Family Farm Defenders Presents its Fourth Annual Wisconsin “Land of 10,000 Lagoons” Awards at the World Dairy Expo! Dairy Farmers Deliver Giant “Be A Good Co-op” Postcard Signed by Hundreds of Farm Aid Concert Attendees to Land O’ Lakes Expo Reps

For Immediate Release 10/2/13

Contact:
John E. Peck, FFD executive director  #608-260-0900 or #608-345-3918
Joel Greeno, FFD vice president  #608-344-0564

Fri. Oct. 4th  11:00 am  Main Entrance to Alliant Energy Center (off Rimrock Road/Cty MM near the corner with John Nolen Dr.) in Madison, WI

For the fourth year in a row, Family Farm Defenders is proud to present its annual “Land of 10,000 Lagoons” Awards at the World Dairy Expo.  This year’s winners in three unique categories include:

Best Factory Farm Grease Skidder – prize goes to Wisconsin State Senator, Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn) for authoring a bill to preempt DNR authority and create a statewide free for all for high capacity wells!

Most Creative Waste Disposal Trick – prize goes to Wisconsin DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp, for her shameless cheerleading of aerial spraying of liquefied manure chock full of pathogens – mmmm!
Largest Potential Manure Lagoon – prize goes to GTAC and the Cline Group, proposed developers of the massive iron ore mine in the pristine Penokee Hills on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior!

In recognition of their amazing work, Family Farm Defenders will be presenting special cow pie plaques at the World Dairy Expo to this year’s distinguished awardees.

Following the Lagoon Awards ceremony, Wisconsin dairy farmer and FFD vice president, Joel Greeno, will also hand deliver a special bonus prize to one of last year’s winners – Land O’ Lakes.   He will be sharing with the dairy co-op’s board members a giant “Be A Good Co-op” postcard signed by hundreds of attendees at this year’s Farm Aid Concert as part of an ongoing campaign to restore justice to the U.S. dairy industry and guarantee farmers a fair parity price for their milk.
“The CEO of Land O’ Lakes believes that farmers only exist to serve the market.  He needs to understand that farmers work hard to pay their bills and support their families first, and only serve the market second,” noted Joel Greeno.  “Given the blatant corruption and illegal price-fixing activities of other dairy co-ops like Dairy Farmers of America and Foremost Farms, it is especially important that Land O Lakes be a good co-op leader in the dairy industry and start respecting the need of its farmer members for a fair milk price and the demand of consumers seeking a healthier safer product.”
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Hundreds Rally in Madison, WI on Sat. Aug. 10th to Oppose Fast Track and Passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)! Contact Congress NOW to Oppose TPP #202-224-3121

Hundreds of people attended the Flush the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) rally that was held in Madison, WI on Sat. Aug. 10th.  Participants included folks attending both the national Vets for Peace conference and the Democracy Convention occuring back to back that weekend in Madison.  FFD board member and organic dairy/beef farmer, Jim Goodman, was among the speakers at the rally.
Here is a link to a video of the full rally: Rally to Derail Fast Track and Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which you can watch and Share with friends, family, computer-savvy pets, and total strangers.
The latest botulism scare involved contaminated whey protein powder traded by New Zealand based Fronterra is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential food problems hurting farmers and consumers alike if the TPP is approved by Congress.  For more on this scandal: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-08-05/botulism-scare-halts-fonterra-milk-powder-sales-to-china-russia.html
Call Congress TODAY to express your opposition to Fast Track and passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)!
Congressional switchboard:  (202) 224-3121
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Special Fund Raising Appeal! Support Friends of the Central Sands in Their Historic Legal Challenge to the Richfield CAFO

It has been two years since Family Farm Defenders (FFD) joined the Friends of the Central Sands (FOCS) in challenging the construction of a large confined animal feeding operation or CAFO in the Central Sands of Wisconsin. We challenged the factory farm due to its potentially devastating consequences on local family farms, the region’s traditional farm and tourism economy, and most significantly the degradation of the region’s water quality and quantity.

The Richfield CAFO, as it is known, would initially house nearly 5,000 animals with the prospect of growing significantly larger. The dairy’s current high-capacity well permit approval caps the dairy’s annual water withdrawals at 72 million gallons, yet evidence was submitted to the WI Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that a lower amount of annual withdrawal-52 million gallons-would lower lake levels by an average of 2 inches and would reduce stream flows by 5%. The DNR stated that it did not view these reductions as a “significant adverse environmental impact.”

