Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13910

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Comment Number: AGW-13910

From: Patricia O'Leary
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 5:26 PM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: Re: Corporate Control Over Our/My Food

Dear DOJ:
These are some of my concerns about corporate control over my food.
1-One of my favorite farmers (in a local farmers market) has told me that because of the lack of local
   meat processors, she must transport her animals long distances in order to find a USDA inspected
   (needed for selling at farmers markets) processor for her meat. This adds time, money and unnecessary
   stress on the animals. If there were more inspected processors available locally, it would open up much more
   opportunity for smaller producers to offer consumers choices between the large, subsidized operations and
   smaller independent ones. 
2-Another farmer, whose CSA I belonged to, had a neighboring farmer that grew GMO corn right beside the CSA
   field. That meant that our CSA farm could not produce any corn for our group because the GMO corn would
  most certainly contaminate it. This limited our CSA choices in what we could eat. With so much consolidation
  within the seed industry, it is more and more difficult for any farmer to even obtain GMO free corn seed to grow.
3-With the consolidation of the meat (beef, pork & poultry) industry, I will not purchase any meat product in a grocery store.
   If I can't buy meat directly from a farmer, so that I can be sure of how it was raised, I will go without, as I did
   before I got to know some farmers. You MUST break up the consolidation here so that smaller growers can get access
   to a market in order to stay in business. These large bullies set the conditions of growing, pricing and marketing, placing the
   farmer in a position of near serfdom.
4-The dairy industry is the same. The small independent dairy farmers are dropping like flies because of consolidation
   and because of cheap imported milk protein concentrates. This all makes for a very unhealthy dairy industry as well
   as unhealthy dairy products. Again, I will buy my dairy products only from farmers I know to produce in a humane and
   healthy way. All consumers should have this choice. Consumers should be able to know if the farmer raises his/her
   cows on pasture or feed them in feedlot fashion. Are the cows fed antibiotics and injected with hormones? All should
   be transparent.
 5-The seed industry is another field that is ripe with monopoly concentration. Farmers should not only be allowed to  save seeds ,     
   but should be encouraged to save their their seeds and develop crops that can adapt to local conditions as well as to save
   the many existing varieties that we may otherwise loose. We need diversity to survive. If  only one or two companies have patents
   on many many kinds of crops, we will be headed for extinction fast.
    These are some of my serious concerns with the current food industry.
   Patricia O'Leary
   6010 Westchester Park
   College Park, MD
Updated April 7, 2016

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