Listening sessions are a way to make your voice heard and help stop NAIS.

If you live in or near one of the following cities, please try to attend a NAIS listening session this month:

Tuesday, June 16: Albuquerque, N.M.
Thursday, June 18: Riverside, Calif.
Thursday, June 25: Raleigh, N.C.
Saturday, June 27: Jasper, Fla.

Here are the details on attending.

You may also submit your comments here.

For those of you in Southern California, I will be attending the NAIS listening session in Riverside on June 18 with members of our local WAPF chapter. Please join us! Click here to RSVP and carpool with us to Riverside — or just meet us there.

Photo credit: KOMUNews and podchef on Flickr