While recognizing and agreeing with the impact based on 52 million gallons, the DNR actually approved an amount 2.5 times that amount. This draw down has the potential to negatively impact nearby Class 1 trout streams including Fordham Creek, Little Roche-a-Cri Creek, Chaffee Creek, and Tagatz Creek and their associated riparian wetland habitat. Additional research has shown that pumping at the rate of 131 million gallons per year will reduce stream volumes in some sections by 10% or more. Of more significance however is the impact of the permitting process and reviewing these applications in consideration of other high capacity wells in the same general area which have proven to cause negative impacts on lakes, streams, wetlands and other private wells.

While each of our three law suits is designed to provide increased environmental protection and oversight, our suit concerning the high capacity wells is aimed at forcing the DNR to put into practice what the Wisconsin Supreme Court directed the DNR to take into account, when they permit big wells, anywhere in the state, how the lakes and streams in the area will be affected by the high- capacity wells. Up until now the DNR has never approached high capacity wells this way. This irresponsibility is not due to the DNR’s lack of scientific knowledge or technical ability; it is one of political will and the lack of clear direction from the courts. We and many others believe this legal challenge may be the best opportunity to protect ground water quantity and quality in Wisconsin, whether it be for family farms, domestic wells, or aquatic ecosystems.

Friends of the Central Sands is leading the effort to stop this proposed Richfield dairy and has filed several suits in response to the DNR’s approval of the CAFO’s permits.  These suits address three key components; the production site plans and specifications, the WPDES permit which outlines the spreading of the waste on thousands of nearby acres, and the high capacity wells.

Our goal is that our legal challenges will put an end to the current out of control drilling of new high capacity wells and lack oversight of CAFOs in the Central Sands region of Wisconsin, result in a reassessment of how groundwater is used and regulated in the state of Wisconsin, and ensure that CAFOs are subject to reasonable limits in their operations and manure-spreading.

With your assistance we will continue to lead the way in saving the magnificent waters of Wisconsin.  This fight is no longer about a single CAFO but has wide reaching impacts affecting the way industrial agriculture dominates decision processes to the detriment of other citizens and family farmers.

To date we have prevented, for now, the drilling of the two high capacity wells requested by Richfield Dairy and thus the construction of the CAFO and resulting nutrient pollution. However, costs are mounting daily and after two years our small organization is not able to support these challenges alone as we continue to seek change.

FFD has provided much needed logistics assistance but it is time to seek financial assistance for the Friends of the Central Sands, as well.  We are reaching out to you for a onetime special appeal.

Will you please consider a $25.00 tax deductible donation or perhaps a $10.00 per month pledge?  FOCS is a 501(c)3 organization based in Coloma WI.

You can donate by visiting: www.FriendsofCS.org or by sending a check to:

Friends of the Central Sands, PO Box 56, Coloma, WI  54930

Your help is much needed and appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bob Clarke, FOCS board member

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Family Farm Defenders Joins Worldwide March Against Monsanto – Sat. May 25th 1:00 pm CST

For those who may have missed this fantastic event, here is a great YouTube video with photos from all around the world!
Here in Madison we had a very inspirational speak out and spirited march yesterday that lasted for several hours right after the Dane County Farmers Market.  You can watch a YouTube video of the Madison, WI march here:

http://youtu.be/MvaR_7mOCDw
Thanks to all the thousands of grassroots organizers and participants who spoke truth to corporate power in defense of humanity, other species, and mother earth herself.

For immediate release

5/24/13

Contact:

John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders  608-345-3918

Sat. March 25th 1:00 pm State St. corner WI State Capitol

Family Farm Defenders members will be joining the worldwide March Against Monsanto scheduled for Sat. March 25th.  Events are planned in 250 cities around the globe in 36 different countries, including actions in 47 states across the U.S. all occurring simultaneously at 11:00 am PST/12:00 Noon MST/1:00 pm CST/2:00 pm EST.

One of several Wisconsin March Against Monsanto actions will be happening in Madison at the conclusion of the Dane County Farmers Market with a speak-out and march beginning at 1:00 pm at the State St. corner.  Speakers include organic dairy farmers and FFD board members, Jim & Rebecca Goodman, who recently wrote an oped against Monsanto featured below.

