Browsing Posts in Follow The Money

Small farmers and urban poultry owners alike are threatened by the USDA’s new proposal for animal identification. The agency has proposed a rule that imposes costs and paperwork burdens on farmers, ranchers, backyard poultry owners, sale barns, vets, and state agencies in order to track animals that cross state lines.
The proposed rule is a solution in search of a problem. The USDA has failed to identify the specific problem or disease of concern, and the real focus of the program is helping the export market for the benefit of a handful of large corporations. The agency has also failed to account for the full cost to both private individuals and state governments, creating an unfunded mandate. The new rule will harm rural businesses while wasting taxpayer dollars that could be better spent on the real problems we face in controlling animal disease, food security, and food safety.
Family farmers and ranchers cannot afford additional paperwork and unnecessary expenses. Please help protect our farms and our right to own animals by submitting your comments today!
TAKE ACTION: You can submit comments either online or by mail.
The government’s online system can be difficult to navigate and there is a time limit. We encourage you to write your comments and save them in a document on your computer, then copy and paste them into the online comment form. Also, although only some of the information fields are marked as being “required,” some people have experienced problems when they left fields blank. So for the fields that are not required, you may wish to put “NA” (not applicable) in them to avoid potential problems.
BY MAIL: Docket No.APHIS–2009–0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238
DEADLINE: Friday, December 9, 2011.
Please also send a copy of your comments to your Congressman and Senators. If you don’t know who represents you, you can find out at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov
Here are talking points you can use for your comments, followed by sample comments and more detailed information.
TALKING POINTS:
1) The agency should withdraw the proposed rule. If the export market would benefit from the proposed rule, as the agency claims, then the agribusinesses that export meat should pay the costs and offer economic premiums to livestock producers to encourage them to participate in a voluntary system.
2) The agency needs to identify the specific diseases of concern and analyze how to best address those diseases — including prevention measures — rather than continuing to push a one-size-fits-all tracking program.
3) Significant problems with the proposed regulation include:
  • Imposition of new requirements for identifying chickens and other poultry. Small farmers and backyard poultry owners should not be burdened with identifying and tracking birds, and the agency has not shown any need to impose these new requirements.
  • Applying the new identification requirements to feeder cattle.
  • Applying the requirements to direct-to-slaughter cattle, including both for custom and for retail sales.
  • Not recognizing brands and tattoos as official forms of identification.
SAMPLE COMMENTS: Please personalize these sample comments rather than doing a form letter. The personalization can be just a few sentences at the beginning of the comments, but it does make a significant difference. And if you have time to write more detailed comments, that’s even better!
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I am a __________________ (farmer, local foods consumer, backyard poultry owner, horse owner, etc.). I am very concerned that the proposed rule will __________ (not be workable for my farm; impose costs on my farmers that will then be passed on to me; make it prohibitively expensive for me to order baby chicks from out-of-state hatcheries; etc.)
I urge the USDA to withdraw the proposed rule. If the export market would benefit from the proposed rule, as the agency claims, then the meat packing companies that export meat should pay the costs and offer economic premiums to livestock producers to encourage them to participate in a voluntary system. For disease control, the agency needs to focus on preventative measures rather than after-the-fact tracking.
There are significant problems with the proposed rule:
  • The imposition of new requirements for identifying chickens and other poultry. Small farmers and backyard poultry owners should not be burdened with identifying and tracking birds, and the agency has not shown any need to impose these new requirements.
  • Applying the new identification requirements to feeder cattle.
  • Applying the requirements to direct-to-slaughter cattle, both for custom and for retail sales.
  • Not recognizing brands and tattoos as official forms of identification.
Sincerely,
Name
Address
City, State Zip
MORE INFORMATION
The program is fundamentally flawed because it is not designed to address the real problems we face, and it imposes burdens on producers for the benefit of Big Agribusiness’ export markets.
We have asked USDA for data showing where the problems are in tracking animals currently. Rather than provide that data, USDA hand-picked a few anecdotes, out of the millions of animals in this country. But the agency’s unsupported claims do not justify imposing broad new tracking requirements. Small farms are not the source of most disease problems in this country, yet the proposed rule will burden them unfairly.
POULTRY: Small-scale, pastured, and backyard poultry will be particularly hard hit by the proposed rule. While the large confinement operations will be able to use “group identification,” the definition of the term does not cover most independent operations. Since thousands of people order baby chicks from hatcheries in other states, these birds cross state lines the first day of their lives. Even if the farmer or backyard owner never takes the bird across state lines again, they will have to use individually sealed and numbered leg bands on each chicken, turkey, goose, or duck to comply with the language of the proposed rule.
Even if the definition of “group identification” were changed to cover small operations, the result would be new paperwork requirements on almost every person who owns chickens, turkeys, or other poultry. The agency has entirely failed to justify imposing these burdens on poultry owners.
CATTLE: Along with new identification requirements imposed on all breeding-age cattle, the proposed rule would require identification and paperwork on calves and young cattle (“feeder cattle”), even though there’s no evidence that such requirements will help disease control. In addition, veterinarians and sale barns will have to keep records for 5 years, even though many of these cattle will have been consumed years earlier, creating mountains of useless paperwork.
Producers will only be able to use brands or tattoos as identification if their States enter into special agreements. State agencies will have to build extensive database systems to handle all of the data, creating problems for States’ budgets.
HORSES: The proposed rule also requires that horse owners identify their animals before crossing state lines. Although most, if not all, horses that are shipped across state lines are already identified in some fashion, the proposed rule creates a new complication: Whether or not a physical description is sufficient identification will be determined by the health officials in the receiving state, leaving vets and horse owners struggling with significant uncertainty as they have to anticipate what will be allowed.
SHEEP, GOATS, and HOG: The draft rule also covers sheep, goats, and hogs that cross state lines, essentially federalizing the existing programs which have been adopted state-by-state until now.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, go to www.farmandranchfreedom.org/Animal-ID-2011

