Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Eye-Opening Meeting

A few weeks ago, I went to my first Cowichan Agricultural Society meeting. (CAS for short). What an eye opener that was! There are things that are going on behind the scenes in our wonderful country that people need to know about, and we need to get informed about. Yet, most people (myself included) are not even aware we need to be aware!
The two things that really stand out to me are these: 
1. The government, in all their wisdom, wants to start metering the water we take out of our own wells. I get that we all need to conserve, and watch how much water we are using. The last two summers have taught me that much! BUT, as a farmer, we make so little money as it is, now we have to not only PAY to have the wells dug and maintained, but then have to continue to pay for what we need to make a living? There is also some other issue to do with selling water rights on your land to another user. I have forgotten the details of that, but it didn't sound so friendly, either. My take is this: we need water to survive. If you are in the city, and the city has paid to get water to your home, then paying for what you use is acceptable. Water is a necessity of life. We need it. The government does NOT own the groundwater. The people as a whole own the groundwater, and we should have a say in how it is used.

2. The government also wants to track each and every animal we have on our farms. I can understand a bit, as there have been problems with egg recalls (salmonella) and beef recently. These recalls have originated with those so called 'farmers' who have feed lots, and caged birds. I've never heard of a person getting sick or dying from a home-grown, healthily raised animal from a small farm. Tracking each and every chicken and duck would put even more financial pressure on the small farmer, more paperwork, more time, when really what the government needs to do is crack down on the business' that raise their animals in an unhealthy way. Caged chickens that barely have enough room to turn around in, and cows crammed into a feed lot, being fed unhealthy corn and living in their own feces. It seems to me that the government needs to separate feed lot operations from the small farmer, and have different rules and regulations for both. It just doesn't make sense to lump us all in together.

So, I ended up joining the CAS, and will be attending every meeting I can get to throughout the year. I feel a growing need to get informed, and maybe even be a voice for doing what is right, and taking action for raising and growing our food in as a natural and healthy way as possible.

I sort of feel like my life may be turning in directions I have never even considered, and being informed of these issues can only help me in my new farming way of life.

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Flooded Driveway

Flooded Driveway
Too much RAIN!