Letters

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
May 16, 2005
by WLJ

Distinguishing between fact and fiction
Editor:
In today's world, events you can count on seem to happen less and less, I however have found two. The ability and willingness of R-CALF to take facts and twist them around to suit their purpose, and that whatever they say is printed in newspapers, whether it is entirely factual or not.
R-CALF's newest claim is that Canada has decreased BSE testing by 28 percent. They take the total number of cattle tested for BSE in Canada during December 2004 (7,088) and compare that to January, February, and March 2005's average test totals (5,285). R-CALF fails to mention that testing totals for BSE in Canada have increased over eight times in each of the first four months of 2005 compared to the same time in 2004. Does R-CALF honestly think Canada would decrease testing now and still expect to obtain their goal as a minimum risk country? The test totals are posted at www.inspection.gc.ca for anyone who would like to gain the real facts for themselves.
Those newspapers that choose to print R-CALF's half-truths without presenting all the facts, mislead and provide a real disservice to the public who rely on them for accurate, factual news stories, just as R-CALF does. It seems every time they have a "news release," it is hard to discern what fact is and what fiction is.
Kathy Falkenstine
Bellevue, Idaho

Observations regarding NCBA
Dear Mr. Crow:
I’ve been reading your editorials since the first BSE case with steam coming out my ears and can keep silent no longer. I’ve decided to get it off my chest and make some observations.
Twenty years ago, many big corporations had their upper level personnel take training in people manipulation and conditioning. The process is called The Delphi Technique (also known in schools as peer pressure). Succinctly, it goes like this: Identify (the target), demonize, marginalize and neutralize. This is what you and your cohorts NCBA, USDA and much of the livestock media are employing in an effort to destroy that upstart R-CALF. My question is, at what point did all the ex-NCBA members, now with R-CALF, become so ignorant? I guess it’s when they left. Do they regain their intelligence if they return?
It’s clear there’s a full-fledged attack being waged by some well trained facilitators. They say we are a fringe faction, isolationists, protectionists and short sighted: Not looking at the big picture, only short term price gains etc., ad nauseum. I’d say the first order of business is to stay in business and these higher prices are relative. Have you noticed ALL our inputs have gone up? Do you see any corporate packers announcing that in the interests of the big picture they’ll be foregoing some profit right now?
You just don’t get it! Yes, NCBA does many good things, but on trade issues it isn’t representing the interests of mainstream independent family cattle producers or agriculture. You, and NCBA et al can’t hide a lock step bias toward corporate packer interests but still think you can! NCBA’s 11 points to reopening the border came after R-CALF sued and frankly, if fewer Montana and upper Midwest members hadn’t shown up at the convention and changed its direction, they’d still be lobbying in Washington while beef kept pouring in [from Canada] by an unpublicized agreement with USDA.
NCBA wants unity, but only its way. I have a problem trusting an organization that at its core is dishonestly padding its membership representation. We haven’t been members since the seventies and yet, suddenly we are voting members. How did this happen? We fed cattle in Nebraska five years ago but have no record of dues paid. We’re not terribly important, so I doubt we alone were selected for this honor. How many others got “picked”? We received the ballot they sent out, and it, too, was deceptive.
On the COOL issue, NCBA didn’t ask if we want it mandatory or voluntary. Instead they worded it so no matter how members vote, it’s in the context of a voluntary framework
NCBA is all for CAFTA. Where is the big picture there? There’s been no benefit to anyone since NAFTA, GATT, WTO or any other trade agreement other than corporate interests and frankly, I’d forego those benefits if it means the rest of agriculture loses. I know! The government is saying it’s good for us and it’s never lied to us about anything and we should trust and believe what they say. Right! Even the Supreme Court knows better, having declared in at least six decisions that “when dealing with government employees, you should assume they are lying.”
Our lack of protectionism has cost America jobs, compromised our infrastructure and forced us to purchase shoddy goods from China and Asia. Now our very foundation and security are threatened by trading away our food independence. Only FOOLS aren’t protective of their own countries’ best interests. You and your fellow travelers are the ones out of touch.
Sincerely,
Karen Meyer
Solen, ND

Support producers, but not blindly
Dear Pete,
I have enjoyed your paper for many years. I know Nelson Crow and Forrest Bassford, and I have enjoyed the friendship of Dick and Barbara on their trips.
Let me state that I am for free markets. I support world trade. I believe the American Cattleman can compete.
However, lax feed policies in Canada caused us to lose much of our Asian trade and we should be careful to not open our borders until this is cleared up.
As a supporter of free markets, we must protect our cash markets. It’s OK to retain ownership of cattle and beef as far as you wish. It’s a free country.
However, if it becomes an industry practice for most producers to retain ownership, we will lose our cash markets.
The feeders, the packers, and the retailers are our friends, but if we allow them to shift all the risk and all the costs of inventory back to the producer, we are being stupid. They are just being good businessmen. No one is quite as interested in getting a fair price for the cow as the owner of the cow.
We lost the cash market for juice oranges because of contractual participation plans.
This is why we obtained the “Packers & Stockyard Act!” Our big advantage as cattlemen is when we sell an animal we get paid promptly. We want to keep it this way.
I have been a member of the ANCA, the NCA, and the NCBA since 1949. I will continue to support any organization that supports the producers, but not blindly.
I am optimistic about our industry and look forward to the next calf crop.
Sincerely,
Alto L. Adams, Jr.
Fort Pierce, FL


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