Rumor has it that a replica of Monsanto’s latest biotech sweet corn variety will be making an appearance at the Dane County Farmers Market.  At the Madison, WI event consumers will also have the opportunity to dump dangerous unlabelled genetically engineered food products into a garbage can for proper disposal.

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Don’t Believe the Lies, Monsanto Won’t Feed the World

By:  Jim Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer near Wonewoc, WI and Board Member of Family Farm Defenders

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth” and the food industry, specifically, the Genetically Modified (GM) food industry has been telling a series of whoppers for decades.

These “big lies” do not benefit society, on the contrary they diminish the common good. They drive people into poverty, injure, kill and foster genocide. Lies are seldom victimless. We have been told GM can feed the world, but it is a lie.

As Steve Smith head of Novartis noted in 2000, GM will not feed the world, —- that takes political and financial will.

There is political will all right, but it is a political will to promote corporate profit above all else. Corporations, we are told, are people, very special people, people whose profit  counts for more than “real” people, or the planet.

Perhaps more importantly, feeding the world will take farmers who rely on their own skills and knowledge of their land. Farmers who know what crops are best suited to their environs, and their culture. The world will be fed by crop diversity and personal connections to the land, not a GM mono-culture.

For over 30 years the world has been lied to consistently and very effectively by the “university-industrial complex”.  Many university researchers were and still are, true believers in the “promise” of GM technology. The promise to feed the world and protect the environment. Many work with the best of intentions, at least in their way of thinking, or in their way of rationalizing.

University administrations believe in GM technology, if for no other reason than it is a mechanism for pulling millions of dollars in research money into their institutions– and in the real world, research will be done on what pays, not necessarily what is just, right, or actually works. Researchers like Jonas Salk, who had little interest in personal profit, are few and far between.

Prior to WWII farming, world-wide, was nearly equivalent to what we now know as Organic Farming. There were few synthetic crop or livestock chemicals, antibiotics were used judiciously, farmers relied on seed saving and a knowledge base that was developed over generations.

Agricultural chemicals were, in essence, the result of converting war time chemical production into agricultural chemical production. The real demand was for a means to continue a profitable industry. Fertilizers and pesticides replaced explosives and war time chemicals and agriculture became the new market.

True, food production (both in acreage and yield) did increase, but that increased yield depended on increasing applications of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. More seeds, more fertilizer, more pesticides. Monsanto and their bio-tech counterparts are now reshaping food production into an industrial process, one that few governments can or will challenge.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the “People’s Department” seems inclined to push the corporate agenda of Agribusiness, not the people’s agenda. While the public asks for food that is just, green, fair and healthy, their needs are secondary to increasing corporate profit.  Labeling GM food? Forget it.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) responsibility to protect the public health and regulate the safety of food has been severely compromised by a succession of “revolving door” administrative appointments of former industry executives. Once regulations favorable to the GM and agricultural chemical industry are in place, they revolve back to their highly profitable industry positions.

The mission of the US Department of State is “To create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community”.  How does their aggressive strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology fit into that mission? How does promoting corporate profit over culturally appropriate and sustainable agriculture make the international community more prosperous or promote Food Sovereignty?

“It would take an act of Congress” to change the situation, but clearly, that is unlikely as corporate lobbyists and corporate campaign donations have swayed most of Congress to be more inclined to support corporate wishes rather than the good of the people.

By including  the “farmer assurance provision”, or “The Monsanto Protection Act” in the Appropriations Committee continuing resolution, Congress has, used “an act of Congress”, to prevent the federal courts from halting the planting of GM crops if they are reassessing the USDA’s approval protocol, environmental or safety concerns.

So, there you have it, all three branches of the government are, in effect, in the pocket of the bio-tech industry.

While Monsanto has a history of riding roughshod over public opinion and the ability to get their way in Washington, they have also become the symbol of corporate domination. In their case it is domination, perhaps even ownership of the food system in America.

Corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, their patented genes are found in nearly all processed food. While Monsanto routinely sues farmers for patent infringement, farmers who do not plant GM crops bear all responsibility for protecting their crops from GM contamination.