PMB #106-380 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW – Washington, DC 20016 US

Team Obama Regulates Goat Herders’ Workplaces

Audrey Hudsonby Audrey Hudson
08/24/2011

 

The Obama administration is setting new workplace regulations to assist foreign workers who fill goat herding positions in the U.S. , including employee-paid cell phones and comfy beds.

These new special procedures issued by the Labor Department must be followed by employers who want to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform sheep herding or goat herding activities. It describes strict rules for sleeping quarters, lighting, food storage, bathing, laundry, cooking and new rules for the counters where food is prepared.

“A separate sleeping unit shall be provided for each person, except in a family arrangement,” says the rules signed by Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training administration at the Labor Department.

“Such a unit shall include a comfortable bed, cot or bunk, with a clean mattress,” the rules state.

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, unearthed the policy in the “ Federal Register,” the massive daily journal of proposed regulations that Washington bureaucrats publish every day.

Under the Obama Administration, the nanny state has imposed 75 new major regulations with annual costs of $38 billion.

“This captures what is wrong with government,” Katz said. “I could not have made this up.”

With unemployment holding steady at 9% and government regulations adding more burden to small businesses, such as those run by ranching families, Katz said, bureaucrats aren’t helping.

“Instead of remedying the problem, the regulations make it that much harder,” Katz insisted. “We may need a whole set of regulations just to define what a comfortable bed is. I imagine it’s not straw.”

The new lighting standards say that in areas where it is not feasible to provide electrical service such as tents or mobile trailers, lanterns must be provided. “Kerosene wick lights meet the definition of lantern,” the regulations say.

“When workers or their families are permitted or required to cook in their individual unit, a space shall be provided with adequate lighting and ventilation.”

“Wall surfaces next to all food preparation and cooking areas shall be of nonabsorbent, easy-to-clean material. Wall surfaces next to cooking areas shall be of fire-resistant material,” the regulations say.

“It makes you wonder,” Katz said, “how they ever did this before the government got involved?”

“Who knew we needed all of this federal help for herding goats?” Katz quipped.

