Idiocrasy

Sometimes you just can?t make up these things. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent out a ?Greening Headquarters Update? newsletter to its employees in which the department?s Office of Operations encouraged employees to participate in ?Meatless Mondays? while dining in USDA?s cafeterias. The update went on to attack the production of meat in the United States, saying the production of beef has ?a large environmental impact,? and called on USDA employees to ?help yourself and the environment? by not eating meat.

Our own Sen. Jerry Moran noticed the bizarre incongruity of a federal agency undermining the efforts of one of the primary groups it supposedly exists to serve: U.S. farmers and ranchers.

?American farmers and ranchers deserve a USDA that will pursue supportive policies rather than seek their further harm,? he said in a prepared statement. ?With extreme drought conditions plaguing much of the United States, the USDA should be more concerned about helping drought-stricken producers rather than demonizing an industry reeling from the lack of rain.

?I have requested that Secretary (Tom) Vilsack let me know if it is now USDA?s official policy to discourage the consumption of American grown meat,? Moran added. ?It is my hope that the USDA has not abandoned farmers and ranchers in pursuit of policies best left to the Environmental Protection Agency.?

Moran addressed the issue on the Senate floor last Wednesday. USDA?s newsletter, which has since been removed from the USDA website, can be read at moran.senate.gov/public/.

You have to wonder sometimes what goes through the minds of the bureaucrats in Washington. We appreciate the efforts of Sen. Moran to balance the blather of federal idiocrasy with a dose of common-sense democracy. ?DR

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