The International  March Against Monsanto is May 25th. Food should be controlled by farmers and consumers, not corporations. Governments seem unwilling to act, so grassroots action is all we have. March against Monsanto May 25. Reject corporate ownership of the food system every day, don’t believe the lies.

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Family Farmers and Allies Converge on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to Mark La Via Campesina’s International Day of Peasant Struggle – Call Upon the U.S. Congress to Reject the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Demand the U.S. Dept of Justice (DoJ) Take Anti-Trust Action Against Corrupt Food Giants, and Reassert the Right of Food Sovereignty For ALL!

For Immediate Release 4/16/13
Contact:
John E. Peck, Family Farm Defenders, #608-260-0900
Josh Wise, Illinois Fair Trade Coalition, #952-818-5474

Fri. April 19th  12:00 Noon  Protest & Leaflet, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 141 W. Jackson

Fri. April 19th    5:30 pm  Potluck & Forum, Jane Adams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted

To mark Via Campesina’s International Day of Peasant Struggle, family farmers and their allies will once again converge on the doorstep of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) – 141 W. Jackson – at Noon on Fri. April 19th to expose the rampant price fixing by commodity speculators that is behind the ongoing global food crisis.  Last year on May 23rd thousands of angry citizens turned up inside and outside the CME annual shareholders meeting to demand greater social responsibility from Chicago’s most lucrative corporation, which posted $1.9 billion in profits in 2011 while receiving millions in local, state, and federal tax cuts.

Dairy farmers in particular will be calling upon the Dept. of Justice (DoJ) to take action against the food giants – including corrupt dairy cooperatives such as Dairy Farmer of America (DFA)  and Land of Lakes – that are continuing to defy anti-trust laws and manipulate markets at the CME for their own gain.  In March DFA settled out of court, paying $46 million over charges it rigged milk future contracts and cheese spot call contracts at the CME back in 2004.  This is the second antitrust settlement DFA has reached this year.  In January, DFA payed $158 million to settle a separate price-fixing class action lawsuit accusing the co-op along with Dean Foods and others of fixing fluid milk prices across the Southeast and ripping off dairy farmers.
There will also be a public speak out against the latest round of forced trade deals being pushed by the Obama administration such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that will hurt farmers, workers, and consumers for the sake of greater corporate profits.  To visualize the threat posed by the TPP, protesters intend to dump a sack of imported Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) on a hapless U.S. dairy farmer.  MPC is imported into the U.S. as an industrial grade ingredient to make glue and has not been approved or tested by the FDA for use in human food.  Nonetheless, U.S. dairy giants are now lobbying to pass the TPP in order to increase unregulated MPC imports from the corrupt co-op, Fronterra, based in New Zealand, to undercut the prices paid for fresh fluid milk to U.S. dairy farmers.   Fronterra has also been implicated in the global scandal involving distribution of adulterated dairy byproducts such as infant formula laced with toxic melamine.

Additionally, the global corporate elite seeks to further undermine good paying jobs for US workers. TPP countries include Vietnam and Brunei, where independent unions are illegal and sweatshop labor is rampant.   In Vietnam wages are only $2 a day and it is referred to as the low cost labor alternative to China. Not only will the TPP be detrimental to US workers, but it will likely continue in the steps of NAFTA, which dislocated millions of small farmers and workers in devloping countries, and fueled the US immigration crisis. Indeed, the TPP will likely only accelerate the global race to the bottom on wages, environmental and consumer protection.

For more on the insidious behind the scenes shenanigans at the CME, visit:  http://familyfarmers.org/?p=271

For more on how trade deals like the TPP hurt farmers, workers, and consumers visit:
http://familyfarmers.org/?p=687

From 5:30 – 7:30 pm on Fri. April 19th, Family Farm Defenders and allies will also be hosting a local food potluck and open community forum on Reclaiming Our Food Sovereignty!  Come learn more about Via Campesina and the struggle for food sovereignty and economic justice at home and abroad with updates on the “Idle No More Campaign” led by Native Peoples against destructive resource extraction such as open pit iron mines and tar sands pipelines in the Great Lakes region; the Farm Labor Reality Tour from Maine to Florida in support of justice for immigrant tomato pickers, as well as the Land O Fakes cooperate accountability campaign to demand a fair milk price for family dairy farmers.   This event will be held at the Jane Adams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St.  The public is welcome to attend.

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