Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Letter To Sec. Watson MS Secretary of State

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

February 5, 2024

This week I received an email from Sec. Watson regarding his offices' plan and successes in eliminating administrative and MS Code bottlenecks that hold back business growth. He also asked for input on areas that affect our business.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Be Careful What You Ask For?"

Well, here is my response to Sec. Watson. I'm still waiting to hear back from him - which I truly hope will happen.

Sec. Watson, first let me thank you for aggressively tackling these tough issues. Too many politicians today are mere pawns of big business that seek to write legislation, code, regulations, etc. that benefit their businesses while greatly limiting (even denying) small business opportunity.

And, as you know, SMALL BUSINESS is the driver of solid economic stability - not big business.

Three areas I would like to bring to your attention:

First, both the Federal & MS State Law support small farms to raise and sell up to 20,000 chickens into commerce per year. However, MDAC has a regulation that restricts (some will say unlawfully) that number to only 1,000 per year and limits access to sales into commerce to on-farm sales only. Forty states fully support the Federal 20,000 limit and their AG economy is 10+ times that of MS per square mile. MS rural areas are struggling financially WHILE MS must import over $8.5 billion in food from other states just to feed our citizens. When you start asking WHY?, you hear that Farm Bureau President states he is against uninspected meat entering commerce. I would ask WHY is his opinion more important than the well-being of MS Farmers & citizens?

Second, sale of raw dairy products in MS. 27 states authorize the sale of raw dairy products into commerce. But, not in MS!!! Ironically, our state seems to have regulated itself out of the dairy business altogether. Did you know that not too long ago Oktibbeha County (home of MS State Univ.) once had over 800 small family dairies? Now, the only operating dairy is on the campus of MS State so they can sell cheese. When all of those small family dairies left, so did the supporting small family businesses like feed, hardware, fertilizer, etc. My grandparents once sold raw dairy from their front porch - never had internet. Not even a phone. Today, big dairy in MS sends most of the milk to FL and then MS imports milk from TX to supply our citizens. That's crazy!!!

Third, What is the real reason Sunn Hemp is listed in the MS Administrative Code as a noxious weed? The USDA, 48 State Land Grant Universities, and numerous private sector studies going back almost 100 years have well documented Sunn Hemp IS NOT a noxious weed. Their studies also prove that Sunn Hemp is a great soil builder, will suppress 126 lbs of atmospheric nitrogen in 60-90 days of plant life, and is a great livestock forage. I am sure the real reason has some connection to big business & possibly seed grower associations.

At this point I ran out of character spaces to continue my last thought. MS and AR are the only states that consider Sunn Hemp a noxious weed. So, what do these two states have in common? Well, first is they are located on opposite banks of the MS River Delta. I know that the John Deere MS AG companies are owned by an Arkansas corporation. So, it's probably not a stretch that there are large commercial row crop farmers with land in both states as well as seed suppliers who operate in both states.

Neither AR or MS are in the top 10 producers of corn or soybeans. That means the top 10 states do not have a problem with Sunn Hemp in case it would come up in their fields.

Actually, I have a regenerative farmer friend whose farm borders a row cropper - when the row cropper sprayed his soybeans, the drift killed my friend's Sunn Hemp. So, who is looking after my friend's rights?

I certainly join the growing number of folks who are fed up with the overreach of government!!! How about you?

At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.

If you are new to our farm then maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability are listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple!

** Product Availability Update **

NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below!

Chicken - Restocked January 24, 2024. Next restock will be Feb 6th and then Feb 14th.
Turkey - Whole turkeys are sold out. Restocked Ground, legs, thighs, and wings Jan 31st

Eggs - Restock each Wednesday. Received 950 new pullet hens Thursday, Nov 9th. Pullet production has doubled in the last two weeks. Still need about 20% more to start

Beef - Next restock will be February 23, 2024. Our inventory on NY Strip Steaks is a bit heavy so I have decided to put them on sale for Feburary (or until supplies last). When you buy 10 packs or more we will discount 10% off when we pack your order. As always, we thank you for your business.

Pork -Expect to restock again by late February

Lamb - Restocked September 13th. Scheduled to process lamb in November, but this has been delayed. Probably Mar 2024

More from the blog

Are Foreign Imports "Local"?

It may surprise you that I do receive AND read several weekly newsletters from other farms that I know and trust. Last week, Paul Brown who owns Nourished By Nature in Bismark, ND (son of Gabe Brown) wrote a really good article on import beef and he agreed to let me share with my customers. So, here goes! If you recall, the last newsletter we sent out referred to the statistic that today, only 2% of the population in the US produces food for the entire country (plus imports) as compared to 17% in 1940. This is unprecedented and it makes me wonder, what happened over the last 80 years? And where will we be in another 80? No wait, how about 10 years??? Will all US food production be outsourced?

Product Updates & More

First, a quick followup from last week's email where I shared my letter to Sec. Watson. This generated a lot of interest and response from our customers - ALL very positive and thankful for us taking the stand we do. Several customers also shared that they were personal friends with Sec. Watson and would contact him regarding our farm. So far, I have not heard from him. Cindy shared the following: Thank you for speaking out about issues that many of us are very upset about and feel like we have no voice. Hopefully, Secretary Watson will actually do something. In my opinion, Farm Bureau is against most Mississippians. They were against the illegal land sales to the Chinese and other foreign countries who want to harm us. I was at the meeting at the Capitol a few months ago and saw it firsthand. They are against any legislation to protect pets, such as dogs and cats, from animal abusers, in addition to the chicken and dairy issues you mentioned above. I am no fan at all of Farm Bureau. They are a detriment to our state. But they have a powerful lobby and lots of friends in influential places . And lots of farmers, big farmers, are fans. I have always been a fan of ag commissioner Gipson and I expect he will run for governor one day. I’m not sure if it’s a political play, but it seems that he is quiet on most of these issues. One exception is the Land deals, because he did chair those groups and hold the hearings.

Chicken, Chicken, Chicken

The "most asked" question from customers is - When Will You Have More Chicken? Well, the weather has been a bit challenging when it comes to raising chickens on pasture. Most recently, we delayed the last batch harvest because at the typical age we harvest they were very small. So, we elected to delay two weeks to give them time to grow to a reasonable market weight. Then, last week the weather was very cold.