Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Big Agra - whoo whoo

Ok, this shouldn't be new to anyone.... but apparently the National Cattlemen's Beef Association used marketing money generated under the Checkoff program for lobbying purposes.  Both the NY Times and the Atlantic had good coverage on the misuse of funds.

What I don't understand is why the beef industry even needs to be in the checkoff program.  Since the program is suppose to "improve the market position of the covered commodity by expanding markets, increasing demand, and developing new uses and markets" - I don't see where beef doesn't have the market covered.  Aside from soy-burgers (which really isn't a beef alternative) -- what is the competition?  Don't they have the market cornered on beef?

No wonder we don't have real farmer's anymore ... it's impossible to out spend the large businesses.  The only good thing out of this is as the Atlantic put it we can "Chalk one up for this administration's attempt to be transparent".  I honestly don't think we need to be providing subsidies to agri-business.  Once food becomes a production process and people are removed from it, one doesn't know how much is propaganda and how much is real (as in this case with Fair Oaks Farms who promote themselves as a small family run farm but until I read the article and found out it wasn't - which kinda pissed me off since I made a major effort to find their brand at one point).

Another rant done. :)

Basically, get to know your local farmer, buy local, organic - as most small farmer's are organic and sustainable (too expensive to buy all those chemicals).  :)


  1. I think the beef industry's competition is chicken, since everyone thinks chicken is "healthier", which is mainly what they're marketing against.

  2. My acupuncturist (who is a vegetarian) actually recommended I avoid mass produced chicken, as he understand it is highest in hormones, antibiotics, "really tough to digest", and "grass fed organic beef is better for you, if you feel you need to eat meat". I told him I eat only free range, organically fed, hormone free chickens who asked to please be killed at the end of their long and fulfilling lives =)

  3. Checkoff program? Checkoff Program? Set your phasers to "STUN" commander checkoff! LOL! (don't make postings when full of Caribbean Cruzan rum!)

  4. Pyker:
    ummm... I still don't understand why they need a special program and forced payment by providers. If I sold beef - I wouldn't necessarily want to pay $1 per head or weight or whatever to the cattleman's association.

    here is overview from a public policy center. Now, I'm not sure of who or what this public policy center is associated with... but I do know that it is a government mandate that cattle farmers have to pay. Currently, it is under litigation under freedom of speech and first amendment rights ( see here )

    but mostly - misusing funds that you have forced farmers to pay to buy lobbying. It's just sad that we can't have government without a lot of $. It's like we have lost our way and money is the driving force. The reasons that groups of people joined together to create societies were not for money (as really the first communities didn't use money but barter) but to have a safe place and a strong support network. Easier life. you know?

  5. Joe:
    Yum! Rum!! :) always a good thing... and even better way to post when one is buzzed. Better than being sleepy. And, oddly enough, yesterday when I was reading this... I was laughing to the naming of the program (star track fan? ) -- but then I found out it was because the program was at one time voluntary sign-up. you had to "check-off" a box.

    :) I like your acupuncturist. and mass produced anything is basically bad: environmentally, humanely, socially and for you own health. so, good on ya for free range chickies. btw - my understanding is that they cannot give hormones to CAFO chickens either -- but that doesn't mean they don't pump them with antibiotics.

  6. Ron,
    I am all for an easier life. Had I not banded together with my friends on the inter webs, I'd still be 245lbs and sporting a HA1C above 6.5!

    2 legs good... 4 legs better!

    I need to improve my Spanish, so I can talk to my local small farmer and have him raise some chickens especially for me. Ya veramos - or... Dekhenge. =)

  7. I noticed Ame that you are not using Moderated comments. Have the Chinese spammers not found you yet?

  8. Joe:

    so far Spammer free. I'm hoping that I'm just under the wire for them. not enough hits or some such.

    As for learning Spanish...
    Well, you could raise your own chickens instead. I'm sure DDF would be thrilled. ;)