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commercial aquaponic vs government subsidized industrial soil farming

Does anyone know if government subsidize aquaponic farmers? I don't think aquaponic can replace industrial soil farming for future farming unless government subsidize aquaponic farmers too.

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@ Tom: I sure don't envy your position. It is sad times we live in.

As to your last paragraph; I think Big Ag has already secured all the important cards and is just waiting for results to trickle in so as not to cause too big a scene until it's way too late, but by then...well...they win. They have already won. And after we sweat and bleed to develop something, they'll come along and buy out the big guys and pass more Nazi laws to strangle the smaller ones.

You see, the idea should not be simply organic or not but is the practice/technology actually sustainable. Big Ag already controls most of the seeds available (even heirloom). They control the genetic pools. Not only that, they have been in the process of contaminating everything in nature so "others" have no chance to naturally develop and produce food. These food producers that do not use patented seeds are eradicated. Now there vision and reach are global. Praise be the WTO for opening the doors to international fiefdom.

Sorry, I digress. I agree with you, that AP is a far better, more understandable and operable extension and unification of two great hobbies/ industries, (aquarium/ aquaculture & gardening/ horticulture), therefore will get the message out better than either group has so far (mainly due to the feed issue). But somehow, we have to counter act and repeal those idiotic laws before we stand any chance of survival or independence. This Nazi bullying has got to stop! If America can't make anything anymore, it should be able to feed itself responsibility but we are not allowed to. That my friend is repression. One of the reasons I live here in communist China is because, here I am free to do whatever I want. I'm venerated and encouraged to experiment outside of the box where as back home I was shut down with orders by my county to cease, desist and vacate my own home. Three times!

Talk about blood pressure, I think I better stop here.
Cheers

Aloha Carey

I guess I can be thankful that I will leave this earth before they close off farming completely.  I will fight until then agaisnt it though.  We have gone along and thought that organic would solve the problem, I think you will find them disappear also.  Now we think aquaponics is the answer and well it is.  But it is not the answer to stopping the gov taking over all farming and making us all go into hiding,  All in the name of food safety.  We need a new party besides the tea party because they have ideas but they are not about farming.  The Repubs and the Democ are all on the same boat when it comes to farming. 

Is is not ironic that you can live in a communistic country and have more freedom than we do.  I went to a seminar put on by the Univ here and they said before long they will have us all on their google maps.  It will be easier to grow Weed than food.

They make no bones about it.  Keep up the good work Carey.  I love your photos.  The answer is sustainable until they take it away.  I am working towards that not only with aquaponics but with the rest of my land.

To true Tom. Most people dont know that DDT is legal in Mexico and DOW chemical sells it to them still. I have hunted in the farms of Mexico and seen first hand the raw sewage used in irrigation of the fields. The paper was mixed in with the plants by the irrigation gates. These were vegetable fields to boot. Americans would pass out if they saw what is going on outside our borders. Dont get me started on Tilapia raising in China. Much worse.

Tom McLemore said:

This is a very interesting thread and one that hits home with me. I have been farming for 25 years and have seen the effects of government regulation and big ag change the way food is produced in this country. We used to grow a lot of vegetables in our area, but due to the impossible to comply with food safety regulations and labor issues, vegetable production is almost non existent here. There are some that have found a niche and do fairly well but the costs are slowly driving them out.  So what has happened...the big companies (Hunt, Del Monte etc.) moved their production south where there is no food safety regulations and labor is cheap. They can apply what ever chemical they want when ever they want and ship that crap north to the people that would rather spend their money on an iPhone than good healthy food for their family. Because after all our country is known for cheap food. Our government in the name of food safety has caused many of these problems but as you noted earlier they are doing what those that pay them want.

The point is this if AP ever grows to the point that it threatens the bottom line of the big A they will attempt to regulate you out of business.  The only way to stop it is to head them off at the pass so to speak and educate the public about the food they are buying and offer them an alternative at a reasonable price. Not some hyped up "organic" option. 