 


Audrey Hudson, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a Congressional Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades — on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court.

Is the HSUS really humane? Is it a group designed to solicit millions from animal lovers and at the same time destroy ranchers and farmers who own and care for most American animals? Watch this short film for the facts. Brad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJUiSjSw0Gc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Note:Sec Vilsack knows that 16% of the US 2010 consumed beef was imported. He knows that for the last 21 years the USA has not produced enough beef to feed the nation. Why then, pray tell, does he think it is important to export beef to China, much of which has to be purchased outside the USA? Why would the marble halls of USDA contain people so far removed from the real world to assume it commercially feasable to force mandatory electronic ear tags on nearly a hundred million US cattle just to sell a few ocean containers of beef to China? Who comes up with this math? The cattle ID enforcement brain-child is not about exporting! It is not about livestock disease!

–Editor

Inside U.S. Trade

Daily News

Vilsack Indicates New Traceability Rule Will Help Exports, But Exact Impact Unclear

Posted: May 23, 2011

A soon-to-be-released proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) imposing a mandatory animal traceability system will help win more market access for U.S. meat producers by enhancing the ability of the U.S. government to respond to an animal disease outbreak, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at a May 12 House Agriculture Committee hearing.

“One of the concerns that we often hear from our trading partners is [about] the capacity to basically trace back at least to the state of origin any problem with animal health, which is why this traceability system is important,” Vilsack said.

Only about 30 percent of cattle producers participate in the current, voluntary traceability system, Vilsack said, and the current system does not “provide us the certainty and the guarantee” that the new system will. “So we think we’re going to get much more acceptance from this effort, and that should reassure our trading partners,” he said.

One meat packing industry source agreed that a comprehensive traceability system is important to expanding exports of beef to the European Union, which has so many information requirements for imports that traceability while not expressly required is necessary nevertheless. A mandatory system could enable more companies to ship there, he said.

Japan, which currently restricts access to its market to U.S. beef exports from cattle younger than 20 months, may be more willing to further open its beef market in light of a new, mandatory traceability system, this source said, because the United States could argue it is better equipped to deal with any animal health problem.

While the new system is intended to be comprehensive and mandatory, it is unclear whether it would meet the demands of all U.S. trade partners.

For instance, China has demanded that the United States implement a system that allows cattle to be traced back not only to their state of origin, but to the farm where they were born. China has said the United States must meet this condition before it will accept beef imports from the United States (Inside U.S. Trade,Nov. 12).

A spokeswoman for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would not comment on whether the new proposal would be able to meet that requirement. She also would not give a more firm timeline for the proposal’s release than the one offered by Vilsack, who said it would be published by “late spring or early summer.”

But there are signs that the program would not go as far on traceability as China has demanded.

While mandatory, the new program will only apply to animals moving interstate, as these animals pose the biggest risk for spreading disease nationwide, according to a March USDA report giving the initial outlines of the proposal.

Before cattle are moved and sold across state lines, they will be affixed with a tag that bears a code indicating the state or American Indian tribe of origin and a unique numeric identifier. The state or tribe where the animal originated will then be responsible for maintaining detailed information of the animal’s origin.

This means that, in the case of a disease outbreak, it could be traced back tothe farm from which it came.

But Bill Bullard, CEO of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), said in an interview that while the system strengthens the government’s current ability to conduct trace-backs, it will likely not enable the government to trace back all cattle to their place of birth.

For example, if a cow changed hands several times within a state before being moved across state lines, state records would reflect only the farm where the cow was held last. That said, authorities could rely upon brands or other records kept by ranchers to trace the animal back to its farm of origin in these instances, Bullard said.

In the case of a cow that was raised and slaughtered in the same state and never moved to another, it is possible that no records would be kept under the new system. So-called “slick cows,” those with no brands and no ear tag, could also cause potential identification problems if record-keeping was not detailed, Bullard acknowledged.

So could a cow whose ear tag had fallen off, he added one reason his organization is pushing USDA to maintain the hot-iron brand as a recognized form of official identification.

