Yes, I am disturbed! Why is the USDA arming itself with submachine guns?

Armed raiderWhy would a regulatory agency like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) need submachine guns?

Although it doesn’t say why the guns are wanted, the USDA has issued this solicitation request:

Added: May 07, 2014 2:03 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical [sic] acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts [sic] trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe [sic] or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation. [source]

The USDA never says how many guns or how much ammo they want to buy, but they do say that “OIG Special Agents are authorized to make arrests, execute warrants, and carry firearms.” The first listed activity that they investigate is “fraud in farm programs.”  [source]  They need armed enforcers for that?

Why am I skeptical? Maybe I’ve heard about too many raids on farm families or elaborate investigations on raw dairy farmers.

Could it be that they expect to make more raids on family farms?

Farm Raids

MDARD Raid in Michigan

A recent example of unexplained (and unnecessary) raids was the confiscation and dumping of $5,000 worth of raw milk, butter, cream, and eggs from a Michigan co-op by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).  There were many other ways the MDARD could have handled this situation. “They could have given her [Jenny Samuelson, co-op owner] a citation, listed the charges against her, held a hearing where she and the owners of the food could have attempted to answer the charges, and then levied a fine if she was found to be in violation.”  But no, the MDARD gave no warning!  They just raided and “disposed of” thousands of dollars of fresh, healthy food, which had already been paid for by the herdshare and co-op members.  [source]  I do not know if the MDARD raiders were armed, but the trend seems to be for such raids to be conducted at gunpoint.

Destruction of 100 dozen eggs one by oneHere’s an interesting piece of the Michigan raid story–the MDARD required that each egg of the 100 dozen eggs be broken during the dumping. [source]  Wow, and as others have pointed out, this was all done within “one of the most economically depressed states in the union.”  [source]

Farmaggedon

I haven’t heard yet of any peaceful farmers shooting back when they were subjected to armed raids on their family farms, and small children were often witnesses to the raids.  (see Farmaggedon)  Is the danger during these raids greater for the raiders or for the farm families?

Pennsylvania Amish Farmer

Other raids include the FDA’s year-long sting and raid on Pennsylvania Amish dairy farmer Dan Alllgyer [read more] which included “U.S. marshals and a state police trooper.”  The FDA said it was just an “inspection”, not a raid.  If so, why did they need U.S. marshals and police troopers?

There have been other farm raids.  FARFA mentions the California raid on the Rawesome food co-op in 2010.  It was a private co-op for members only, and there had never been any complaint against them.

Dangers of Armed Regulatory Agents

FARFA explains some of the dangers that could result:

If agency officials face a situation in which armed backup is truly called for, they can go through the proper procedures to have support from the Department of Justice. Having in-house SWAT teams and armed personnel makes it too easy to turn a non-hazardous situation into an armed raid that abuses the rights of our citizens. Bureaucrats aren’t hired or properly trained for dangerous law enforcement situations. Moreover, it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to provide weapons to each individual agency.  [emphasis added] [source]

Who Is Concerned?

one of the most economically depressed states in the union – See more at: http://althealthworks.com/3223/officials-raid-co-op-force-farmers-to-crack-eggs-one-by-one-dump-thousands-in-perfectly-good-food/#sthash.uWZb4WxK.dpuf
in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at: http://althealthworks.com/3223/officials-raid-co-op-force-farmers-to-crack-eggs-one-by-one-dump-thousands-in-perfectly-good-food/#sthash.uWZb4WxK.dpuf

in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at: http://althealthworks.com/3223/officials-raid-co-op-force-farmers-to-crack-eggs-one-by-one-dump-thousands-in-perfectly-good-food/#sthash.uWZb4WxK.dpuf

in one of the most economically depressed states in the union. – See more at: http://althealthworks.com/3223/officials-raid-co-op-force-farmers-to-crack-eggs-one-by-one-dump-thousands-in-perfectly-good-food/#sthash.uWZb4WxK.dpuf

Fortunately, I am not the only one who is concerned with the arming of our regulatory agencies.  The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) says that “While the actual number of armed raids has been low, the fear and distrust that they have created in the local foods community has been widespread and damaging. For example, the 2010 raid on a local food co-op in southern California, in which the FDA participated, is still reverberating through the raw milk community.”

What We Can Do

Even more important, there are Congressmen who also see the dangers and have introduced HR 4934, the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act.

The bill does three things:

  1. Repeals the arrest and firearm authority granted to Offices of Inspectors General in the 2002 Homeland Security Act.
  2. Prohibits federal agencies, other than those traditionally tasked with enforcing federal law — such as the FBI and U.S. Marshals — from purchasing machine guns, grenades, and other weaponry regulated under the National Firearms Act.
  3. Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to write a complete report detailing all federal agencies with specialized units that receive special tactical or military-style training and that respond to high-risk situations that fall outside the capabilities of regular law enforcement officers. [source]

We can help pass this bill by contacting our U.S. Representative (find out who) and urge him/her to support the bill.

You can support FARFA, an organization which is very active for our food rights and the protection of the family farm.

You can also join the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  The Fund is active in the defense of our food rights, defends family farms and protects consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods. I am a member!

Click here to find out more about the bill and who the current co-sponsors are.

Read more about the farm raids and H.R. 4934 at FARFA’s website.

Photo credits:  the egg disposal photo is courtesy of High Hill Dairy, the raw milk farm that supplied the raw milk for the co-op.  The armed raider is courtesy of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

This entry was posted in Access to Good Food, Access to Real Food, Co-ops, Dairy, Food Freedom, Food Rights, Health, Health Freedom, Raw Milk, Real Food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Yes, I am disturbed! Why is the USDA arming itself with submachine guns?

  1. Pingback: On the Real Food News Front — 08-1-14 | Real Food Houston

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