NEWS & ADVICE: Dairy Farms Under Attack. How You Can Protect Your Farm.

CameraScan received and would like to share an urgent message from Washington State Dairy Federation Executive Director, Dan Wood. CameraScan has helped dairy farmers make safer workplaces for 25+ years. Call us at 800.444.1002 for a free onsite security evaluation of your farm. Our custom-designed video surveillance systems boost compliance and productivity when placed in strategic locations within your dairy to ensure compliance-related protocols and procedures are not skipped. Workers, livestock, equipment and ultimately a farmers’ livelihood are better protected.

House Legislation Attacks Dairies!
Your Emails Needed to Fight Back Against New Dairy Regulations and Bid Dumb Buffers
Urban Legislators Sponsor Dairy Regulation Bill; Help Them Understand Your Farm

JANUARY 16, 2016 —- An Urgent Message from Dairy Federation Executive Director Dan Wood: I shouldn’t have to ring the bell for urgent action the first week of the legislative session, but a House bill directly assaults the operation of dairy farms.

It is important that you email the urban legislators that are promoting this legislation.

The best course of action is to email the urban Democrat sponsors, tell them the bill should not be passed out of committee, and offer to host them on a tour of your dairy, so they can see for themselves what a dairy is like, and have FACTUAL information.

The bill is aimed specifically at dairies.  The sponsors of HB 2484 claim they are addressing widespread safety issues at dairy farms, but they have no data do show there is a real problem they are addressing.

Last summer, a dairy worker drove a loader into a lagoon and died.  The Yakima County Coroner publicly stated there was methamphetamine in the worker at the time of death. But the coroner and Labor & Industries refuse to release the full toxicology report, so only the coroner and L & I know how much meth was in him. The link to the Yakima Herald article is here.

If the death had occurred on the highway, all the details would be known.  And we wouldn’t be talking about redesigning the highway system.  We would be talking about a death contributed to by the use of illegal drugs.

HB 2484 would require additional supervision, mandate new safety rules and training, require surprise inspections from L & I, increase minimum fines and civil penalties, and ASSUME dairy employers are guilty of discrimination and intimidation without any proof. In fact, the bill would require the dairy employer to PROVE his or her innocence – completely turning the “innocent until proven guilty” concept on its head.

None of the provisions would have prevented the tragic death of the worker.  Nothing in the bill addresses methamphetamine or other illegal drug use.

To put it bluntly, this legislation is nothing but political opportunism. Labor activists want to organize dairy farms and they are using this unfortunate death to try to enact legislation that has previously not been passed by the legislature.

This time, the “burden of proof” provisions would apply only to dairies.

Farm Bureau, AWB and Dairy Federation will testify against the bill. Washington State Dairy Federation is NOT asking dairy producers to travel to Olympia to testify on this bill. (the hearing is on Monday) This appears to be staged and you don’t need to be part of the circus.

Despite requests from Farm Bureau, neither the sponsor nor the labor organizations would provide early drafts or invite Farm Bureau or the Dairy Federation into a discussion.

Please contact the sponsors via email and ask that HB 2484 be held in the committee. Feel free to tell them how you work for a safe workplace, let them know that the bill is an attack on both the operations and the rights of dairies and their owners.

Ask them to hold the bill in committee.  Finally, invite them to cone to the farm for a visit.  If a legislator agrees to a tour, please let me know so the Dairy Federation can be there and help educate these legislators.

Here are the sponsors:

Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-Seattle)                 

Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace)    

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo)                  

Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett)                                

Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater)                    

Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett)                        

Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle)                             

Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place)       

Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline)                            

Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle)                             

Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane)                      

Please also email these House Democratic Leaders (you can copy them on the emails above or email them as a primary recipient)

Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle)        Speaker of the House

Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington)    House Majority Leader

Rep. Chris Lytton (D-Anacortes)  House Finance Chair

Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland)   Deputy Majority Leader

Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen)     House Ag Chair       

Please send those emails and ask others to do the same.