The focus of the program is cattle, although it will also include changes to the way horses and poultry are tracked; regulations on swine, along with sheep and goats, will not be affected, according to the USDA report.

According to a spokeswoman for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the new rule will be announced on the APHIS homepage and posted on Regulations.gov for a 60-day comment period.

“Once the comment period has closed, no comments will be accepted,” the spokeswoman said. “Consideration and response [to] all submitted comments will appear in the final rule 12 to 15 months after the close of the comment period.”

Bullard said the forthcoming proposal addresses the primary criticisms of the failed National Animal Identification System program (NAIS): that a traceability system would violate ranchers’ confidentiality and leave them unfairly exposed to liability suits in cases of food poisoning. They had also worried about the cost of the program.

The new proposal solves these issues by storing information in databases at the state level or with tribes, rather than at the federal level, where it could potentially be subject to freedom of information requests, Bullard said.

Ranchers worried that kind of producer data could be used by meat packers to gain leverage in negotiating prices, or by people who became sick after eating bad meat and wanted to sue everyone in the supply chain, he explained.

Allowing the use of cheap, metal ear tags instead of the more costly electronic tags proposed under NAIS also largely solves the problem of cost, Bullard said.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said he was not familiar with the upcoming proposal but emphasized that his group has favored a voluntary approach in the past.

“Our policy has supported voluntary traceability programs,” Stallman told reporters at a May 17 press lunch, adding that some of the group’s members are involved in animal identification for more premium markets.

“There’s some involved in that,” he said. “So they’re not [all] opposed to the idea of traceability. What they’ve been opposed to is who has the information and how much is it going to cost, and how’s the information going to be used,” he said, echoing similar worries to those expressed by Bullard.

But Bullard called other parts of the forthcoming proposal a “broken promise” to his members because USDA had assured them that hot-iron brands would still be considered official identifiers under the new system, and that cattle under 18 months old would not be covered.

Bullard said the latest draft of the proposal recognizes only metal or electronic ear tags as official identifiers and would begin to cover cattle of all ages once 70 percent of cattle older than 18 months roughly the breeding age have been registered in the tracing system.

This version of the proposal has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget and should be released soon, he added, but R-CALF is urging USDA not to publish it until those provisions are changed.

His group wants branding to be recognized as a universal identifier because ear tags can easily fall off, or be replaced by thieves. Under the proposal, brands could only be recognized through special state-to-state agreements. In the interview, Bullard also said that including younger “feeder” cattle in the system is unnecessarily burdensome.

“Our position is, there has been no demonstrated need to identify these younger animals,” Bullard said.

“We have been highly successful in eradicating diseases by focusing only on the breeding herd. And so we want to focus on the breeding herd, and when that is accomplished, we want to do a needs assessment to determine if the additional cost and burden upon the industry outweigh the benefits of the program.”

“We believe that these feeder cattle are already sufficiently traceable during their relatively short lifespans,” he added, “[and] that there is no need to mandate their identification at this time.”

This is re-posted without permission, I hope they don’t mind. This is a good article about food safety and the FDA. Click in the title below to go to National Center for Policy Analysis

More FDA Authority Won’t Improve Food Safety

With as many as 5,000 Americans dying every year from food-borne illnesses, consumers would obviously benefit from a safer food supply. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act won’t help us reach that goal, says Gregory Conko, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The real meat of the food safety legislation is its expansion of risk reduction rules called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), which already apply to meat, poultry and seafood producers. HACCP programs require companies to examine their production streams, identify points where pathogens or other hazards may enter the system and take steps to make those processes safer.

* At the margin, HACCP probably has resulted in modest safety improvements for meat, poultry and seafood; so, in theory, expanding HACCP to more facilities seems to make sense.
* As implemented by regulators, however, HACCP tends to smother firms in paperwork and impose rigid, costly and out-of-date practices that simply have not kept up with changes in the food industry.
* That rigidity also discourages firms from developing innovative new processes and practices that could deliver real food safety improvements.

