The Six Unapproachable Loaves

Courtesy of Tom Giessel

Posted in General Advocacy | Leave a comment

Food Sleuth Radio, Mike Callicrate Interview by Melinda Hemmelgarn on PRX

click to listen

by Food Sleuth Radio

Check it out: OCM’s Mike Callicrate joins Food Sleuth Radio this weekend, exposing consolidation and corruption in our meat markets.

“U.S. citizens don’t get the laws that benefit them; they get the laws that benefit global corporations that search the world for the cheapest of everything and then import that into the highest consuming market, which today is still the United States.” – Mike Callicrate

Listen here

Posted in General Advocacy | Leave a comment

Where’s the Beef?

by Gilles Stockton

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue probably expects that his press release announcing more access to Japan’s market for U.S. Beef will have cattle ranchers dancing a jig.  But frankly, there is not enough of a musical beat in this trade agreement to cause anyone to even tap their toes. All that Japan did was lift a ban on importing beef from cattle more than thirty months of age. 

What kind of meat comes from cattle more than thirty months of age – hamburger! We don’t export hamburger; we import hamburger.  We import so much hamburger that the cull cows I sold this spring brought just 52 cents a pound. For the past sixteen years Japan had been buying this type of meat from Australia or South America. 

Why would they start importing this beef from the United States and if we were to export what we have, we would in turn need to import the same thing from Australia or South America.  It makes little sense and I suspect that to come up with the promised annual $200 million more in beef exports, Secretary Purdue must have gathered his staff, passed around a jug of cheap wine and a bong until someone became inspired enough to shout out the magic number.

Thinking about the whole issue of the Japanese beef trade just makes me mad.  In 2003 a cow that had been recently imported from Canada was diagnosed with Classical Mad Cows Disease (BSE).  Our veterinary authorities did the responsible thing and shut off cattle and beef imports from Canada.  Other countries followed suit and suspended imports from both Canada and the US, as they were required to do by international veterinary protocols. 

Thankfully it turned out the U.S. did not in fact have a BSE infection problem. However, Canada did, and continued to discover BSE infected cattle, the last one in 2015. So, what did our government do after it became clear that there was no BSE in the American herd, they opened up imports of cattle from Canada. In 2005 our government apparently decided that we love our Canadian brothers and sisters so much that we volunteered to share in their international disease status. Japan of course extended their ban of US beef since meat from Canadian cattle was intermixed with our product. This move restored the ability of the beef packing cartel to manipulate the U.S. cattle market. Between the reduced exports and the packer market manipulation, US cattle prices went down. 

It wasn’t until 2013, years after the Bush Administration deliberately put the US beef supply in jeopardy, that Japan allowed the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. By then it had become clear to everyone that younger cattle did not have the time to develop BSE. Secretary Purdue is now taking credit for opening up the Japanese market to meat from older cows. I am sorry but this is just a big “nothing” burger.

If Secretary Purdue wants to get cattle ranchers dancing in the streets, he should do something to fix the market that is giving us 52 cents for culls and $1.50 for feeder calves.  He can start by calling for Congress to restore Country of Origin Labeling for beef.  He could then follow up by signing off on the GIPSA Rules that give contract growers the right to sue chicken, pork, and beef integrators for fraudulent market practices. Then to really make us happy, he could adopt the recommendation of the “Captive Supply Reform Act” and require beef packers to actually bid in a transparent competitive market for their fat cattle supplies.

Now if Secretary Purdue did all that, I for one will break out of my slow cowboy two step shuffle and try some fancy Western Swing moves with my honey. 

Posted in General Advocacy | Leave a comment

The Neutral, 1931

courtesy of Tom Giessel

Cattle grazing near St. Francis, Kansas

The Neutral

In talking with a man the other day,
About the perils in the farmers’ way,
Although he claims to know the farmers’ plight,
He said, “I’m neutral; I don’t like a fight.

A neutral is a man controlled by fear;
Is one who holds his own wellbeing dear;
Who dares not take a stand, bold, unafraid,
Because his courage can not make the grade

A man with guts will always make a choice;
And, right or wrong in choosing, will rejoice
In fighting for the things he thinks are right;
Nor heeds his bitter foe’s imposing might

A real He-Man will meet the stinging blow,
Launched at him by angry, spiteful foe,
And take it standing, ‘though he may be licked,
Instead of humbly waiting to be kicked

The foe may be a privileged wealth’s phalanx;
May be a smooth-tongued traitor in our ranks;
But all the fiends from hell will not alarm
The men who dare to fight for home and farm

The time is here when men who lead the way
To bring about a brighter, better day
For Agriculture, must stand up four square,
And face the opposition’s brazen glare

-A. M. Kinney

Posted in General Advocacy | Leave a comment

To Abandon Our Farms, 1932

courtesy of Tom Giessel

To Abandon Our Farms?

Our good friend, J.D. Stols of Beattie, Kansas, sends us a clipping from a St. Joseph newspaper which throws some light on a situation which is confronting us as a nation of farmers and business men. “This article hits the nail on the head,” writes Mr. Stosz. “Just as Brother John Frost stated in last week’s Tax Relief Department article, at the present time the farmer pays taxes on his capital whether he receives an income or not.”

The clipping, which is dated at Urbana, Ill., and sent out by the United Press, follows:

Photo by Dennis Schroeder Jay Frost, left, and Randy Lewis separate calves to wean them in pens at Hanna Ranch south of Colorado Springs.

A nation of abandoned farms with farm owners driven into tenantry unless the United States develops a healthier attitude towards agriculture was predicted today by Eugene Davenport, International far authority,, in an interview with the United Press.

Davenport, for twenty-seven years dean of the college of agriculture, University of Illinois, and former president of the college of agriculture at Sao Paulo, Brazil, declared no class of business is as sorely affected as farming. Furthermore, he said, agriculture is less able to take care of itself during boom times than any other business.

“Farming is a private business but agriculture is a national enterprise,” Davenport said, “because the farmer produces the food of all people and because he is in possession of the national estate.

“It is bad for society when any class is crowded to the wall, but it is doubly sad when that happens to the farming class. The first thing a farmer does is deny himself and his family everything except the bare necessities. That virtually removes some 6,000,000 families from the market and that is about where they are now.

“If the farmer permits his buildings and land to deteriorate he is depleting the national wealth as well as his own.”

There are several reasons, Davenport said, why the farmer cannot care for his interests efficiently in boom times “unless it be in the early days of a great war when food prices are abnormally high.”

“First of all,”, he said, “is the fact that food consumption is limited not only by the family income but by the capacity of the human stomach. This latter stubborn fact fixes an unpassable maximum to the price level of farm commodities outside of textiles.

“But the minimum may go much lower, for every food fad and very fashion that demands the slender figure reduces the farmer’s market. More persons than we realize are now living on half rations or even less. Hence the so-called surplus.

“The farmer’s great handicaps now are increased by the fact that he pays taxes on his capital whether he enjoys an income or not. The state is finding a surprising amount of land on its hands through delinquent taxes. Once off the land, how will society get the farmer back onto the public domain? And what will the state do with the land if it doesn’t get him back?

Posted in General Advocacy | Leave a comment