Many of you know that several months ago I endorsed Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Yes, he’s a dark horse. Yes, he’s far more libertarian than Republican. But he truly gets the personal freedom, local food, unfettered small business, entrepreneurism, limited government, food choice, and the economy. What’s there not to love? It was the first time I’ve ever officially endorsed a candidate.
We live in tumultuous times. Every day I feel like the food police, USDA, industrial ag and government in general is tightening a noose around our collective food and farm neck. Now the USDA is pushing to resurrect the mandatory radio frequency animal identification plan, which if implemented in its proposed form would virtually end farms like Polyface. That sounds like a Henny Penny statement, and I’d like to think that our culture would not tolerate such a plan, but I doubt that most Germans in the 1930s thought that within a decade, their country would exterminate several million Jews either. These are just animals we’re talking about; not humans.
So here we are at a time when SWAT teams (see “Farmageddon,” the documentary, for more information) are entering private homes and buying clubs, confiscating raw milk, cheese, and home-processed poultry and meats. This week I’ve been trying to make heads and tails out of a multi-page USFoods vendor application because we now have a couple of large institutional clients wanting our pastured products but want them delivered on a USFoods truck. The requirements necessitate hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in infrastructure investment.
Our insurance underwriter for both product liability and workmen’s comp is hassling us over having interns working with vegetables, poultry, and cattle. Don’t you know workers are not supposed to touch multi-species, but are supposed to be confined to just one plant or animal? Diversity is a travesty!
With all these things going on, I believe I have a responsibility to my grandchildren to leave a legacy of better governance. A better opportunity. A life with more freedom and less tyranny; more choice and less terror.
In that spirit, I’m endorsing for Tuesday’s Republican primary the Senatorial candidacy of Jamie Radtke, who is running against George Allen for the nomination. Her Food Sovereignty platform would utterly revolutionize food, farming, and especially local food pricing. I don’t agree with everything she says, but on the issues that will help preserve food choice and the viability of this little farm, she’s dead on. I encourage everyone to get out and vote for her on Tuesday.
Secondly, I endorse Karen Kwiatkowski for Sixth Congressional District, running against incumbent Congressman Bob Goodlatte. Again I’ve had a professionally average working relationship with Bob and he has actually visited our farm. But Karen, again, is far superior on food rights, food choice, and true personal freedom. I have things we don’t agree on, but overall she truly gets food freedom. I encourage everyone to get out and vote for her on Tuesday.
If you disagree with my assessment, I would ask you to call either George Allen’s campaign or Bob Goodlatte’s campaign and ask them one simple question: “Do you believe Virginians should have the right to purchase raw milk from any farmer they choose, and do you believe any farmer should have the right to sell this raw milk to consenting adults unfettered of bureaucratic oversight?” The answer will tell you exactly what has become abundantly clear to me. These two old-timers are not ready for the battles our culture needs to fight if we are to survive as a bastion of freedom and personal liberty (responsibility).
Where we are as a culture is the physical manifestation of billions of individual decisions over the last decades–including the decision to become involved in the governance process. The communities we leave our grandchildren, likewise, will be the summation of billions of individual decisions made by people between now and then. Let’s draw a line in the sand, today, and tell Monsanto, the USDA, the FDA, the food police, the insurance/litigation fraternity and anyone else who would dare to dictate our food choices: enough already. I’m going to do all I can to stop you today. Thank you.
Joel Salatin is an Augusta County farmer.