Keeping up with New Regulations by Marlene Black

It’s a full time job keeping up with new regulations, surfing the net for rules we may not know about, looking up sites to see how many tanker loads full of uninspected Chinese food is slipping through our ports, onto trucks and infiltrating our local food supply. One good site is followed by 20 more good sites and it doesn’t take long to realize, that control of our destiny, is no longer in our hands.

When did all this happen? Were we busy raising young families? Were we on the fields, farming?

Maybe we had that warm fuzzy feeling that someone else was looking after us and doing the right thing. Maybe our culture began to rely too much on experts and professional opinions and we lost faith in our own ability to know right from wrong and to take charge.

I remember one reinvented “field of expertise” came from the book writing, child rearing professionals…many who were so busy writing books that they hadn’t taken time off to have children. Never mind that, they were educated and they knew best so we followed their guidance and gave our children everything or nothing, free time or scheduled time, discipline or no discipline, homework or no homework…depending on what expert opinion you were reading at the time. Only to be followed of course, by the “new and better experts” who gave us their new and better version of the solutions which often were the opposite of the previous professionals…and people were left wondering who to trust, who will help us raise our children. “Mother knows best” just didn’t cut it anymore.

Taking action and fixing problems got replaced with “better get a consultant’s opinion on the problem”, “better get an environmental study of the problem”, “better form a committee or create a task force to look at the problem” and “hire a lawyer in case the expert advice we get is wrong”…and slowly, we got used to inaction. We got used to waiting and waiting. We got used to answering machines; impersonal and unemotional. When we look back in time and recall all the work that was done by our ancestors in their lifetime, you realize that we have saddled ourselves down with heavy baggage that is preventing action and threatening our sanity.

I’ve been wondering lately, when an ordinary opinion just wasn’t good enough. It had to be an “expert” opinion. It used to be that you’d ask someone for their opinion and good or bad, you could decide if you’d heed their advice. And opinions were given fairly frequently…well, if you ask my opinion..etc. Now however, this isn’t good enough. We need an expert opinion on everything and getting this expert opinion isn’t cheap. Experience has been replaced by “printed” knowledge.

So now we have a list of experts. Agricultural experts, food safety experts, health experts and the list is endless and I’m pretty sure, their salary jumps a few notches when they become a certified expert. What I’ve been wondering lately is do you have to do anything specific to get this “upgraded” title. In other words, what proof do you have to show to prove that you are indeed an “expert”? If I’ve never set foot on a plowed field, or planted a seed or drained a ditch or delivered a calf, or harvested a field, or driven a tractor, can I become an agricultural expert? It may surprise you but I think I can. How? I can read a lot of books, write a report about what I have read, and if my memory is good enough, I can pass some tests and after several years in the concrete halls of learning, I can be an agricultural expert.

It’s really quite amazing and even more amazing is that people will look to that person as knowledgeable with an “expert” opinion and the “suits” who make the rules that govern and control the agricultural peasants, will not heed the cries and protests from the masses in the farming community that what they are doing is very, very wrong and taking the rural community down the wrong roads. Oh no, they need not listen to those whose hands work the fields, grow the crops and feed the people, because you see, they have the best advisors with the best advice. They have their agricultural experts.