Voices in the wilderness: Nein, No, Ne, non - The Packer

Voices in the wilderness: Nein, No, Ne, non

03/06/2013 11:46:00 PM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstNo. Non. Ne. Nein.

In any language, there is a word spoken by those who won’t willingly go along with new government regulations aimed at their wallet and livelihood. They, like Roger Ailes, likely think we passed the point of too much federal regulation sometime in the mid-1950s.

As much as the more recent instinct for the fresh produce industry has been to ask for more government oversight of produce safety to restore consumer confidence, there are still voices of opposition.

When those naysayers raise an objection it is always with a historical context . Try to remember the days when the grass was green, the government left us alone and we had decades of doing business without incident.

Below are some comments made to the government on pending regulations, as recorded at the government website, www.regulations.gov.

On the produce safety rule, from a farmer in Pennsylvania, picks up the refrain on cue:

Dear sirs, I am a 5th generation fruit and veg. farmer near Pittsburgh, Pa.. I would like to make a few comments on your FSMA regs. My family has been selling fruits and vegetables direct to the public for ver 100 years. At both our two retail market, pick your own and 11 farmers markets in the Pittsburgh, area, we have never had a food safety problem. I fear that our seven ponds for irrigation will not pass your tests since they are filled with runoff water. I find it hard to believe that watering crops with drip irrigation pond water is a safety issue. If the FDA goes through with all of these very restrictive rules .with no reasonable , affordable solutions our farm will close we will sell the farm and never look back. Thank you.

 

Likewise, a truck driver weighing in on the hours of service rule asks federal regulators when the regulations will stop:

I currently work for a company that works a 6 day on and 2 day off schedule. I run mostly Texas however I do run some interstate loads. I'm highly opposed to the idea of only allowing a restart after seven days. I can use up my seventy allowed hours by the end of my six days, what do you propose I do for the full seventh day that I'm not allowed to drive because I'm out of hours?

Usually that would be my first day off at the house.... Are you proposing that I stay out an extra day longer away from my child and family? my own meals and nobody has provided me free cable TV. Why am I being punished here? How about this..... I have obviously been certified many different ways to make sure I'm fit to drive an 80000 lb tractor trailer down the highway. CDL, medical card, hazmat endorsement, employer background checks, etc.

Truck drivers might be insane to put up with getting regulated by people who have no idea what it's like to live in a truck cab for weeks at a time, however most of us have enough sense to lay down and sleep when we are tired. The reason you have more people going to sleep now while driving is because they're trying to be in compliance with the rules you have already made.

Why penalize a driver because it takes someone too long to unload their truck or because they get hung up in horrendous traffic situations caused by lack of regulation in other areas? Let me do my job as safely and quickly as possible and get home to my child who spends enough time without me already. A truck driver told me one time that you can go down a mountain hundreds of times too slow but you'll only go down one time too fast. Let the strong survive in this industry to make it safer on the highways. The FMCSA regulations encourage the weak to prevail and discourage the strong to even be in this industry. It's sad to pave your own way to hell and not know.

 

TK: These from-the-gut comments may be a futile effort to stem the tide of red tape for any particular issue. After all, there are reasons that regulations are being promulgated, and often it is because industry itself has asked for it.

But there is a voice crying in the wilderness.  No. Damn no!

In time, the dissent will fade. If ignored, the voice will go eventually away. The fruit farm will be lost, the truck driver will be idled.  And perhaps a greater good will be gained. But don't tell that to the families of the fruit grower in Pennsylvania or the truck driver in Texas.



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