Farmers’ Bill of Rights meeting Aug. 14 |

Farmers’ Bill of Rights meeting Aug. 14

California State Grange President Bob McFarland will conduct a Town Hall meeting at the Banner Grange from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 14.

The topic of discussion will be the creation of a Farmers’ Bill of Rights to be presented to our legislators, food advocates and consumers are encouraged to attend the meeting. Admission is free. The Grange is located at 12629 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.

McFarland has been touring the state to get feedback from as many Grangers as possible. The tour began in April in Paso Robles, where the round-table meeting launched “like a Roman candle,” according to those present.

The discussion included regulatory challenges, feed lot versus free range livestock, market “cheaters,” imported versus California grown, water, GMOs, backyard chickens, USDA inspectors, pesticides, small ag vs. big ag, education and more.

The Farmers’ Bill of Rights is a declaration supporting agricultural professionals and enthusiasts.

“Farming is an essential part of every healthy community,” McFarland said. “It is important that consumers, retailers and regulators understand and respect the needs and expectations of the people who grow our food. The Farmers’ Bill of Rights will promote awareness and appreciation for the tillers of the soil.”

The bill of rights demonstrates the Grange’s strong support and advocacy for the farmers of California. Thus far, discussions at the public meetings have produced a list of common concerns facing farmers. The growing list for the Farmers’ Bill of Rights includes:

• A farmer has the right to provide access to fresh fruits, vegetables and products to encourage healthier food choices at home and in schools.

• A farmer has the right to use and store any water that comes from or falls on their land.

• A farmer has the right to grow crops without danger of pollution from off-farm sources, whether that pollution be genetic or chemical, borne by water, soil or air.

• A farmer has the right to germinate, save and use their own seed.

• A farmer has the right to protect agricultural land.

• A farmer has the right to produce safe and healthy food free of overreaching government interference.

The ideas presented during the round-table discussions will evolve into a Grange-sponsored Farmers’ Bill of Rights, a declaration of support for California agriculture to be unveiled this Fall. The Grange has previously sponsored the Industrial Hemp bill that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and they are promoting a bill that would require manufacturers to label GMO modified food.

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