Special Report: The End of the Trail – How Government Destroyed Free Markets for Family Ranchers



Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s inaction has led to the near-destruction of American family ranchers. Over 17,000 family ranches will disappear this year. Over 100,000 family ranchers have left the profession since 2009. It’s a tragedy as world-renowned American beef experiences record-high prices, grocery retailers seize increasing shares of beef dollars, meat packers manipulate the beef market and prices paid to ranchers, and the ranchers are denied the rewards resulting from raising the best cattle in the world. The problem is made worse because government refuses to enforce the antitrust and GIPSA laws enacted over one hundred years ago to protect consumers and ranchers. The ranchers’ trade associations have been commandeered by pharmaceutical companies, meat packers, and multi-national agricultural companies. Ultimately, America’s food security is at risk and the prices you pay will rise as government allows the end of free markets and family ranchers. This is a special report deserving your attention. The printed report is available in the show’s viewer.

Guests: Robert Taylor, Bill Bullard, Dudley Butler, Mike Callicrate
Learn more at: Organization for Competitive Markets

Music Featured:
“Hard Times” – Don Edwards

American History Minute:
Joshua Chamberlain

This show sponsored in part by
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Callicrate states “NO” for Missouri “Right To Farm” – In MO Vote NO on Amendment 1

Multinational and foreign corporations aren’t family farmers and they aren’t citizens of Missouri. Family farmers already enjoy the “Right to Farm” in Missouri. These strip mining, wealth extracting corporations shouldn’t be allowed protection under the Missouri constitution for their economic, social, and environmental destruction in the state. Vote NO on Amendment 1, protect the interests of family farmers and consumers in Missouri.

LEARN MORE: Missouri Amendment One; An Easier Road to Multinational Corporate Food Takeover:
VIDEO: “This is our constitution, corporations stay out!” – Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell

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Food Hero: Will Harris, Sustainable Livestock Producer Winner of the Growing Green Awards 2014


Will Harris turned his back on conventional farming and adopted a profitable business model for sustainable livestock production. (Youtube)

Every year, the Growing Green Awards honor exceptional leaders and innovators committed to sustainable food and agriculture. Hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) in San Francisco, the 2014 awards have been given to four individuals chosen among hundreds of other candidates across the United States. Winners have been awarded in four categories: Sustainable Livestock Producer, Sustainable Food and Farm Educator, Pollinator Protector, and Regional Food Leader.

“We are delighted to recognize these inspiring leaders. They have undertaken remarkable work to advance sustainable food and agriculture systems through innovative approaches,” said Ann Thrupp, Executive Director of the Berkeley Food Institute.

Will Harris, from the White Oak Pastures farm in Georgia, is the winner in Sustainable Livestock Production.

After decades of raising cattle on pastures purged by pesticides and finishing them on a diet of grain, hormones and antibiotics, Will Harris drastically changed his practices and converted to organic and grass-fed. His Southwest Georgia farm, White Oak Pastures, has been in Harris’ family since 1866. Yet, by the mid-1990s, Harris started to rethink the conventional shortcuts he used to push his cows to the feedlot. Instead of applying toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, Harris learned to prevent overgrazing, protect water resources, and generally promote soil health through intensive land management and rotational grazing. He went further, sending multiple species (five kinds of poultry, hogs, sheep and goats) through his fields in sequence to control weeds and insects. Green pastures now nourish his animals, which in turn aerate and enrich the land with natural fertilizer. In order to respect his livestock from birth to death, Harris constructed a humane-kill abattoir on site (designed with help from Temple Grandin). He proved his business model is scalable, growing White Oak Pastures from a half million dollar enterprise to the largest organic certified farm in Georgia, taking in over US$25 million, annually.

Read Will’s blog post: From Factory Farm to Grass-fed Money Maker

by Nicolas Giroux, Research and Communications Contributor

Young French passionate about sustainable agriculture, Nicolas has an international background in business and cooperation. http://tiny.cc/NicolasGiroux

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Like GM, Food Companies Place Profits Over Safety and Security

Our nation’s food system is at risk!

By Mike Callicrate

Putting people at risk to save a buck isn’t isolated to the automotive industry. In today’s global economy, where the biggest cheater wins, foreign imports of beef and the recent return of Pink Slime add insult to injury for the few remaining independent producers and meat processors struggling to survive. Food companies from Walmart to Chipotle to the mom and pop restaurants that rely on a Sysco food truck are acting contrary to U.S. interests with every transaction involving foreign meat; even worse, when that meat is blended with Pink Slime, food security, food safety and the reputation of our nation’s beef industry is damaged.

droughtThe beef cartel that has monopolized and decimated the U.S. cattle and beef industries is searching the world for the cheapest beef for trading into the most profitable markets. The impact isn’t limited to U.S. ranchers. Australian cattlemen have suffered a disastrous market failure with the loss of their competitive marketplace. In Australia, smaller local and regional packers that once competed for livestock have been driven out of business by bigger global players. In drought-ravaged regions, lack of markets and slaughter plants are forcing cattlemen to watch their cattle starve to death. Others, closer to the few remaining large packing plants – which have mostly been taken over by multinational companies like JBS and Cargill – had no choice last week, but to sell at 48% of the value of the U.S. cattle market. Companies importing this beef, or multinational companies that bring it in from their foreign locations, have around a 30 percent cost advantage over U.S. companies that are committed to sourcing cattle and beef exclusively from domestic sources.

Isn’t this likely the real reason that Chipotle has stopped doing business with local producers in favor of sourcing cheap meat from a huge multinational supplier than can bring it in from anywhere in the world? As the Texas Ag Commissioner pointed out in a recent letter, many domestic producers struggling to keep their ranches afloat would be happy to fill that demand.

Lack of labeling in restaurants and wholesale markets keeps consumers in the dark when they shop or eat out. Country of origin labeling (COOL) only applies to the retail grocery marketplace and only for certain items. There are no rules requiring food service companies or restaurants to disclose where food comes from.

BNRLocal and regional companies selling to wholesale accounts and sourcing strictly U.S. beef have no chance to compete in the wholesale sector, which represents over 50% of total beef sold in the U.S. Even beef marked, “Born and Raised in the U.S.A.” offers no marketing advantage when sold to food service companies and restaurants, without it being mandatory that the person buying the meal is informed about its source. Big food companies, along with USDA, write the rules of trade, intending to keep sources of meat secret, disadvantaging smaller packers and processors and denying consumers the information they need to make informed choices.

After an extraordinary consumer backlash, Pink Slime (a.k.a. Lean Finely Textured Beef) has snuck back into America’s meat. Companies are again increasing their profits by secretly blending Pink Slime into their meat mixes. No label is required on the package. And even though the trim used for the process has proven to consistently contain live pathogens following the manufacturing process, there is no testing of the raw material or pathogen kill-step required – Consumers Beware!

Pink Slime, hidden in the grind of imported meat, gives big companies even more of an advantage over competitors that insist on selling high quality locally produced meat. Without the ability to clearly differentiate their product in a fair and open marketplace, our best and most valued producers – those who believe in quality and believe in supporting their local economies by keeping their business local – will continue to be driven out of business.

If we want a safe and secure national food supply that insures our ability to feed ourselves, it’s time to restrict foreign imports and domestic trade in a way that protects all producers from predatory multinational meat companies. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) should be mandatory for all meats sold to consumers, including the wholesale marketplace and restaurants. Dangerous additives like Pink Slime should be banned, or, at the very least, require prominent labeling on products, menus and signage at eating establishments.

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