Subject: Important Legal and Policy Updates

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Dear Friend,

Thank you to all of those who attended our first annual member meeting! It was wonderful to engage and learn what some FTCLDF members are currently facing.

As I shared in the meeting, on behalf of member Kenduskeag Kitchen, and all of its Maine members, FTCLDF has filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for its insistence that the Kitchen obtain an unattainable eating establishment license. Such action violates the Maine Food Sovereignty Act and the Maine Constitutional Right to Food. To learn more about the litigation, please visit


In the meantime, FTCLDF is working on public comments to be filed with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and encourages all of its readers to do so.

APHIS has published a proposed rule to require mandatory electronic ID (Radio Frequency Identification or RFID) for all cattle that move in interstate commerce. While the claimed purpose of the rule is alleged disease traceability, it would unreasonably burden independent farmers and ranchers while not making any improvements to animal health or food safety. Rather, the rule would serve the interests of the large meatpacking companies to cut costs and increase their profits and control of the U.S. cattle industry. The proposed rule would harm the economic viability of independent cattle producers and reduce the security and resiliency of our food supply.

In 2013, the Animal Disease Traceability program was drafted with input of stakeholders, and permits both electronic and traditional forms of ID, and has been effective. The proposed rule predominately impacts independent farmers and is predicted to impact at most 11% of the U.S. cattle population. This is because the proposed rule includes an exception to allow for one Group Identification Number for a group of animals that are managed together in a vertically integrated operation from birth to death. In other words, vertically integrated operations, in which an entity owns the animal through its entire lifetime, can save large sums of money as compared to independent producers (even mid-size and large independent producers).

Importantly, the rule provides no food safety benefit because tracking ends at time of slaughter, and the vast majority of food safety issues occur in processing plants as opposed to the farm or ranch. Moreover, the rule poses privacy concerns and increases control over the livestock industry by giving the large meatpackers more information about how animals are produced. This rule would benefit the meatpackers and the tech companies.

I encourage you to do two things:

1. Visit website of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) for an in-depth explanation of the proposed rule and to sign on to FARFA’s Mandatory Electronic ID Letter HERE

2. Visit the federal register to submit your own formal comment to APHIS opposing the rule by April 19, 2023 (APHIS had extended the due date to April 19, though this is not obvious on the web site) HERE

Thank you for standing together to fight for food freedom.

In good health,

Alexia Kulwiec
Executive Director | 703-208-FARM (3276) |
8116 Arlington Blvd Suite #263, Falls Church, VA 22042, United States
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