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Monday
Apr082019

The Life & Death of House Bill 182

First of all, thank you for all of your work and effort in behalf of this bill. If the Senate was willing to stay another five minutes we believe it had a chance to pass. We're frustrated with the process and the outcome, but appreciate the support shown for raw dairy products in Utah. 

So what happened? HB182 was thwared by the Gila Monster. On the very last night of the legislative session HB182 was up next, just before 11pm, when a motion was presented to bump HB144 to the front. The motion was approved, the Senate voted to make the Gila Monster our state reptile, and then they adjourned. For the year. With raw cream and butter sitting next in line with a handful of other bills. Incredibly disappointing.

We appreciate our Representative, Kim Coleman, and her willingness to step into the ring with us this year and fight for food freedom. She shared her experience with us during a Facebook discussion on our UNM page:

"There are so many tactics that special interests use in the legislative process, many disingenuous, but this was a first for me. The Farm Bureau/Dairy Farmers meet in the fall and take positions generally on bills that they haven’t even seen and don’t even know if they are going to have one. This prevents them from entering into any discussions or negotiations on legislation that does come up. Then they testify in committee that they oppose the bill and want it sent to Interim study, even when there’s nothing really to study, because they put themselves in a self-made corner.

This year I saw the most dirty tactics I’ve seen in my five years. But for the farm bureau to be the only association to voluntarily put themselves in a position of not being able to negotiate or be flexible with their positions throughout the legislative process is, to me, offensive to the process. All they could say is 'sorry, we already opposed your bill before there was a bill.' Then they lock down every farm to take their position. This was a first to me, and I think reflects badly on the industry when every other sector and industry is capable of participating IN THE PROCESS. But apparently it works, as it did this year, but the trade-off is a sullied reputation of the farm bureau."

"The End of the Road" by Two Sparrows FarmA few days later she also shared this article (The End of the Road) with these additional thoughts on her Facebook page

"I’ve often thought about the implications of “foreign oil dependency” and wondered what it might mean for America to be foreign food dependent.

A lobbyist for farmers seemingly mocked the fact that I was running two farm related bills as a suburbanite representative. He doesn’t know my background, though not a farmer, or the fact that I have a good deal of farming and agriculture area in my district. One of my bills sought directly to create better protections for farms against eminent domain. Another one sought to allow raw milk dairies to be able to sell the cream and butter as separate products. Holy cow, I had no idea how oppositional traditional dairy farms would be to these 10 or so boutique raw milk dairies who have customers begging for $12 per pound raw butter for the health of their children. Their answer to these families was to do without. Interesting commentary on demand for butter and cream, when they can simply deny dozens of families access to this product.

I would ask you to please read this article. After my recent experience, I’m baffled that the farm community worked against each other in this session when they have so many bigger problems facing them. (and their problem is our problem)

This is a very impactful article. It is both sad and scary. I don’t think I am just waxing sentimental about the American farmer, though there is definitely Americana romance there. But there are significant economic and future concerns this article points out. And this part might surprise you, government intervention in markets may have done more harm than good."

Basically, our bill to legalize the sale of raw cream and raw butter was killed because of special interests and their political friends in positions of power. Read the above article and tell me, is the sale of raw cream and raw butter really going to hurt the industry? It's already dying! And instead of working together to find different avenues to keep agriculture thriving, it's instead an "us vs. them" mentality with the Utah Farm Bureau and Utah Dairy Council as they continually place road blocks where they see fit. They won't even say, "Hey, let's create a bill together to make the sale of these products legal". It's just a no. No compromise. No brainstorming. No cooperation. Even with the Utah Department of Ag & Food speaking in favor of the bill, we got nowhere.

Running a farm is it's own amount of work, but we also continually battle against politicians, these two organizations, and outdated laws & regulations. Subsidies that are supposed to help are killing the industry, and the way farms are headed only those who evolve and find a niche market will be able to survive. Unfortunately these organizations claiming to represent farms & dairies can't, or won't, see it and make adjustments. Maybe raw dairy is what will save the industry? Maybe small-scale farms, who can harvest animals without needless government intrusion and oversight, will keep agriculture alive? Maybe your local farmer, where you can buy nutrient dense vegetables & other homemade foods, will be the future of farming? We think so, and that's why we'll continue to fight for change.

What's the next step? Try again next year - we'll be ready to go through this process again. What more can you do? Just be aware. Stay informed. How did your representative vote during this session? Were they on a committee discussing this bill, and if so, what did they say? What was their vote on the floor? What about your Senator? Take some time to know the people who represent you and find out if they're actually doing so, or just representing special interests instead. The food we eat can either be healing or harmful to our bodies, and we should have a choice in which we are able to purchase.

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