I could go on but my blood pressure is beginning to rise.

I believe the alternative ag agency, ATTRA, has sponsored some AP projects.  I agree regulation has the potential to be a big problem.  Big ag has done its best to make sure that small producers are held to impossible standards to help keep small and medium producers from being truly competitive.  They claim that there should be a "level  playing field" and that scaled requirements would be unfair and also be unsafe.  History clearly shows that food became unsafe when people stopped buying their food from local producers, in other words when big ag started supplying the food.  Small and medium producers have a very safe food safety record.  The best way to get safe food is to "know your farmer." AP or otherwise. 

 

A variety of organizations are working on the new Farm Bill, which will probably be voted on next year.  The Farm Bill will dictate who gets subsidies and what directions ag research will take, among other things.  If you want to see changes in it, NOW is the time to get involved and contact your elected representatives.  See Science magazine for a good discussion of the Farm Bill by Reganold.

Terri Mikkola,  Nice Graphs....

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To the rest:

Farm Subsidy's were put into lace originally to encourage sustainable agriculture practices and to "stabilize" food prices.  Farmer's were paid to not plant a percentage of their crop lands, but were allowed to plant cover crops such as clover or feed grains that were soil enriching (put nitrates, etc back into soil).

..

Corn farmers' were given subsidy's to stabilize corn prices (too much corn and the price drops to almost nothing, which means the farmer's make less - and they have to make a living....

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Then the Government initiated the BioFuels Crop initiatives (at the Urging of the Corn Grower's association(s) where the farmers's were allowed to grow corn on portions of the subsidy (do Not Grow) acreage for ethanol corn.   This gave the farmers additional income and allowed the development of Ethanol minimizing the radical efects upon the food crops....

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Enter the Government again (I swear - Government Doesn't Lear, they become stupider as time goes on).  The Government gives a $1.00 per gallon Cash Tax Credit for ethanol production.  Wow, one would think this would get the BioFuels and Ethanol Industry a big boos?  Especially since it applied to all grains crops that could be fermented and used to make ethanol (alcohol).   It did, but not the one you would think....

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Now Con Agra and ADM jumps on the bandwagon.  They push the grain prices up over a dollar with the excuse "You can get a $1.00 Cash Tax credit - so your cost really hasn't changed.  But I Tell ya what - sign over your Cash Tax Credit and we will seel the soybeans/corn at last years price - plus a small 12% price increase..."  Then they lobby congress (who is all too willing to take money from special interest groups to write legislation instead of looking out for the "greater Good"..) to change the Cash Tax Credit to only apply to virgn Crops" (crops that haven't been used for food, etc - fresh from the field).  Note:  This was the major amendment that caused the irreversible damage to food crop pricing.  Congress decided that it was in the "best Interest" of all concerned to apply the credits to virgin commodity items only (commodity being the operative word meaning : "Bought from ADM or Con Agra") and all used fryers oils based BioDiesel would only get a graduated tax credit of from $0.25 to $0.50 per gallon, after federal tax charges ($0.27 per gallon) were deducted and given back to the IRS.  Essentially, this put all food crops into play.

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Now they are regulating and there is a $0.55 per gallon production franchise tax applied - payable to the Ethanol Producers Organization or National BoDiesel Producers association.  If you don't prove on the Fuel Tax Credit form that you pay the royalties - you no longer qualify.  So now you get a $1.00 tax credit is you ay inflated prices for the commodity and remove food crops from the food market, Have to pay $0.27 back to the government and pay $0.55 per gallon "Royalty", so you actually get $0.18 per gallon - right?  Wrong.  Most states have an $0.18 cents per gallon production tax (Arizona has a $0.195 production Tax, and a $0.125 Fuel Tax, Some of the counties have an additional $0.145 production and distribution tax - to help the regulatory costs, its for the "greater good"... Dah...).

...

