Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp Urge Feds Back
to Drawing Board to Craft 'Farm Friendly' Regulations
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of
Agriculture's proposed organic food rules drew criticism today from the
founders of Farm Aid. Farm Aid leaders called on the USDA to abandon the
draft rules and start over with a new ear toward hearing and understanding the
real needs of organic farmers and the concerns of consumers.
In letters to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, Willie Nelson, Neil Young
and John Mellencamp concluded, "The only solution is a complete re-write of
this rule to preserve the production of organic food and the small farmers who
Nelson said the rules, as they stand today, defeat the purpose of attaching
the "organic" label to these specially grown foods.
"There should be no place in organics for accepting synthetic medicines, non-
organic feed, feeding rendered animals to herbivorous livestock and permitting
animal confinement facilities," Nelson wrote.
Nelson, Young and Mellencamp were extremely critical of USDA proposals to
allow foods treated with radiation or created through genetic tinkering to be
classified as organic. Young said it was particularly outrageous that foods
fertilized with toxic sewage sludge would be certified organic under the USDA
"The proposed rule is an assault on organic family farms, a crucial part of
American agriculture that deserves to be supported and encouraged, not
destroyed," Young wrote.
In his letter, Mellencamp wrote, "Farm Aid promotes the common interests of
family farmers and consumers, but the proposed rule erodes the trust consumers
have developed in the organic label."
Farm Aid leaders urged the USDA to accept the recommendations of the National
Organic Standards Board and the Small Farms Commission in rewriting the rules.
The two panels serve as advisory boards to the USDA, but their recommendations
were largely ignored in the USDA draft rules.
Farm Aid has granted more than $14 million to family farm groups, churches,
and rural organizations since its founding in 1985.
SOURCE Farm Aid
CO: Farm Aid; U.S. Department of Agriculture
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