Bill could cause problems for East Texas farmers

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LAKEPORT, TX (KLTV) - The House of Representatives has passed a bill green-lighting more regulation and government control over the nations food supply. It's something local farmers like Oscar Steele are against.

"My daddy and my grand-daddy, both were farmers," said Steele. "I think mostly it's just another means of our current government to put more money in the government kitty and take it away from the farmer."

The bill calls for government inspections of food, before it arrives on the market. Those inspections would be paid for with a $500 annual fee.

"I am totally against this bill," said Steele. "We don't need this regulation. It's not necessary. Then, that's basically paying the government to use our own property."

Small grocers like Skinners Country Corner, who depend on local farmers for produce, sympathize with their plight.

"They're already paying for it," said Skinner. "They pay taxes on their land and now they're being asked to pay additional tax on top of tax for that land they already own. They're facing the weather, the rain and the sun, hoping they produce a profit anyway."

If the small farmers are actually put out of business, it'll force places like Skinner's to actually buy from bigger producers, and the cost will be passed down.

"We have no choice but to raise prices because of that so the consumers are going to end up paying that," said Skinner.

And, some say they will stop farming before paying any more.

"I don't want to stop farming," said Steele. "I don't want to consider this a thing of the past, but it could be with more government regulation."

The bill currently has gone to committee in the Senate for review.

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