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Letter: Hard times for farmers

Thank you for your feature on Roger Noonan and the New England Farmers Union (Monitor Business page, April 29).

So many people think of farming as a hobby and don’t relate to the reality that to be successful small farms must be considered businesses. Like all businesses, New Hampshire farmers are facing federal and state regulations that go well beyond common sense to complex regulatory threats to their very existence. It seems so strange that as our New Hampshire farmers markets and local food movement have expanded, Congress and the FDA are passing laws and making new regulations that will prevent us from making “local” sustainable.

As a consumer (and farmer’s mother) I am worried about the future of New Hampshire farming. People need to wake up to the need to curb unnecessary laws, rules and regulations that might fit monolithic, mono-crop farms of the Midwest or West Coast but have no place in New England.

Vermont has actually funded groups to study the Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA’s proposed regulations. Vermont values farmers and wants to protect its farms, which contribute to the Vermont way of life.

We need a wake-up call to our state legislators and governor to protect our farmers before we lose these wonderful, fruitful places that not only provide us with local produce but also provide the open and interesting spaces that make New Hampshire a tourist attraction.

ELIZABETH TROUGHT

Dorchester

More over regulation from the Obama minions....who would have thought electing a guy with his history would cause that?..... the low information democrat voter ....obviously

RabbitNH & GWTW: I actually do shop at farmers markets (Concord, Cole Farms outside Concord) and buy local as best we can. I just want to make sure people are following guidelines on safety. Business has proven throughout history they will not police themselves........ As for "current use" - There are about 3,000 members of the NH Farm Bureau, even triple that to 9K for those that do farm and the number is far below the 27,000 people that have land in current use. 50% of NH is in current use exemptions and yet I don't see 50% looking like farm land. Most of the property is just land owned behind one’s home, not farming. I'll give you the exemption for actual working farms (registered and organized as a business), you give me all the rest as private property - deal.

Correct Jim as far as farms go. But you are leaving out the Timber Industry here in NH. That industry contributes 2.2 billion a year or 4% of Gross State product. 8,160 jobs, and 3 million a year in Timber taxes to communities . I am not even listing paper products, furniture, maple syrup, christmas trees etc revenue. All under current use. You are focusing on farms only. They are a small part of current use but an important part as far as local grown products.

A nice letter, but one must realize why the Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA make rules. Without them, history has shown, businesses do the cheapest process to maximize profits at the public expense. How many rivers and lakes were polluted with farm run off until laws were put in place. Even today, with regulations in place, the Great Bay Estuary is being polluted from fertilizer run off. I see eggs, raw milk, goat cheese, apple pies, jams, etc. ... for sell at farmer markets and on the side of the road in coolers, I would like some rules as to assure they are safe to consume. Let’s not use the wait and see what happens rule.

LOL...how about we send over a Govt inspector to test your Moms apple pie?

Only if she is "selling" to you and your children, you've never seen my Mom cook.

Anyone who has eyes can distinguish at the Farmer's Market which goods are fresh. Color, smell, and hardness are good indicators. This is not about no laws or regualtions. It is about unnecessary laws and regulations that are not needed. If you worried about buying food at the Farmer's Market, don't buy it. Buy the crap at the supemarket that comes from Chilie etc. The hatred for big business is now being applied to small business. That will kill local products.

You’ve got good eyes to see E-coli and salmonella. Seems in NH it is pretty easy to throw a cooler at the end of the driveway and sell stuff. A list of all those “unnecessary laws” would have been nice.

Hey...works for me. If you dont want to buy your sweet corn, apples, berries, homemade pies from the farm stands...more for me.

No surprise Jim that you expose more rules and regulations for farmers. Your stance on farming is pretty evident considering how you feel about Current Use. There is quite a difference from the folks who sell at farmer's markets, than the average Joe that sets up a cooler at the end of his driveway. Nobody forces you to buy anything. Most of what you buy in the supermarkets are filled with all kinds of perservatives. And many believe those FDA approved preservatives, jut might be why we have so many diseases these days.

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