Tonight when I went to pick up my milk (we got our cow share with no wait list, hurrah!) and some pork from the Gaskins, they filled me in on the latest intrusion on private property brought to you by our state government.
The state has decreed that by September all farms have to register with the state and have microchips implanted in each one of their animals at a cost of $45 per animal. If they do not comply, they will not be allowed to buy animals at stockyards, purchase feed for the animals, or take the animals to a slaughterhouse without incurring a fine of $1,000 per day. I imagine that farmers who work for the agribusiness conglomerates will find a way to recoup this expense, but the small independent farmers who make a living by raising organic cows, chickens, and so forth will be in danger of losing their farms if they have to pay $45 for each chick and calf that will be born and sold every year. The Gaskins said that a lot of the small farmers plan to learn how to do their own breeding, grow their own feed, and learn to butcher and process their own meat so that they don’t have to do the chipping.
In the long run, it’s probably good for sustainable agriculture for farmers to be more self-sufficient in that way, but the expense will be steep. I think it’s completely out of line for the government to impose this level of meaningless regulation on small farmers, especially since it has nothing to do with public health. I can’t fathom any rational reason for this policy.
For such a supposedly conservative state, Indiana has an awfully meddlesome government.