New Federal Rules May Hurt Small Farmers

Simon Russell, a small farmer and member of the board of agriculture, sat down with Joe Kent as a part of The Grassroot Institute with Keli’i Akina, a radio show on KAOI 1110AM Maui.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was introduced in 2014, and it gives the FDA authority to introduce new regulations for the purpose of food safety. Although its intentions are noble, many fear the added regulations will end up hurting small farmers.

In an attempt to protect them, the FDA has excluded smaller farms — those that have profits under $20,000 a year–however, Simon believes “Insurance companies won’t recognize that because it’s too risky to cover non-FSMA compliant farmers.”

One of the new rules requires farmers to track their product from “seed to sale.” As Simon pointed out, it will likely take “six or seven log books,” and farmers can expect to hire a new employee, “If your profit margin isn’t high enough, it’ll probably put you out of business.”

As small businesses struggle to cope with new regulations, large farms can absorb the costs. “It’s gonna cause monopolies in the supply chain,” said Simon, “The big corporations that have the ability to comply will be the de facto producers in our food supply chain, and that’s the saddest part. The incentive to be a farmer is going to get lower and lower, and we’re probably gonna see a lot of small family producers go out of business unless we do something.”

Listen to the full interview here:


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