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Florida voters curtail factory hog farms, Organic certification cost share program

(Thursday, Nov. 11, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- The following two items come from the Defenders Rural Updates.


On Tuesday, November 5th, Florida voters effectively curtailed the expansion of some factory farms into their state by approving a landmark measure outlawing the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows. Gestation crates are two foot wide metal enclosures where pregnant female pigs at factory farms are kept. Factory farmed sows endure as many as ten pregnancies in gestation crates, which are so small the sows cannot turn around. This important victory will prevent industrial hog factories that use gestation crates from ever moving into the state. The measure will have little or no effect on Florida's existing hog farmers, as no large-scale industrial operations are currently located in the state. Instead, passage will prevent the harm to rural communities and to the environment that industrial hog operations bring with them. The ban is a boon to the state's wildlife, which is critically important because Florida is home to 117 species that are considered threatened, endangered, or of special concern, the third highest concentration of such species in any state.


According to the November 1, 2002 federal register, "The Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) has allocated $5 million to the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. This program provides financial assistance to organic crop or livestock producers and handlers "to become certified under the National Organic Standards program." The money will be available to "all interested states" but states must apply before the December 31, 2002 deadline to become eligible. Once eligible states can allocate up to $500 (or 75% of costs) to their individual producers to offset costs of certification. Contact your state agriculture department today and make sure they are beginning the application process. States wanting to participate should contact Robert Pooler, Marketing Specialist - National Organic Program to obtain necessary applications and information. He can be reached at (202) 720-3252 or email bob.pooler@usda.gov To read the announcement from the federal registry see: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/StatePrograms/CostShare.html