Lay of the Land (Land for the Lay!)

American farmers lay claim to providing the safest and most abundant food supply throughout the world.  In a culture of food fear, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), animal antibiotic use, and gluten and dairy free concern all consumers.  What reassures consumers of food safety?  Moms, chefs, foodies, celebrity health experts ask the million dollar question?  Do farmers face safety regulations for crops and livestock?

Your answer?  YES.  Farmers face regulations from livestock site regulations to water reporting and the latest change in Waters of the United States.

Antibiotic Use: Farmers like southern Edgar County farmer Tom Ogle and Delmar Bell use antibiotics for their beef cattle responsibly.  Why use antibiotics?  Like in humans, farmers use antibiotics to cure infection in sick animals.  Government regulations regulate that antibiotics in animals be used not for “production” purposes, but to “prevent, control or treat illnesses in food-producing animals under the supervision of a veterinarian.” In other words, antibiotics are supervised and distributed by veterinarians to cure infections in sick animals.

Livestock regulations:  Ever heard of the Livestock Facilities Management Act in our great state?  Before farmers begin to build new facilities for hogs, cattle, or poultry, Illinois law gives farmers guidelines on how far back they must build from any residence, waste regulations for animals and public information meetings for the public.

In addition to these regulations, farmers also comply with the Clean Water Act to keep drinking water safe, report water usage, and follow regulations based on science for biotechnology.  I highlighted just a few issues farmers follow.  In addition to these regulations, farmers voluntarily best practices to farm to remove both nitrates and phosphates from water.

Family farmers account for 98% of all farms in Illinois.  Interested in our process?  If you need more interactive views, visit www.watchusgrow.org.  Here, Chicago moms tour Illinois farms and meet Illinois Farm Families.  Chicago moms ask Illinois farmers questions about seed choices, humane treatment of animals, and even Monsanto.  Your biggest reassurance lies in family farmers: Farmers grow safe and healthy food for their family and yours.

And if you still question farmers’ integrity and commitment to the land?  Visit a place such as China where they regulate food in propaganda only.  Firsthand I experienced health effects of unregulated standards of food.  If you ate today, thank your nearest American farmer!

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