So food costs rise, and BioFuels costs rise (price increases trickle down - don't ya know).  But Congress, the Governors, and State Legislators all get annual $18% pay raises (based upon Arizona and The 2011 National Budget passed by Congress).  There is rampant unemployment, and most people have seen decreases in wages.  Food prices rise because of the double whammy:  Food Crop Prices rise because biofuels pays more, and fuel prices increase because - welll, because the oil company's want more

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Now the subsidy's are more about shifting money to special interest groups, any environmental or soil conservation efforts take a back seat to what the special interests' lobbyist are paying congress for..  So when will it end - It won't...

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In fact they are (as we speak) trying to get a handle on all of this "unregulated Aquaculture and aquaponics, CSA and Individual production issues that could conceivably threaten the National Food Safety."

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Did that last line piss you off"  It should have.  This is the type of rationale you will be facing in the next couple of years.  the time frame it takes Con Agra and ADM to zero in and realize that monopolizing this budding interest is in their financial interest.  The government sells guns to Cartels in Mexico (by passing all the regulatory restrictions) so they decide that people should not be able to buy guns - to help keep guns out of the hands of drug cartels.   Us Agriculture production facilities are notified by the FDA that they are improoving the regulatory requirements to strengthen food safety - In reaction to the Chinese Imports of tainted foods (China doesn't have such restrictions, they feel if they kill off 100,000 or 1,000,000 Chinese it's no big deal - they have lots of people, don't care).  So the FDA clamps down on US Producers.

...

Are you aware that Aquaponics Produce is required to be USDA Certified as coming from a USDA Inspected and Certified facility to be sold to non-family members (direct family, physically living in the same house, not just on the same property), don't get me started on the Fish.  Have you even checked?  Using that "Farmer's Market" excuse - no problem let's drive out to your farm (there had better be one, with fields and all that stuff...)....

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When does the FDA come into play?  When some one calls them (could be an angry neighbor, or one of your daughter;'s or son's ex's - maybe even your ex spouse or their lawyer....

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In our case it was a produce salesman from a large produce distributor.  the FDA swooped in alomg with local codes.  they got as far as the front office - The FDA Inspector was reading the FDA Certificate of Compliance when he decided his time would best be spent some where else - the State Bozo's immediately went into high gear.  Did you know those grow tables don't have the NFS labels?   Their Grow tables?  Do you have NSF labels on dirt in the farmers fields????  Oh, no - You're re using water - no no no no - chances of cross contamination (cited some obscure FDA and Food safety Requirement about not pouring excess food/liquids from production back into stock fluids.... Whhaaatttt?).  They demanded that all the plants and unsanitary (non NSF stamped) Equipment be destroyed.  The food had to go too.... Fish, had to go - not safe.... Total health inspection results were 5% out of 100% - We scored a 5!!!!.  Took it to court, the judge read the FDA Inspection and threw it out, under heavy objections from the State Health Inspections office. Awarded our Investors a lot of money (yet to be paid) and demanded that everything be released back to us.  The State health inspectors stated that that had already disposed of it - This pissed off the federal judge who ordered them to reimburse us the full current market value of confiscated equipment - based upon "our Cost Declaration".  So we won, then after not paying us we got a visit from the State Department of revenue - it seems we didn't declare the state/county reimbursements on our state income tax last year.... Dah, we never got the money?  "But you were awarded the money - so you should hae declared it"... Dah, Dah, Dah,,,,

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Now after 2 1/2 years the dust has settled.  everyone is happy, and we should get comfort in realizing that we were the "test case".  The investor is happy (sort of), his facility is back into full swing, he only has to pay the quarterly State Inspection/Certification fee of $1,500 ( I guess fair is fair - it's for the public good right?).

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Yea I know, a lot of people will chime in about CSA's and "Public Markets" - Trust me - I'm pulling for you.  But this economy is a breeding ground for "Government Greed".  They are quietly sitting in the dark corners waiting for that opportunity to add additional fees and taxes.  the government needs more money, they could care less about whether it benefits the public (They -"The Government" Decides what is better for the public, and a highly aid and aggressive government agency is in "their" minds exactly what the Public Really needs).

