Now They Are Targeting the Amish

Now They Are Targeting the Amish
An Amish farmer works on his field near Paradise, Pa., in a file photo. (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeffrey A. Tucker
3/1/2024
Updated:
3/4/2024
0:00
Commentary

In January, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raided the Amos Miller Organic Farm, a longtime members-only organic farm in Lancaster County. Government agents took possession of many tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of food that had been produced on the farm for family and friends, people who rely on this farm for high-quality products that avoid factory methods, chemicals, and industrial processes.

This is the kind of food that many people around the country would love to buy but cannot because of the industrial cartels that control production and distribution in this country. Residents of Amish country are wildly fortunate to have such options, particularly as it pertains to raw milk products, which are widely considered to be more nutritious and delicious than processed milk. However, that truth is censored very heavily by YouTube, as part of the general censorship regime in operation now.

Food safety regulations seem like they are an attempt to protect the consumer. The darker truth behind the entire history of this regulation is that it is designed to prop up certain industries at the expense of others. In particular, traditional farms have long been a target of such regulation, which often makes the mainline food supply less healthy and even dangerous.

For many decades, regulators have carved out a special exemption for the Amish, who have been allowed to go about their business provided they do not reach a critical mass of consumers. But that is starting to change. As ever more people have grown gravely suspicious of what the regulators are pushing, more people are trading with traditional farms that sell organic produce and fresh eggs and milk.

One might suppose that in a country that presumably values free enterprise, this would not be a problem. Truth is that the regulators have been lying in wait for an opportunity to crack down. And that time seems finally to have arrived. The Amos Miller farm has been disabled, even though its methods of producing food are no different from those used for thousands of years and in fact built this country when it was largely agricultural.

This problem affects the whole of the food supply. The state departments of agriculture are mere foot soldiers for the USDA, which has been vexing the Miller farm since 2016, along with every other independent farmer in the country.

As Thomas Massie has long pointed out and attempted to fix, you simply cannot get your product to market without using USDA processors, which are expensive, few and far between, and less capable than independent sources. Again, it really is an outrage that this is happening in a country built by yeoman farmers providing for their communities.

Let’s just take a step back and look at the big picture here. I feel a certain passion for this subject because, quite frankly, I have long been wrong about this. I used to laugh derisively at the crunchy liberals who insisted on natural this and natural that, believing it to be nothing but an affectation of the rich who did not understand the vast food needs of a giant population. I fully believed that mass industrialized and regulated (and probably subsidized) production was just what was required for the modern age. I suspect that many people bought into the propaganda, just like I did.

I had placed the defense of independent farming and organic methods solidly on the left. So it is hilarious and ridiculous to me that it is now considered a pet issue of the “far right.” It’s utterly absurd: To defend the right to raise and sell food is not an issue of the left or right. It is a matter of human rights.

Aside from that, I actually did some reading on food production, only to discover that industrial methods and mass subsidies contribute to ill health of the population. This revelation was slow to dawn, but it takes only a bit of looking to discover that vast amounts of retail food is all about getting rid of the excesses of the industrial system. That’s why everything contains corn syrup, why the cows are fed corn, and why grains are stuffed into every product possible, while healthy food is rare and expensive.

It doesn’t have to be this way, I came to realize. Regular traditional farming not only provides for population needs, as it always has, but also has the benefit of being vastly healthier. It has been put at a huge disadvantage thanks to government regulations. Independent farms barely survived, and now with their growing popularity, government is determined to shut them down.

What finally flipped me on the question was the government’s response to COVID. Everything they asked us to do was the opposite of what we should have done. They kept the liquor and weed stores open while shutting down AA meetings, gyms, and independent groceries. They moved sick patients into nursing homes. They forced ventilators and pharma products on people who simply needed sunshine and traditional therapeutics. They made it impossible to get proven drugs while forcing everyone to take the experimental misnamed vaccine.

For that matter, they forced the whole population into masks that reduced the ability to breathe and get oxygen and thereby made people vastly sicker. When it turned out that the shot came with terrible side effects and death, they did nothing. In fact, government agencies hid the evidence of harm from the public.

So you have to ask yourself a fundamental question. Do we want these same people in charge of farming, ranching, food quality, and food distribution? The answer is no. In fact, there is a very long history of food regulation being used to ruin the food supply. Every bit of government involvement that overrides the decisions of producers and consumers has contributed more to ill health of the population.

When I was growing up, I was subjected to the government’s evil food pyramid that privileged grains and demonized meat and eggs. It took decades for genuine scientists and nutritionists to debunk that nonsense. The war on eggs, for example, was completely misguided. Presumably everyone knows that now. But even today, the United States is one of the few countries in the world that requires retail sales of eggs to include washing off the membrane outside the eggs. That’s why this country is one of the few in the world in which eggs have to be refrigerated!

Look, this huge problem dates far back in history. Back in 1906, the federal government first got involved in regulating meat quality, and the problems began immediately. Inspectors used a “poke and sniff” method of checking for rancid meat that was proven to spread disease. This idiotic method persisted for many decades after it had been affirmed to be unsafe.

It also turned out that the main lobbying forces for meat inspections were the dominant suppliers in the industry. They were attempting to drive up the cost of compliance as a method of competing and cartel creation.

An Amish farmer uses a horse-drawn harrow in a field on his farm near Wilson, Wisc., in a file photo. (Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images)
An Amish farmer uses a horse-drawn harrow in a field on his farm near Wilson, Wisc., in a file photo. (Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images)

What will save the food supply in this country is less government oversight and bullying and more of the free market that the Amish practice. It is highly dangerous for government powers to be deployed in harassing these people and thus further poisoning the food supply. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong on this subject for most of my writing career. But the COVID response taught me a thing or two. I learned that we cannot trust government oversight in any aspect of human health, particularly not that which affects our food.

And it’s not only about food. It’s also about religious freedom. Groups such as the Amish and so many others have thrived in the United States thanks to religious freedom. Their lifestyle and food choices are part of that. Take that away and you remove the whole guts of the whole basis of the American experience. It’s that serious.

Meanwhile, as government goes after raw milk, vast numbers suffer real injury from mRNA shots the government forced on millions of people. Pharma’s stocks continue to trade at high levels while true investigations get little attention by the captured corporate media outlets.

The Amos Miller Organic Farm deserves every passionate defense from anyone who values health and freedom. Make no mistake. The war on the organic farm is a war on all of us and only to the industrial benefit of large producers tightly connected to the cartel that runs agriculture in this country. The entire regulatory empire needs to be completely deregulated in the interest of the health and well-being of everyone.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently “Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.
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