I am sorry to hear you had such a bad year, especially when you say this at 70. It seems in the past 10 years that something has really changed (for the worse for Farmers). So we did write to Farmers Legal Action Group http://www.flaginc.org/
about the problem (we are looking for a legal definition).
and are waiting to hear back from them (and hopefully you can write them too, and/or tell your Farmer friends about FLAG). Hopefully if enough people write to them, something good can come of it and us real Farmers can survive. I thank you for that nice compliment about the farm, I agree it is my heaven and I want to keep it.
here is what we told Flag:
What is the definition of a Farmer???
I am confused, perplexed, offended, and... bordering on angry!?
But,above all, I am a Farmer!!!
I would like to know what the legal definition is, where I can find it;
as to what a Farmer is. I see a lot of, I feel, misrepresentation and abuse of the word Farmer. I see Farmers Markets at any given day and location.
Looking closely, most, in the case of multiple venders markets, I do
not see if any, only a few Farmers. What there is, is Market Gardeners, Food Distributors, Retail businesses, etc, representing themselves and or
their interests as Farmers. This is also happening in Grocery stores,
through the use of small stands inside and at times outside the store fronts, advertising as a Farmers. I have also seen recently, a large food distributor advertising Farmers Market goods as part of their sales
list. In the items listed in their Farmers Market section, there are a few
farm direct items, most are from medium to large name brand food processors/suppliers. Yes, given most of the ingredients originate from a farm(s), they are no way farm fresh or direct.
In the case of the local Farmers Markets, there are not only vendors as mentioned above, there is represented various arts and crafts that are not farm or farm related. Also retail products (ingredients) are purchased by
a consumer/vender/member of market are processed, repackaged and sold.
As far as I understand, according to the occupation I state to the IRS
when filing taxes, I am a Farmer. My main source of income is
generated from the product(s) I produce myself on the farm. Also I have a farm registration
number, a feed lot permit, and a National Animal Identification Premises
A farmer is a steward of the land, a breeder and grower of
livestock and a planter, cultivator and grower of crops. It would be very foolish and self defeating for a farmer(and I must say family farmer) to misuse, abuse, or neglect the very thing that is our sustenance, our livelihood. From the many laws, codes, regulations and licensing guidelines imposed, there are very few and very limited products I can direct market to the consumer from the farm. It has in some areas gone behind the point of being cost prohibitive, to, monetary loss is the only gain.
I can not legally represent myself as...a doctor, a lawyer, or any other
person in a field/profession but that of my own. How is it possible that
so many entities can say/represent themselves as Farmers? Is this, as I
have stated throughout, not misrepresentation through advertising and
sales,also misleading the public and consumer, by the use of fraudulent advertising and sales practices?
What is the definition of, and where are the laws that protect me as a farmer, from the misuse of my title?