...

Things you need"

Zoning and Use Permits

FDA Inspections and Certification

Local Health inspections (Find a way to deal with the Local health Inspector "on their terms", most don't understand aquaponics and may very well prohibit you from using fish effluent in your grow beds - I have seen it happen,,,).

Local Dept of Agriculture Extension Agent as Point of Contact/Intermediary.

Local Muncipal, County, State Business Licenses.

State Sales/Use Tax Account

Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability Insurance Bond ($1,000,000M Minimal, $5,000,0000 preferred) tied to Product Liability Insurance Coverage.

Worker's Comp Insurance (required if you have over 5 full time employees, encouraged if you have only one).

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After that - you are free to go.... bear fruit and multiply....

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This is all food for thought.  The cost of producing food is more than just the time it takes to plant, care for and harvest.

When i went to law school (I was working for the US Government - did so for 24 years) I had a law professor pointed something enlightening in one of his lectures.

"Laws are not written or passed to eliminate behavior or conduct.  Laws are written to Define What is unlawful, and to set the ground rules for a certain conduct or activity.  there fore, Laws are written to promote certain activities by the very definition of Illegal."

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So true,,, So true....

..

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

there is something wrong when people blame health and safety regulation for their problems.

You should complain about lack of regulation in the southern states, not about the regulations that are there to protect the families of the farmers and workers to begin with, and then move down to their customers.

Farmers do a lousy public relations job. they forget that they need to teach their customers about quality and involve their customers in their products. how many of big businesses the buyer goes and visit the factory where they are buying their product from, vs. the average public visiting a farm.

it is almost like a kitchen, when you go to a restaurant if the kitchen is hidden people feel less safe, vs, when the kitchen and even the dishwashing station is in the open view of everyone so there is nothing hidden. neither the farmer nor the consumer quite understands this concept at least consciously. once open access and open door policy and open sourcing of better growing technologies and farming techniques on how to grow the food truly better, becomes part of the mantra of the human psyche, then everyone's attitude will change.

This is not a concept that applies just to USA it is a global concept, we are lazy, we really don’t care to learn and we really don’t educate what we know, we are stingy beings, that hate sharing.

Interesting enough though, aquaponics is a strange animal, i guess profit hasn’t been much, but here, everyone is a small  operator.

where are the BIG AQUAPONIC operators, there must be some out there, considering that canadian government did a big study of greenhouse output of aquaponics system vs. regular greenhouse (and by the way they found out the output same at the end of the season but the aquaponics greenhouse, was two weeks earlier in production than regular greenhouse system)

So stop complaining about the government regulations, and use some common sense, and I do want to remind you all,

As HUMANA WE REALLY USE VERY LITTLE COMMON SENSE.

GREED STINGINESS STUPITY IGNORANCE ALL CREEPS IN AND BLINDS US TO WHAT WE ACTUALLY KNOW TO BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

i have one sentance that discribes all of the last 2 pages 

PROFIT BEFORE PEOPLE

TC sounds like foodinc.

TC sounds like foodinc.

Hahaha!!! You used "government regulations" and "common sense" in the same sentence.

I didn't get the drift that Dave was complaining or whining. I mean he rather aptly illustrated how the scam works and some of what small/medium producers are up against.

 "...once open access and open door policy and open sourcing of better growing technologies and farming techniques on how to grow the food truly better, becomes part of the mantra of the human psyche, then everyone's attitude will change...."

And what? All the ADM's, Con Agra's, and the Gov. regulating bodies they've employed are gonna do what? Say, "Hey folks it sure was wrong of us to profit off y'all in that way, we see now that we are not being nice, so were gonna shut down shop and leave you all be. We're gonna go home now and stand in the corner and think about what we've done"...

Cy said:

there is something wrong when people blame health and safety regulation for their problems.

You should complain about lack of regulation in the southern states, not about the regulations that are there to protect the families of the farmers and workers to begin with, and then move down to their customers.