The legislation also grants the FDA the power to order product recalls. With public and media pressure for authorities to “do something” any time there is a food-borne illness outbreak, an FDA with unlimited power could be expected to order recalls on countless products that are perfectly safe, with predictable impacts on prices and consumer choice, says Conko.

* Recall what happened in June 2008, when the FDA encouraged a voluntary recall of tomatoes seemingly linked to that year’s major salmonella outbreak.
* Countless supermarkets, restaurants and consumers threw out crates of tomatoes in a scare that cost the industry an estimated $100 million in losses before the FDA realized the problem was actually tainted jalapeño peppers.

In the end, increasing the FDA’s regulatory authority in this way would waste taxpayer money on activities unlikely to improve safety, while driving many small and medium-sized producers out of the market and raising the cost of the food we eat.

Source: Gregory Conko, “More FDA Authority Won’t Improve Food Safety,” Forbes, December 2, 2010.

For text:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/02/fda-regulation-food-safety-opinions-contributors-gregory-conko.html?boxes=opinionschannellatest

For more on Regulatory Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=38

S. 510 will make your food more expensive and less safe. It will drive many small farms out of business. The leaders of the “lame duck” Congress want to pass this falsely named “food safety” bill NEXT WEEK, but . . .

They’ll need 60 votes to break Sen. Coburn’s “hold” on the bill.

That means we can defeat S.510 with just 40 votes, but we must apply the pressure now!

Please send a letter right now telling your Senators to oppose S. 510.

You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

S.510 will crush family farms and small businesses with excessive regulations – even though they were NOT the source of recent food safety problems.

S.510 also violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the FDA to invade and search farms and food producers without court permission.

If you think the FDA will use this new power responsibly, think again. David Gumpert reports that the FDA shut down two raw-milk cheese-makers for the presence of the pathogen listeria, even though . . . http://tinyurl.com/2e5x2sq

* Nobody got sick
* The FDA almost never shuts down companies for the mere presence of pathogens – even when people DO get sick
* Companies have previously been allowed to clean things up, rather than shut down.

If the FDA is starting to behave like this now, just imagine how abusive it will be under S.510?

Finally, it must be stressed that big agribusiness has been the source of most recent food safety problems. S.510 will make this problem worse by burdening small producers, and driving them out of business. This will make our food supply more centralized, less diverse, and more dangerous.

Please STOP S.510. This Congress must NOT pass any food safety bill. Remember, the voters have repudiated this Congress, and it’s heavy handed ways.

END LETTER

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The Last Frontier II

By Vaughn Meyer – Nov 5, 2010

Throughout history “The Last Frontier” has been associated with the settling of the West during the 19th century. As children this time frame of history was narrated through history books and multi generation family recollections. Probably some of the most vivid attributes to this period were the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Indian – Whiteman wars, the large cattle barons, huge cattle drives and our very own roughrider president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Near the end of the 1800s we witnessed a new policy of Homesteading which introduced the concept of family production agriculture. This introduction of family ownership and management of agriculture created more incentive for individual achievement and our industry flourished. As agriculture grew it stimulated creativity on the national level which economically and industrially established the U.S. as a world leader.

However as the number of family farms and livestock numbers increased and competition for our product decreased, Congress realizing the need for competition and fair markets for our livestock drafted the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. As the 20th century drew to a close it became apparent to livestock producers that without tools for the enforcement of the P&S Act we still remained at the mercy of the anti competitive practices of the packers.

However during the 2008 Farm Bill debate our Congressional leaders also became aware of the need for rules to enforce competition in the market place and the need to restore fairness within our industry. They commanded the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) under the leadership of GIPSA Administrator Mr. J Dudley Butler to draft rules to enforce the P&S Act. Nearly two years later Mr. Butler and his staff have addressed the congressional mandate and proposed new rules known as the GIPSA Rules.

As with all new game rules which are directed at leveling the playing field the opponents are those who possessed an unchecked advantage over other key players. In this case the packing industry, through its affiliated voices of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI), has realized a 90 year old reign over the production side of our industry. They are squealing louder than stuck hogs and labeling Administrator Butler and his GIPSA rules as the destruction of the industry.

