have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any
chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.
Vote with your dollars.
According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry
for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the
demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public
a few weeks ago.
This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.
It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.
I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.
My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.
This could happen to any company, good or bad.
The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.
We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.
You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.
will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and
food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."
Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can.
A recession is a transference of wealth from the meek to the bold - Dan Kennedy
I love Dan’s definition of a recession. While it seems hard to nail down the figure, the Fed says $878 billion dollars will circulate through the United States economy in
The question we have to asked ourselves is “how much of that will I capture for my business
Here’s some tips:
Check up on your attitude - W. Clement Stone said in the midst of the depression
“I did know the opportunities were unlimited. For sales are contingent
upon the attitude of the salesman—not the attitude of the prospect.”
It’s very common to have customers remark on fuel cost going up or
food prices increasing or a million other topics that only accentuate
the negative. Resist getting into these conversations.
Work on being a place that is positive and upbeat. Customers buy more from those types of business.
Tap Into Consumer Mentality. Match It – Customers
have money. They are just more reluctant to let go of it in a down
economy. Their mentality has changed. They are holding on to their
money and less likely to spend it frivolously. That doesn’t mean they
won’t spend it or they only want cheap food. Actually quite the
contrary. Many people are looking for a way to make themselves feel
better in less expensive ways.
Talk to your customers about less expensive ways to
have fun, feel good, etc. An example would be offering “special
breakfast package” or a farm visit they can bring the kids to see your
new baby goats etc.
Coach Your Employees or Helpers about How to Talk to Customers – Part
of their job is to sell and influence buying decisions not talk about
their life is or how rotten the state of the economy with customers.
Customers don’t contact you or come to your farm to
hear bad news. They can turn on the radio or read the newspaper if they
want that. They come to you to find something they want and have a
positive buying experience.
Farmers take heed: There’s enough bad news in the
air, without adding fuel to the fire. When customers come to do business
with you, they want to feel good. They want to feel good about buying.
Action Tip: Spend the next few weeks thinking about
positive ways to present your products as well as checking up on
everyone’s attitude at your farm.
Frequently I'm asked about the difference between local, sustainable food and Organic. Although you could find a small farm that is Organic and it be a great place to get your food, for the most part the Organic label is being adulterated at an alarming rate.
Two of the biggest offenders: USDA and the FDA. [more]
yet another move against farmers, the FDA recently took a "no holds
barred" approach to being adversarial to farmers. They attacked one of
If you were wondering if the FDA was your friend as a farmer...it looks like 'no'. The move looks to be an attempt to rid the agency of anyone who might be sympathetic to farmers.
FDA Memo Threatens Agency’s Farmer Employees http://www.lancasterfarming.com/results/FDA-Memo-Threatens-Agency-s-Farmer-Employees
12/25/2010 2:00 PM M.P. Taylor
Just months short of his January retirement from the Food and Drug
Administration, Lonnie Luther received word that his employer deemed his
part-time farming operation a conflict of interest. He had, the memo
said, 60 days to either sell his farm or quit his job.
wasn’t alone. In fact, every FDA employee with any interest in farming
received the same memo. And while FDA officials have put a hold on the
order while the ethics rule on which it is based makes its way up the
bureaucratic ladder for top-level reconsideration, employees fear the
“I feared they might strip me of my retirement annuity”
for refusing to sell or quit, and for going public with the memo,
Luther said. “I still have anxieties and fears about what they might
come up with.”
An FDA official, who would not speak to Lancaster
Farming specifically about Luther’s case and could offer only
background information on the policy, said the agency’s ethics rules
are no different from those of any other government entity, although
clearly they have never been enforced.
At issue is a new
interpretation of the 10-year-old Supplemental Standards for Ethical
Conduct for Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Should an “FDA regulated product” apply to farm crops and food animals?
Vincent Tolino, the ethics and integrity director who wrote the
sell-or-quit memo, decided it did, although he told the Maryland Gazette
newspapers that “there was really no exact point when an
But change it did and, in his memo to
Luther, Tolino stated that “because the ... operations you are involved
in are significantly regulated by FDA, you are prohibited from
retaining this financial interest.”
Luther, a special assistant
to the director of the FDA’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, has
been with the agency since 1974 and the owner of a Damascus, Md., farm
for almost as long. He said that every year he has filed papers
declaring his interest in the farm, where he and wife, Mina, raise
corn, soybeans, hay, beef cattle and show chickens.
asked FDA officials, is the conflict of interest? It was a question to
which he said he received no satisfactory answer.
He has never,
he insists, attempted to parlay his position with FDA into an unfair
marketing advantage for his small farming operation. He owns the farm
“because this is how I want to live. I grew up on a farm and wanted to
continue that lifestyle.”
Katherine Weld, a colleague of
Luther’s who is nowhere near retirement, raises meat goats on her
26-acre farm just outside Frederick, Md. She admits to being “off the
deep end” over the memo and is planning to leave the agency if it
ultimately becomes necessary.
“I’m not going to give up this
lifestyle,” she said of the farm. “I like the hard work and
satisfaction of raising an animal, and I have started to look for
Like Luther, she sees no conflict of interest in her farming operation and job.
“I’m not saying the meat is FDA-approved, and I don’t tell anyone I
work for the FDA,” she said. “Using that information for marketing would
be a problem, and it would be wrong.”
However, she said the
ethics rule has been bent so far that “you can’t sell a tomato out of
your backyard garden,” and she also believes it would bar children from
participating in 4-H activities.
“This isn’t Enron,” she said of the alleged ethics violations.
Although Weld doesn’t personally know of any employee who has sold a
farm, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened since the memo was sent to
FDA employees nationwide.
While they wait for the bureaucracy to
work its will on the ethics rule interpretation, they all live in
“fear the ax is going to fall,” she said.
Since so many of the
agency’s most valued professionals may choose to quit, she thinks the
agency is making a big mistake in beefing up its ethics rule
“If they’re afraid of losing their institutional knowledge, pushing people out the door is not the way to keep them,” she said.
Luther is far less diplomatic in his assessment of the situation,
calling the agency’s ethics staff “a bunch of idiots who have decided to
exercise their intelligence. It’s just nonsense, unbelievable stuff.”
years ago I was reading something, I don't remember what now. I was
shocked to find out that there has been a law on the books since 1921
that would stop a lot of the "sweetheart" deals that exist in the
corporate livestock industry.
You may not know it, but much of
the deals that take place in the meat packing industry keep all but the
biggest players at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace.
the outbreak of World War I occurred and the cost of living rose,
president Woodrow Wilson ordered the FTC to investigate the industry
from the "hoof to the table" to determine whether or not there were any
"manipulations, controls, trusts, combinations, or restraints out of
harmony with the law or the public interest."
The FTC reported
packers were manipulating markets, restricting flow of foods,
controlling the price of dressed meat, defrauding producers and
consumers of food and crushing competition. The FTC, in fact,
recommended governmental ownership of the stockyards and their related
Congress passed the Packers and Stockyards Act on August 15, 1921 as H.R. 6320 and the law went into effect in September 1921.
It has never been enforced to any degree of effectiveness and the same things and worse are still going today.
the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proposed a bill that would
establish rules to enforce the act. This is a major move in the right
The Center for Rural Affairs has the details [more]