Farmers do a lousy public relations job. they forget that they need to teach their customers about quality and involve their customers in their products. how many of big businesses the buyer goes and visit the factory where they are buying their product from, vs. the average public visiting a farm.

it is almost like a kitchen, when you go to a restaurant if the kitchen is hidden people feel less safe, vs, when the kitchen and even the dishwashing station is in the open view of everyone so there is nothing hidden. neither the farmer nor the consumer quite understands this concept at least consciously. once open access and open door policy and open sourcing of better growing technologies and farming techniques on how to grow the food truly better, becomes part of the mantra of the human psyche, then everyone's attitude will change.

This is not a concept that applies just to USA it is a global concept, we are lazy, we really don’t care to learn and we really don’t educate what we know, we are stingy beings, that hate sharing.

Interesting enough though, aquaponics is a strange animal, i guess profit hasn’t been much, but here, everyone is a small  operator.

where are the BIG AQUAPONIC operators, there must be some out there, considering that canadian government did a big study of greenhouse output of aquaponics system vs. regular greenhouse (and by the way they found out the output same at the end of the season but the aquaponics greenhouse, was two weeks earlier in production than regular greenhouse system)

So stop complaining about the government regulations, and use some common sense, and I do want to remind you all,

As HUMANA WE REALLY USE VERY LITTLE COMMON SENSE.

GREED STINGINESS STUPITY IGNORANCE ALL CREEPS IN AND BLINDS US TO WHAT WE ACTUALLY KNOW TO BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

I won't subject everyone here to one of my hour-long rants about farm-subsidies. . . you're welcome.  I will say that as bleak as it looks sometimes, remember that the dinosaurs went extinct.  Why? Because they couldn't adapt. A bunch of hairy little beasts with fur, warm blood and four-chambered hearts came along and put them out of business.  It doesn't matter that money has been wasted, thrown at bad ideas and broken systems.  We will win.  Good ideas always win, sometimes it just takes time. . . and a bunch of productive, voracious, hairy little beasts like ourselves.  :)

Oh, and you won't win by taking subsidies that artificially brace up bad ideas- you win by entering the market, tackling the problems head on, and innovating- something that I've seen an incredible amount of in the AP community.  We're going to win, because we're inventive, not because we're funded.

Well said, Gina  -Definitely agree.

It amazes me how farm subsidies are still falsely promoted as a necessity meant to save the family farm and protect national food security.  Even those farmers I've spoken with who take subsidies will eventually narrow it down to a "necessary evil".  What subsidies really do is create a situation where American families pay higher taxes to keep the cost of food seemingly low (ie, it's a lie) and perpetuate America's largest corporate welfare program.  Subsidy rules actually exclude most small farmers, with the majority of the money going to large commercial agri-businesses averaging incomes of $200,000 or more and net worth of ~$2million.  

Don't even get me started on how "food security" factors (or rather doesn't) in here.

Jesse



Gina Cavaliero said:

Hi Couch Potato, love the name btw, there are not currently any government subsidies for AP farms.  Our industry is far too young to gather that type of government support or even acknowledgement for that matter. Besides subsidized farming isn't necessarily a good thing for agriculture and if AP is going to be one of the factors influencing the decentralization of our food supply, then subsidizing would actually deter the growth of local food markets and decentralization.  The subsidizing of America's farms is quite a contentious issue and opponents argue that in order to deregulate the farm industry, there would have to be an end to direct payments to farmers entirely.   The benefits of this alternative would be the creation of a free market environment in the agricultural sector, in effect boosting global welfare by allowing trade across borders dictated by supply and demand.  However the industrialization of farming has effectively eliminated free trade and caused the decline of the small farm and the rise of the large farming conglomerate which has led to an overall decline in food quality and a rise in substandard processed foods.  

I honestly don't know if aquaponic farms can ever replace industrial soil farming but it can provide a local food source and minimize reliance on big ag and fill a huge growing market demand.

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