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Category: Factory Farming

The Packer’s Professors
— by Lee Pitts

In 1862 our Congress passed the Morrill Act which gave every state some federal land which the states were then free to sell. As with all things regarding the federal government, there were a couple strings attached to the gift. The proceeds from the land sales were supposed to be used by the states to educate their residents in agriculture and mechanical arts. (Each state got 30,000 acres per Congressman).

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The World Isn´t Level
— by Lee Pitts

America´s farmers and ranchers have an inferiority complex. We feel we must have done something wrong to merit a fat cattle price that is 18 percent less than last year. Our farmers must be second class because they cannot survive on a two buck a bushel support price that is the same price corn sold for 30 years ago! We are not worthy. At the same time retailers must deserve to be selling beef for nine percent more than a year ago.

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Are Co-ops The Answer?
— by Lee Pitts

Some have suggested the remedy for what ails the cattle business is a dose of rancher owned co-operatives. But that too has been tried. The fourth largest beef packer in the country is a co-op. We´ll let you decide whether it´s a cure or a curse.

Farmland Industries is the largest farmer-owned co-operative in North America. A member of the Fortune 500, the co-op´s 1998 sales were $8.8 billion, derived from 50 states and 90 countries around the world.

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Oversupply or Monopoly?
— by Jerry Sikorski

In 1971, when I returned to the ranch after serving in Vietnam, we were selling our wheat for about $2.70 per bushel. A bushel of wheat weighs sixty pounds and will make forty-five loaves of bread. Back then bread sold for around thirty cents a loaf, so we were receiving six cents out of a thirty-cent loaf, or 20% of the retail value of our product. Today, we now can get about $2.50 per bushel or five to six cents out of a $2.10 loaf, or 2.5% of the retail value.

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Politics, As Usual
— by Lee Pitts

According to news reports, at a White House ceremony Vice President Al Gore, the man who would be President, let his true colors show. And they weren´t red, white, and blue.

It seems Gore was presenting an award to a Colorado FFA member when he asked what field the honoree intended to go into. Upon hearing the young student wanted to go into production agriculture Gore reportedly implied that field wasn´t too fertile.

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