More than a million acres of farmland, some with an estimated value of more than $100 billion, will soon be off limits to commercial agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it is rescinding the permit requirement for a handful of commercial farms.
A draft of the rule, released by USDA last week, says that farmers can resume their operations if they submit to additional requirements such as certifying their crops with “industry standards.”
However, those requirements will have to be met in person.
In most states, farmers are required to do this in person and are also required to sign an agreement to abide by the rules.
The USDA also says that all states must issue similar permits to commercial farms that have been certified to be of USDA quality.
The draft rule states that “each state may adopt or maintain a system that will allow any commercial, small, and large farmer to resume commercial agriculture without having to obtain USDA approval for each new application.”
The draft rule says that, “Agricultural products produced under this section shall be subject to inspection by the Department.”
This rule is in response to a complaint from a farmer who sued the USDA last year after he was denied a permit to sell his crops.
The lawsuit was filed by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), an environmental group that is also pushing to overturn the rule.
In a press release, OCA said the rule is “one of the most aggressive restrictions on small farmers” it has seen in its nearly three decades of work.
“The rules are part of a concerted effort to keep the American farmers in the dark about the USDA’s plans to take over farming and starve them of their profits, OCP’s senior director of government affairs, Matt Anderson, said in a statement.”
It’s clear that the rule was designed to take away farmers’ ability to protect and protect their livelihoods from the onslaught of genetically modified crops.
These rules are an attack on small, rural farmers and small businesses across the country.
“The rule is set to take effect March 1, 2018.