Welcome this edition of the Richard Urban Show. I’m your host, Richard Urban, coming to you from historic Harpers Ferry, WV. We present news and views from God’s point of view. Today, May 22, we’re very happy to have Roy Ramey on. He’s a Republican candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture here in West Virginia. So please introduce yourself.
“Well, hello, my name is Roy Ramey and I’m a small regenerative farmer, in Cabell County, WV, just outside of Lesage. We do pasture poultry, pasture pork and pastured eggs as well as a few other odds and ends, but those are the main stay. And we also do some workshops and training events and help out the other folks to learn this style of farming,” Ramey said.
“I’m also a 31-year veteran in the Army, currently a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, still serving. And I guess I’ll keep serving until they kick me out. And I’m also a proud husband and father, I have an 11-year-old daughter, whom we home-school and I stay pretty active in my community helping out with other civic events and fraternal organizations and so forth, that I’m a part of,” Ramey added.
Richard: Well, that’s great. So how did you come to decide to run for Commissioner of Agriculture? And what are your three main platform points, your main points that you’re running on?
“So I have been practicing regenerative agriculture for several years now. I learned this style from Joel Saladin, Polyface Farm, he’s actually closer to you all. You may heard of him. He’s the most famous farmer in the world. And I started learning those methods and finding out how difficult it is actually with the regulatory environment that we have. And I got over a lot of it,” Ramey answered.
“I left and went on active duty tour with the Army Reserve for a few years and came back and as I was trying to get my farm re-established and fully operational again, I started realizing there were some new regulations in there that the Department of Agriculture was probably pushing. And I thought, Man, this is undoable and it makes it an extreme burden that’s just not financially feasible for small farmers,” Ramey added.
“And the more I got to look into it I thought, the guy that’s standing in the way on a lot of this, or not defending us is the Commissioner of Agriculture. And I was going to get into the Legislature and try to change some of the laws and I thought, No, the bureaucrats are the ones that are causing a lot of this problem. So, I need to go there and not be the door but open the door. ” Ramey continued.
“And that really got me into this mission, and deciding to help cut some of this regulatory burden and make it easier for small family farms. In West Virginia we don’t have very many industrial farms. Yet, the regulations that are put in place at the federal and state level, are geared, not toward our safety as we’re often lied to, but they’re actually there to protect the industrial farming system as opposed to the small family farms,” Ramey said.
“And so there’s a difference between what a lot of people will tell you. Everybody says they’re for the small farm. And nobody’s gonna say, I’m against small farms, but what they really mean [when] most of the bureaucrats talk about small farms, they’re talking about industrial farms on a small scale. I’m actually talking about small farms producing food for their local communities
Richard: What’s the difference between a regenerative farm and say, and an organic farm? Or is it similar or the same?
“So there’s some similarities and I’m glad you ask that. A lot of people hear organic, and they just think this nice idyllic farm, but there’s a lot of vagaries in the organic label, it’s actually controlled by the US Department of Agriculture as a franchise. And there’s a lot of problems with it, despite what people think and you can do a lot of not so great things in producing food and get away with it and still put the certified organic label on it,” Ramey explained.
“The big difference is in regenerative farming, it’s about rebuilding the soil and rebuilding the environment. We pasture our animals and we move them around the pasture and we never shovel manure. Because we let the animals do that. And we make sure that it gets spread around to all the fields that we’re actually using and help rebuild that soil,” Ramey continued.
“One of my big passions is raw milk, and we hear a lot of contention about raw milk, and that’s a passion of mine. I think we should be able to have it. And whether you want it or don’t want it, we can both be right on that. Nobody’s going to twist your arm and force you to go get raw milk or take away pasteurized milk. However, as an individual, by the way our Constitution was meant to protect individual freedoms and choices, and therefore as one of the constitutional officers, I’m going to protect that freedom and the right to be able to choose raw milk, if you want to get it,” Ramey said.
Richard: On your site you posted about the Prime Act. So that sounds like a good idea, do you want to tell the viewers about that?
“The Prime Act. You know one of the big problems that we have is the meat production in the country as a whole. And you’re seeing a lot of that now, with the availability of meat in our super markets where most people go to get their groceries,” Ramey said.
