The Smoky Mountain News has a nice article about Haywood County farmers bending the ear of Congressman Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers).

Farm Bureau hosted the breakfast to brief lawmakers on how the lofty policies trickling down from Raleigh and Washington are hurting farmers.

Concerns included:

Ever-stricter environmental regulations, tougher labor standards, tighter immigration policies, loss of tax write-offs, pesky animal rights groups and arduous food safety rules.

Other awarenesses the farmers raised for the Congressman to haul back to DC included:

  • PETA allegations of animal mistreatment driving a dairy farmer out of business,
  • OSHA micromanagement going so far as to, for example, require migrant labor camps to keep silverware in cabinet drawers when not in use and keep lids on the trashcans,
  • Expansion of the Clean Water Act subjecting every ditch and mud hole to federal water quality standards,
  • New crop handling rules to force small operations into deciding whether to farm illegally or quit growing stuff to make time for documenting compliance.

“There’s enough restrictions out there to break you,” said Don Smart, president of the Haywood County Farm Bureau and a full-time farmer. “It is getting a little scary.”

Smart said some farmers have quit rather than deal with the regulations.

To boot, like everybody except Becki Gray, farmers are paying more in taxes this year.

But the farmers aren’t all negative. One thing they like is the Bad Spy Bill. It proposes giving employers the ability to charge industrial spies they mistakenly hire with trespassing. If the spies were actually running off with stuff, they might be held answerable to laws respecting intellectual property.

“He’s got a difficult job trying to convince urban congressmen that farmers have problems,” Smart said. . . . Meadows in turn thanked the Farm Bureau for arming him with data and stories.

Meadows went on to elaborate, as he and Senator Burr have done while in the area, about how legislators love anecdotes. In modern parlance, it’s called putting a face on the issue. For example, if a bill proposes confiscating hard-earned income from mountain folk for a purpose that will sear their consciences, that’s just fine; but if Auntie Ruth got a pimple on her nose when Rutherford County started paving its streets, leaders will stand up and take note.