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Everything I want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin

February 4, 2010 by  

Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, began farming as a teenager with the goal of milking 10 cows by hand. That would earn him $1,000 per cow per year, not a bad living for teenager in the late 70s.

But there was one problem. It was illegal. Virginia, like many states, had banned the sale of raw milk.

Salatin writes, “Even if we were to move forward with cheese or some milk product, we would still need a license and inspected facility. A friend who ran a Grade A dairy wanted to make cheese. But by the time he installed all the required machinery and hardware, it would have cost them (sic) $100,000 to make one pound of cheese. End of dream. He continues to struggle, barely making ends meet. I’d love to buy his cheese, even if he made it in the kitchen sink. And that’s important to understand.”

In the book Salatin laments the demise of the local farmer’s market due to government health regulations and the bureaucratic minefield that is designed to stifle innovation and benefit the large agricultural-industrial complex at the expense of the small farmer.

Continuing the story mentioned above, Salatin writes about how ideas start small and grow from there if they are good ideas. But government regulations—local, state and federal—are so onerous that the ideas are never given a chance.

“How do I know if I have a cheese that people will want unless I can experiment with a few pounds and try to sell some to folks? How do I know I have a decent ice cream until I make some and sell to taste testers? Innovation demands embryonic births. The problem is that complying with all these codes required that even the prototype must be too big to be birthed. In reality then, what we have are still-birth dreams because the mandated accoutrements are too big,” Salatin writes.

Salatin uses humor and common sense and tells his story of years of trying to figure out how to comply with the onerous regulations that have hampered his ability to farm in an ecologically sound, environmentally friendly, financially sound way. He covers all aspects of the effects of bureaucracy on his operation, including how the regulations change depending on the bureaucrat enforcing them. And oftentimes, Salatin writes, complying with the regulations not only makes no sense, it affects the quality of the food being produced.

Filled with personal accounts of Salatin’s experiences over the years, this book is an entertaining view of the life of an American farmer. It will give you a new perspective on your ideas about whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking out for the consumer, or looking out for somebody else.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • AnhydrousBob

    It is a sad state of affairs that the citizens look to the government for protection. The government cannot protect us, and our belief that it can gives us a false sense of security. How many food recall can you remember over the years? We go to the grocery store and assume everything is on the up and up because we believe we have rules to protect us.

    What if those rules didn’t exist? Would it really be the chaos we are led to expect? Or rather, would the grocer (or even big grocery) do extra diligence to make sure his food was “clean” and would he not scrutinize his suppliers to make sure they were doing the same? Wouldn’t the suppliers be vigilant to ensure the producers were constantly monitoring their products. Everyone would want to stay in business, and everyone would know they could no longer blame a government agency (who, when implicated, never really pays for damages – like the aforementioned parties).

    Now, will this create an environment where nothing ever goes wrong? Of course not, there is no such thing as a utopia. But if every one along the chain was diligent to provide safe food, even if for their own benefit, wouldn’t that be safer than the way it is now. And with each one doing their own quality control, it would remove a big cost of having quality done by an inefficient government and replace it with a smaller incremental cost at each level.

    And there is already some quality done at each level. I expect there are quite a few times when a grocer gets in something and immediately calls the supplier and questions the quality. But now, the answer is, well, THEY passed it, so it must be OK.

    Wouldn’t the other scenario be safer?

  • Flynn

    Mr. Salatin’s problem is exactly the reason the United States of America is facing the economic and deficit problems it is facing now. My career as a chemist has paralleled the passage and signing into law of the Environmental Protection Act and the regulatory agency that followed. After the Act was signed into law in 1970, I saw how the chemical industry immediately tried to respond and comply with the many regulations which subsequently came out of that Agency. It didn’t take many years before the managers realized that there was no way to comply without it affecting their bottom line; therefore, they began to look for alternatives: closing manufacturing plants, moving plants to China and other places with less strict laws and less costly labor. Mr. Salatin’s experience in farming is not only true in that area, but it is true in other areas of society as well. Until this trend is reversed, there is little hope of a significant economic recovery in these United States. Young people better get use to their Walmart-and-McDonalds-tyoe jobs for some time because, increasingly, that is all that will be available.

  • Stock Biltson

    If George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were around today and were told they would have to get a “license” to fish…There would be another revolution.

