THERE IS MONEY IN FOOD
Once upon a time every little community had a butcher who slaughtered livestock and poultry and sold fresh meat and poultry to the local residents. Today, meat is not only shipped hundreds of miles across the nation but thousands of miles around the globe. The little hometown butchers have been put out of business by the multinational corporations who dominate the food industry. While the United States is slaughtering more livestock and poultry than at any time in our history, only four companies are doing the butchering. The nation's meat processing industry is now dominated by four companies; Tyson Foods, Excel (which is owned by Cargill), Swift and Smithfield. Smithfield is the nation's largest pork producer and recently bid $363.5 million to purchase Farmland Foods pork division from bankrupt Farmland Industries. Smithfield processes 20 million hogs each year of which they only purchase eight million. They grow over half their kill in their own integrated operations. Smithfield also has facilities in Canada, France, Poland, the UK, Brazil, Mexico and China. Smithfield has a worldwide workforce of over 40,000 people. It's no wonder that the independent hog farmer is out of business.
Farmers and ranchers are no longer a part of the Agricultural Industry. Steve Cady, executive director for the Organization for Competitive Markets, defines the the Ag Industries as packers, retailers, importers, exporters and other corporate industry players. According to the Ag Industry giants, "farmers and ranchers are input suppliers." One agricultural giant speaking in Hong Kong said, "There is no cattle, hog, corn or soy industry. It is called protein for the human stomach. We don't care what people eat, as long as people eat, we make money."
How can a system such as this exist in a nation with a Justice Department capable of enforcing anti-trust laws that are presently on the books? Money may not buy happiness but it will buy politicians. Some of the agricultural corporations keep money flowing into the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee. During the last election agribusiness "donated" $1,072,242 in Political Actions Committee money to eight Republicans and five Democratic members of the committee. The biggest spenders were the American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, CornAgra and Cargill.
Don't be misled into thinking the Cattlemen's Organization and the Pork Producers are farm oriented. Those organizations are in name only and follow the wishes of the multinational corporations that have bought into their offices. ConAgra spend $30,759 and Cargill followed with $12,000. Henry Bonilla, Republican from Texas and chairman of the Subcommittee that holds the purse strings on the USDA, received $250,414 from Agribusiness. It is quite obvious that the Department of Agriculture is staffed with former executives of the meat and poultry industry.
Remember this: As long as people eat, the multinational corporations make money.
© 2003 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
"Don't be misled into thinking the Cattlemen's Organization and the Pork Producers are farm oriented. Those organizations are in name only and follow the wishes of the multinational corporations that have bought into their offices."