PDCA is a proud to become a sponsor of The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
Legitimate organizations that take up the cause for the little guy are far and few between. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance(FARFA) is one such organization. They have made it their mission to fight for the rights of small farmers and artisans to continue producing and selling their farm products legally. They do this at the state and federal level by keeping watch for legislation that will negatively impact the rights of small farmers to produce and sell their products without crippling government regulations and laws. They then work with legislators to introduce bills to limit, modify or prevent unnecessary legislation from becoming law.
As an association it is important to collectively support causes that can offer a positive impact to our members and our communities. Since many Dexter breeders are also small-scale beef or raw milk producers, supporting FARFA helps our own mission to support Dexter breeders to sustain their farms and livelihoods.
Anyone involved in small farming as a business should think about supporting the work of FARFA. After all they work for us!
The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance: Working to Protect Farmers
If you’re raising or thinking about raising Dexter cattle, you may have experienced any of a number of roadblocks around raising, processing, and selling the products from your livestock.
That’s why the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Texas, exists. Our mission is to advocate on behalf of small-scale producers across the United States, serving as the voice for independent family farmers, ranchers, homesteaders, and consumers of local foods.
FARFA’s goal is to level the playing field for small producers, working with legislators to write and pass laws that give these farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace.
Our founding in 2006 was in response to the USDA’s attempt to mandate the National Animal Identification System, a program that would have required every person with a single livestock or poultry animal to register their property, tag each animal with electronic ID, and report their movements to a database for tracking. FARFA led the national coalition that forced USDA to withdraw that plan, and we have so far successfully fought each attempt to bring back this expensive and intrusive regulation.
Today, FARFA continues to advocate for common-sense policies, taking a wide range of approaches:
Working with state and federal legislators to find solutions to the most pressing issues.
Monitoring proposed laws and regulations to be ready to take action.
Keeping farmers and ranchers up-to-date on how proposed laws and rules will affect them.
Providing people with the tools they need to make positive change.
In recent years, FARFA has worked with the Congressional sponsors of the PRIME Act, a bill to address the severe shortage of meat processors that work with small-scale producers. The PRIME Act would allow producers to sell meat processed at custom slaughterhouses directly to consumers. These custom facilities (used by homesteaders and hunters) currently can only process meat for the personal consumption of the owner of the animal, but they have an excellent track record for safety – and allowing their use for meat for direct sales would greatly expand options for many cattle owners.
We also led the fight to include the Tester-Hagan Amendment in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This vital amendment exempts small-scale, direct marketing farmers and food businesses from the onerous regulations designed for large, industrial-scale operations.
Other issues on which we’ve advocated include requiring country-of-origin labeling, expanding access to raw milk, clamping down on corporate consolidation in the agricultural industry, and eliminating check-off programs.
Because we’re based in Texas, we work closely with the state’s farmers to pass legislation during the biannual Legislative Session. In the last Session in 2019, FARFA won passage of five bills, from one of the most expansive Cottage Foods bills in the country to another bill expanding options for on-farm processing of poultry and rabbits.
This year, we’re working to pass five new bills, including reining in our state’s department of agriculture for ignoring the small farm exemption won in the above-mentioned Tester-Hagan Amendment, and a bill to provide resources that help farmers to improve soil health.
We can’t do this work alone! Making change in our government system takes the involvement of people who care about these issues. There are many ways you can make a difference:
Support FARFA by becoming a member or making a donation (http://farmandranchfreedom.org/support/).
Get to know your legislators at the state and federal level. Call them, visit them, invite them out to your farm or homestead. (And we can help you with that process.)
Stay on top of the issues that matter. One simple way is to sign up for our email alerts. Go to https://bit.ly/FARFAnews, where you can select “federal news,” “Texas news,” or both. Share what state you live in, and we will also send relevant state alerts.
Those of us who raise animals and work the land understand hard work and commitment … and when we apply that hard work and commitment to being involved with our government and laws, we truly can make a difference.