In a recent attempt to degrade Mr. Butler’s motives they portray him as a litigation happy trial lawyer who is attempting to drum up business for his post GIPSA years. Mr. Butler and his boss, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, have been accused of being indifferent for not considering the request by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and 114 other congressmen to delay the GIPSA rule with another economic analysis study. They also connect him to a few so called “other liberal – leaning cattle organizations”.

What critics of Administrator Butler fail to mention is that similar to the other 955,000 livestock producers Mr. J. Dudley Butler is a producer from Mississippi and a former ranch partner from Wyoming. As a fellow producer from S.D. maybe we should look at the producer side of this GIPSA Administrator like:

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler possesses compassion for his fellow livestock producers as he has witnessed the individual sorrow and defeat of the 370,000 producers and their spouses and children as they lost their livelihoods!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has witnessed the hunger and suffering of children in other countries who have insufficient production agriculture!

MAYBE… J Dudley Butler has experienced first hand the destruction of family enterprise hog and poultry farming and wishes to prevent the same coercion and threats from raping the cattle industry!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler foresees the 20% drop in producer carcass share over the past 20 years is correlated to the smallest U.S. cow herd since 1952 which will have a profound effect on the future safety and procurement of our nation’s food supply!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler noticed that Senate Ag Chairman Collin Peterson and his 114 colleges were the recipients of over $48.6 million of Agri Pac campaign contributions!

MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler has observed the past 90 years of unchecked pilfering of our industry by the packing industry and affiliates and he realizes a change to honest moral values is necessary for the survival of agriculture!

JUST MAYBE… Mr. J Dudley Butler notices the similarities of the “Last Frontier” of the 1800’s and the “Last Frontier” of the present beef industry which ironically is precipitated by the same packing industry. Possible he also recognizes that a United States without a viable livestock industry to spur prosperity in our cities may well become the “Last Frontier” of the world!

In summary, Mr. Paul Engler of Cactus Feeders testified in Ft. Collins that as a child he bought his first calves to feed and today he feeds millions annually. Just maybe Mr. J Dudley Butler, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and US Attorney General Eric Holder realize that that would not be possible in today’s broken market system. Just maybe they and hundreds of thousands of fellow producers are attempting to salvage a market system that will provide similar opportunities for future generations!

As livestock producers we can restore U.S. family agriculture and rebuild our rural communities through comments of support for the GIPSA rule at comments.gipsa@usda.gov

Or Fax to 202-690-2173, or at the Federal e-rulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov

Thank you.

Vaughn Meyer, a concerned livestock producer

Reva, SD

WHY FARM PUBLICATIONS AND FARM BROADCASTERS WON’T TELL THE TRUTH
By Derry Brownfield
November 2, 2010

NewsWithViews.com

As Ben Roberts so eloquently stated in his book, Past, Present, and How We Can Survive For The Future in the Beef Cattle Business, “Five generations of cattlemen have lived through repeated successions of boom and bust. The ups and downs were serious problems in the past. Today, they cause even greater hardships, and cattlemen are squarely against the need to smooth out the problems we have in the beef cattle industry.” As far back as the 1860’s, four families, Swift, Armour, Hammond and Morris, launched the meat packing business and soon found that by working together they could control the meat market to their mutual advantage. The meat packing industry and the way packers secure their livestock has changed very little in almost 150 years. Today only four companies control the beef business: Tyson – Cargill – JBS Swift – National Beef. Today’s system of marketing slaughter-ready cattle is rigged and the cattle producers are abused.

In 1921 Congress realized that livestock farmers didn’t have a FAIR marketplace and passed the Packers & Stockyards Act. This 89 year old law has never been fully enforced. Recently the United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Department of Justice, decided to level the playing field between the meat industry and the livestock and poultry producers, to allow farmers and ranchers to receive a fair price for their production.