  • ray

    It seem death is the only solution al all the others have been regulated out of existance {dead}

  • http://Don'thaveone Sally

    All is true – however, remember follow the money trail. Things like diet sodas that use aspertain, equal, and the fact sweatners (not Spenda which is made from sugar nor Frutose) that cause all kinds of problems, red slime that is put in pre-packaged hamburger, plus most of the hamburgers you buy from Mc Donalds, and the like – none of this has been taken off the shelves – because of money. I could go on and on. The same is true of the FDA – who needs them – it just adds to the price.

  • Earlw

    Dear Sally…Great little comment on sweeteners, Only one omission! You have fallen for the advertising hype about Splenda. It is a chemical called SUCRALOSE and may have had sugar as a start, But when an a molecule of chlorine, a deadly poison is added, it becomes an EXCITOTOXIN no different than aspartame! Do diligent research before making comments….

    • AnhydrousBob

      I would not have said anything, except you were quite condescending to Sally.

      While I, too, am of the opinion that natural compounds may become dangerous when adultered (sugar/sucralose) you appeared to indicate that the danger comes from the chlorine molecule itself. This is not necessarily true as table salt, containing sodium and chlorine has no inherent danger by containing the chlorine. And the sodium atom present in table salt will react violently with water, but is essential for animal life as we know it. The danger comes not necessarily because a molecule contains a particular atom, but may be in the way the chlorine molecule is attached and therefore available for reactions.

      I don’t even know what an EXCITOTOXIN is.

      • Scott Brown

        Anhydrous: However phrased, Earlw is correct, and recommending Splenda as an sugar alternative may be a serious a mistake. If you actually don’t know what an excitotoxin is, you really owe it to yourself to find out. MSG is classified as an exitotoxin (hence the merry marketeers of food labeling have renamed it, its precursors and its chemical cousins with so many legal alternate designations you can’t tell that you’re consuming it). Aspartame under all its trade names is an exitotoxin (there are about 70 of them out there). It is astounding that excitoxins are even permitted in foods. From Biology-Online dot org:


        (Science: protein) class of substances that damage neurons through paroxysmal overactivity. They are toxins that bind to certain receptors (e.g., certain glutamate receptors) and may cause neuronal cell death.

        The best known excitotoxins are the excitatory amino acids, that can produce lesions in the cNS similar to those of Huntingdon’s chorea or alzheimers disease.

        Excitotoxicity is thought to contribute to neuronal cell death associated with stroke.

        • AnhydrousBob

          Thanks, Scott, for the definition of Excitotoxin.

          My point for Earlw was not against what he was saying – you’ll note I agreed that certain substances probably were dangerous – but that his reasons were not scientific. And I gave him an example.

          He was condescending to sally in telling her to research before posting – so I figured what was good for the goose is good for the gander :)

          • Vic Bailey, Auburn, Georgia

            One last short statment to all the people that have a little common sense, Just remember our bodies work a lot better than masking drugs, but we have to make them. Women of the olden days never died of smallpox because they were milking cows that had cowpox and the women became immune. Most of what we need is better in natural form, but the FDA and the government has taken it on themselves to say what is good for us, and that is to line their pockets with money from worthless regulations. Why do you all think that country people are healthier that city people? Look it up.

          • SiliconDoc

            I think country people are healthier because they aren’t living in a hacking, germ doused mass swarm of inner city libtards spewing their diseases about in one big pile of wretch at close proximity 24/7/365 – not to mention the imported disease ridden illegals and squatters from the netherworld regions of the earth.
            Yeah, that’s why.

  • Kenneth

    Dear Bob,I am unable to save the article as you do not have a Print command.

  • thefedupamerican

    Everytime the government sticks its nose into the private market this kind of destruction occurs.

  • don

    I wonder …
    One of our Texas favorite sons in baseball, Nolan Ryan has recently posted a TV add endorsing Kaye Bailey Hutchenson for Govenor of Texas. Mr. Ryan, a baseball tycoon is also into selling (at least with his name on the package) Angus Beef in the supermarkets. I wonder, now mind you just wondering if there is some payback here that he owes Senator Hutchenson? Like I say, just wondering

  • Vic Bailey, Auburn, Georgia

    Thanks to the FDA over 70% of the food we eat is unsafe to eat and getting rid of all germs, doesn’t let your body build up it’s natural immunity and therefor people are dying younger and the spread of diseases are getting worse because our immune systems are weak, because we stay inside and eat no fresh fruits and vegetables. Just like the old saying “Use It Or Lose It” common sense people!!! Don’t take my word for it ask your Doctors, over half don’t know why! Get away from your video games for awhile.


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