“And the Prime Act is a bill by Congressman Thomas Massie, in Kentucky and he farms regeneratively over there, and a very smart guy, and he developed this about five or six years ago, actually. And it keeps getting knocked down. But that bill will allow us to use our Custom inspection, we got three levels of inspection – custom, state level, and USDA level – and each of those means a little different something. And custom is when you have your own animal that you take to the slaughter house and they’re going to process it for you and you pick it all up and take it home and you can’t sell any of that meat at all, although presumably it’s safe enough because you’re allowed to consume it for yourself and your family, you just can’t sell it for $1. The Prime Act would allow states to change their laws to go within the state. You would be able to use custom level slaughter guidelines in order to sell me in your local area or within the state.” Ramey added.
“Now, most people want to be able to support local farmers and they just can’t do it with the current regulatory environment and if we would change to add something like the Prime Act and then having an accompanying bill within the state of West Virginia to support that, then we could put our local meat in our grocery stores and our farmers markets and even sell directly at retail, [cuts?-unclear audio]. That’s what the Prime Act is, and I support that for the federal level, and I will build a rapport with other states that they’re supporting it, as well, and try to get that national support that Congressman Massie needs to be able to pass that bill in Congress,” Ramey said.
Richard: I was reading about GMO crops and versus non-GMO, that there could be contamination, among, neighboring farms or things. Is that an issue in West Virginia or in general? Is that something you’re concerned about or not?
“Yes, it is a concern. And let me address it in a couple of different ways, specifically what you referred to. We do have some GMO but because we’re not a generally industrial level forming community, we don’t have a lot of it, we do have some of it,” Ramey answered.
“The big thing is when I want to get feed for my livestock, I can’t get a GMO free, feed ’cause it’s just not available around here. I have to buy it pre-bagged from somewhere else. Have it shipped in at an enormous cost. Yet. I’ve got a feed mill that’s 20 miles up the road one way in 35 miles up the road. Another way that if we just had GMO-free material available, then I could get the GMO-free feed and I actually have a ton of customers who would want that very thing and they would even pay extra,” Ramey continued.
“The big thing with GMOs, and in a lot of discussions and debates about this very thing, it’s not necessarily that it’s GMO, it’s what is that GMO designed to do. We genetically modify a crop in order to do something to have some kind of resistance and in most of the cases, the resistance is to spray toxic poisons on it. They’ll kill everything else but allow this corn, this soybean to grow,” Ramey said.
“And so that’s the majority of the GMOs that we see, particularly with plants. We want to be able to spray Roundup on everything else and not kill our corn or soybeans. And so number one, it needs to be labeled,” Ramey said.
“One of the things that happens and, again, it’s not so much here but in bigger agriculture communities what you have is a lot of farmers will have the GMO seed that they’re planting. And then you might have the lone holdout nowadays, just about all the industrials use GMOs. But a few folks were not. And so, the GMOs will cross-contaminate through the pollination process into the guy that’s not using a GMO seed and so he saves his seed, but now, it’s contaminated if you will,” Ramey said.
Richard: To bring it more to conclusion, how would you like contrast yourself with your opponent? I know you’re running against the incumbent. Kent Leonhardt, right? So what would be the contrast for voters? They have those two choices on the Republican side.
“So for starters, I’m not a professional politician, and he is, I don’t have a lot of big money and I definitely don’t have any industrial money backing me. The little bit of money that I have gotten has either been my own or everyday people in West Virginia or around… I do have some friends out of state that are regenerative farmers that support me, want to see this, and I’m not a bureaucrat, by any stretch of the imagination. I do believe in the Constitution and protecting it absolutely to the letter. I’ve done extensive study of our founding fathers and of their establishment of the Constitution, the history around the founding of the country, and I well understand the Constitution and the intent behind it with protecting our individual rights,” Ramey said.
“And with my 31 years of military service, I didn’t serve to protect the government of this country. I served to protect the people of this country and this service, with running for office, is just an extension of the service that I’ve spent 31 years to do. I’m not about protecting the bureaucratic system,” Ramey concluded.
Richard: Well, I want to thank you very much for coming on today and hope you will watch and will make informed choices and we know you’re running on the Republican ticket for Commissioner of Agriculture. And so, they can vote on June 9th.