On August 27th, the USDA and the DOJ held a workshop type meeting in Ft. Collins, Colorado where the public could be heard. Approximately 2000 farmers, ranchers and consumers packed the meeting place. During the all day session many voices were heard and the meat industry was there in full force to discourage the USDA and the DOJ from doing their job. The agricultural (farm) news media, just like ABC – NBC – CNN and the other secular news companies, is controlled by their advertisers. The big spenders – the multinational corporations – control what goes out over the air, what is printed and who receives the information.

R-CALF President, Dr. Max Thornsberry, pointed out how the farm publications tried to “down play” the Ft. Collins meeting and discourage farmers and ranchers from attending. Dr. Thornsberry quoted: Beef Magazine, “The meeting in Ft. Collins will inevitably be looked back on as a colossal waste of time and energy; it will do nothing to affect real opportunities like building beef demand. The meeting will be a sideshow, but the rules and their effects are anything but.”

Beef Today reported, “They seem to be shooting into the wind. I bet there’s some of that very kind of shooting at Ft. Collins next week.” Drover’s Journal stated, “The parade of cowboys from both sides to Ft. Collins is wasted effort and wasted resources.” Dr. Max stated, “These editorials attempted to discourage attendance or draw attention away from the joint hearing on competition in animal agriculture, before the meeting even took place.”

For over 40 years I was a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters and the multinational corporations were many of my accounts. Up until the last decade I considered most of those farm supply companies to be honest, reputable and fair minded businesses. I’m sure there are still a few honest corporations out there who really want to help their customers, but a majority of the CEOs of those multinationals look only at the bottom line of the balance sheet.

It’s one thing that so many of these large corporations mistreat the people they rely on for their profits, but the fact that the agriculture media promotes them is pathetic. Just as the farm publications won’t “write” the truth about these companies, the farm broadcasters won’t “tell” the truth. Many of the writers and talkers don’t know any better, but the majority are afraid to speak out for fear of losing the “advertising dollars.” Since I receive no advertising dollars from Tyson, Cargill, Monsanto or any of the biggies, gaining enough income to stay on the air becomes a problem, even so, I will continue to inform my listeners as to what is taking place.

These corporations send audio messages, news releases and interviews to broadcasters and publishers who use them exactly as the public relations firms have them written. My conscience will not allow me to be a spokesperson for an organization that is destroying American farm life, which made this nation great.

Dr. Max has an excellent idea. He says: “I think to be an editor of one of these magazines it should be a requirement to have to feed two pens of fat cattle a year, and to independently market them.” This should hold true for farm broadcasters as well. I’ve been farming since I was 16 years old and in 62 years of buying, selling and being taken advantage of, I have learned a lot. It’s sad that the bulk of the farm media have become nothing more than choir members that sing the lyrics written by their advertisers.

(c) 2010 Derry Brownfield – All Rights Reserved

Derry Brownfield was born in 1932 and grew up during the depression. He is a farmer and a broadcaster. Derry attended the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He taught Vocational Agriculture several years before going to work as a Marketing Specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Derry served as Director of the Kansas City Livestock Market Foundation at the Kansas City Stockyard prior to establishing himself in farm broadcasting.

Derry started farming when he was 16 years old and received the Future Farmers of America State Farmer degree in 1949. Since that time the Brownfield Farm has grown to over 1000 acres maintaining a herd of 200 registered Charolias cows.

In 1972, Derry and his partner established the Brownfield Network which now serves 250 radio stations throughout the Midwest with news and market information. In 1994, Derry started his own syndicated radio talk show and he is one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in America. The Derry Brownfield Show can be heard on approximately 80 radio stations in 23 states. With his entertaining sense of humor and witty commentary he has captured audiences for over 30 years. His ability to present an informative talk show while being light and colorful is why he has a large loyal listening audience.

Derry Brownfield is a practical farmer, a practical business man and a very entertaining speaker. He travels extensively throughout the country speaking about his common-sense point of view.

Web Site: www.derrybrownfield.com

E-Mail: derrybrownfield@learfield.com

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