Nash Farms fled California in order to escape strict regulations, only to face the looming federal restrictions

CHAPEL HILL (Tenn.) – A fourth-generation dairy farmer said that climate change regulations and economic woes could spell doom for her family’s way to live after almost a century.

Stephanie Nash stated that the dairy industry has been under attack for some time. “Instead of educating people via the farmer, they’re educating them via people who have never farmed, and we’re killing our family farmers.”

The Nash family has been involved in dairy farming for 92 years. They face major challenges from rising costs, shortages of labor, and limited support.

Stephanie, 28, and Steven Nash, her father, moved their nearly century-old dairy farm, which was located in California’s San Joaquin Valley, to Tennessee in 2014. This was to escape strict California farming regulations and the high cost of doing business.

Stephanie said that California authorities “regulate us on every step.” This was their experience in California. “We are constantly scrutinized, constantly manipulated, and told what we should do. Farmers, especially my father’s age, don’t want being told how to farm.”

She added, “Water rights, milk price, feed prices and regulations on climate change…we had to fight with Los Angeles, San Francisco on every issue ,.”

Her father also agreed and said that the state had taken an adversarial approach to dealing with farmers.

Steven, 61, said that they weren’t concerned about farmers in the area.

California has the largest agricultural area in the U.S. It produces approximately 40% of the country’s vegetables, fruits, and nuts according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is also the largest producer of wine and dairy products. The state implemented a state statute to limit farmers’ access water in drought situations.

The family’s move to Tennessee saved them from bankruptcy, but the Nashes are worried about some of the rhetoric and proposed legislation from Washington, D.C. around agriculture.

Stephanie, who is also an agricultural activist and singer, said that “they’re making all these regulations and bills, and people living there actually believe it.”

She hopes that her advocacy, the Nash Creamery, and their new cheese factory will suffice to keep the family’s business afloat.

Stephanie said that this is what everyone prays for. “We pray to God for rain, fair prices, and regulations that will not kill our industry.”

Wallace Nash, Steven’s grandfather started milking cows in central California back in 1929. Howard, Steven’s father, purchased the farm a decade later and increased the number of cows from 30 to 200.

Howard fell ill in 1980. Steven, then 20, took over daily farm operations. The herd grew from 200 cows to more than 1,200 over the following 40 years.

Steven said that dairy’s are something he’s always loved. “Seeing a well-bred cow that walks fluidly, has a niceudder, and produces lots of milk is something I really enjoy. This is my satisfaction.”

To supplement their income, the Nashes milk their cows twice daily and grow their own feed. Recently, they opened a creamery as well as a cheese plant.

In February, the USDA forecast the 2020 median farm household income at a loss of $1,840. On average, nearly 90% of a family farm’s income is supplied by another source of income or employment.

According to USDA, small dairy farms are the most sustainable types of farm. They have to deal with decreasing demand for cow’s Milk and consolidation in the industry. This results in smaller farms but more farms. The United States has lost over half its licensed dairy operations since 2003. It now has less than 32,000.

Steven spoke out about the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, saying that “the last farm bill, which was the dairy policy, was put together without a lot input from farmers.”

He said, “They changed their pricing mechanism, which has done is taken almost a billion dollars from the dairy industry, the farming sector and out of my section and moved it to processors, and other people in this industry before it gets it to the grocery shop.”

The 2018 farm bill was amended to reflect the wishes of milk processors. It changed the industry formula that determines fluid milk’s price under the Federal Milk Marketing Order system.

The National Milk Producers Federation stated in an October statement that the change had caused substantial market volatility and resulted in farmers suffering losses of $750 million compared to the Class I formula. “Dairy farmers will continue to bear an unfair and unnecessary price risk when compared with processors in times of unusually high market volatility if there is no solution.”

Fox News’ Steven said that Steven had lost a lot of money. This has been extremely difficult for many people, including myself.

This formula change doesn’t mean that farmers will see an increase in grocery store prices. Moreover, farmers are faced with increasing costs for gas and energy, as well as high feed expenses, and supply chain problems.

Steven stated, “We are a capital intensive business.” “We live and die on feed costs.”

These accounts account for 55%, he said.

He said, “We are not like other businesses that can cut back.” “Cows have to be fed every single day,” he said.

He also stated that supply chain delays and labor shortages were both critical issues.

He said, “We are time sensitive.” “We don’t want to miss the window of opportunity because of a tire or a bearing.”

According to the National Milk Producers Federation, shipping disruptions caused by higher shipping and inventory costs as well as lost export volume and price declines, cost nearly $1 billion to the U.S. dairy sector.

Stephanie posts often on TikTok or YouTube to express her concern for struggling farmers, and to educate others about how certain legislative bills impact the agriculture industry.

“You look at big seed companies, you look at the ethanol plants, you look at all these big investors, again, going back to politicians, what are they investing in?” she said. “Why are they putting all this funding into certain areas? Because they’re going to make more money.”

Stephanie said, “The farmer will be gone and the family farms will be gone and they’ll continue to get richer off stuff like climate change and plant-based agriculture.”

Stephanie warns her followers often about potential threats to the agricultural industry. This includes President Biden’s 30-by-30 plan, which is a federal push for 30% conservation of the nation’s lands, and water resources by 2030.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce also released Conserving and restoring America the Beautiful, which is a preliminary report on conservation. The report states that federal agencies should support programs that encourage voluntary conservation and create new income streams for American farmers, ranchers and forest stewards.

Stephanie said to Fox News that there is a lot money in Washington, D.C. and she’s really afraid that it’s going to persuade people in the USDA go plant-based, go climate change, and to fund all the other stuff… so big-investor farm systems and corporate farmers can continue to farm and have access to our prices in the grocery stores.”

Steven, who plans to pass the farm on to his daughter, stated that Nash Farms received federal aid to address coronavirus-related problems.

He said that while they are useful, they don’t suit his taste. “I want a fair and honest price that reflects the work we do.”

Steven said, “We have a wonderful product.” “Why is the government supporting us when we can’t do it ourselves? This is the core issue.

According to USDA, dairy farmers have received $3 billion or $1 for every $8 of $24.4 billion that was disbursed to farmers since COVID-19 payments started in May 2020.

Steven stated that his farm’s financial stability is in good hands. “I’ve been there many, many times before. We’ll just have the next few months to see what happens.”