The New York Times ran a piece on Friday from Greenwire.com about the reaction of small farmers to the handful of bills in Congress right now (HR 875 just one of them) that (if passed) will increase regulation of farming. The way they're written now, that may include small farms that don't fit the monocrop industrial agriculture model - the very model that's contributed to the necessity of legislation to protect consumers.
Many small farmers are concerned about the bills' apparent lack of awareness of the potential impact of the eventual regulations on the small farm. Small farms are diverse: some are miniature industrial-style single-product agriculture farms, and many are very diversified, raising animals, growing vegetables, and all in great variety. For such diversified farms, labor-intensive work to comply with regulations could overburden the business and put them under.
While I do believe there is a definite need for food safety plans and accountability for implementing them, I want to see the legislation incorporate scale-specific language that indicates a fundamental understanding of how small-scale diversified farms and sustainable farming function. Make sure that small farms won't be crushed under the burden of implementing food safety. Let's work toward the larger vision of a diversified, healthy, community-based food system with small farms as the backbone.