|I was in Milan, Missouri, yesterday, the home of Premium Standard Farms (PSF), recently fined and ordered to spend $50 million to clean up their environmental messes. If you want to experience the devastating economic and social destruction caused by massive industrial-factory pork production and processing, go to Northern Missouri. Community after community is either dead or dying.Independent pork producers, who once were able to contribute to and support their communities have been bankrupted and replaced by parasites like PSF, Seaboard, and Smithfield. Along with IBP, and with the virtual consent of the U.S. government, these insatiable market predators orchestrated a sly and calculated takeover of the cash markets, which resulted in the industry-wrecking eight-cent hog debacle of 1998. These thieves of money and freedom now own and control the pork industry.
Financially and spiritually broken family pork producers have given up hope in any justice from an obviously corrupted USDA, the agency charged with life saving antitrust law enforcement. For the most part, they have either left the business or been driven into literal serfdom by PSF, Smithfield, and other hog factory companies who now own the hogs. These once independent farmers are now offered employment as little more than hog house janitors.
Hulking hog PSF looms heavy over the weakened, demoralized communities surrounding Milan, crushing them like a feudal warlord of the medieval Dark Ages with his foot on the necks of the peasant serf farmers. Land of opportunity? Here in America, today’s economic refugees, from various parts of the globe, are working for less than living wages in the hog houses and high-speed slaughter plants, so corporate CEOs and managers can live like kings. How could this happen in America?
We should know from history that capitalism without antitrust law enforcement becomes a ruthless dictator and a destroyer of economies and freedom.
My trip to Milan, Missouri again reminded me that the greatest threat to a free society is the concentration of power and wealth into the hands of a few … Something an effective government should guard against!
|PS: In addition to other restrictions, maybe no home should be allowed closer to the waste containment lagoon of the big corporate hog factory than that of the corporate CEO. In fact, let’s take it a step further. Perhaps every farmer should be required to actually live on the land he owns and profits from, intimate with its blessings, needs and limitations, so that he might daily be reminded that he is to care for it, and invest his heart and soul in it, not just mine it.
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“The money and political power of Wall Street has stolen America’s food system, bankrupted our farmers and ranchers, mined our soils, polluted our environment, wasted our precious water, and left us with expensive industrially produced food that makes us sick.” – Occupy Wall Street Food Day, December 2011
Above: Ranching Reboot – Episode 4 – Mike Callicrate, owner of Ranch Foods Direct, sat down with us to talk about all manner of things from cattle markets, to public food spaces, the Bander, his feedlot and the pathway he built to market.
He shares valuable lessons learned from fighting against the commodity production system and how he’s built his own pathway to the consumer.
We talk about small community slaughter plants and public meat spaces and what that could look like going in to the future. We discuss environmental challenges, the food police and what it means when a Dollar General comes to town.
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- This Cattleman's Got A Beef
Photo: Sean Cayton - 2003People producing good food from happy animals, while improving the environment, shouldn’t have to fear the government.
Photo above featured in a 2003 article: This cattleman's got a beef, Mike Callicrate and Ranch Foods Direct take on the big meat packersby Kathryn Eastburn
- BIG Food Exposed
Food Policy & LawE. Coli Confessions Part I
by John Munsell | Oct 11, 2011
Editor's Note: This is the first part in a series written by John Munsell of Miles City, MT, who explains how the small meat plant his family owned for 59 years ran afoul of USDA's meat inspection program. The events he writes about began a decade ago, but remain relevant today.
They say that confession is good for the soul. I've been involved in a series of ugly events since my plant in 2002 recalled 270 pounds of ground beef contaminated with E.coli O157:H7 and now want to admit the embarrassing truth for public review. more
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