The story of the Dollarhite family and their USDA entanglement makes me ill. It also scares me. I'm not a big conspiracy theory person, but I do believe that when someone in the government with a little too much power decides to target an individual or company, that person is pretty much screwed.
We've been considering raising meat rabbits next year. This article is making me think twice about it. Greg and I have been considering ways to use the farm to raise animals with quick return on investment. Meat rabbits would work well because they don't require large pastures, eat grass, are a great accompaniment to chickens, and, well, multiply like rabbits! Rabbit meat is showing up on the menus of more and more quality restaurants and we would do some targeted marketing to build relationships with restuarants in a very wealthy county near us.
But could we be the next USDA target? I sure don't have $90k for fines and I'm sure the Dollarhite family doesn't either. I can't imagine the fight they have ahead of them.
There's been a follow up on this debacle. I don't see this ending well for the Dollarhites. And now I'm nervous about even investigating our options for raising meat rabbits. Who knew Big Brother really was logging every inquiry into the USDA??
Whether it's a small farm or a backyard business, it's scary taking that leap especially when you read stories about how the government, the USDA in particular, has become a bully to farmers. The raw-milk raid in Pennsylvania, now this. Ridiculous.