Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
A.V. Krebs Editor\Publisher
Issue #137 Christmas Eve, 2001
"THE LIMITS OF TYRANTS ARE PRESCRIBED
BY THE ENDURANCE OF THOSE WHOM THEY OPPRESS"
"If you want my corn gentlemen, you must meet my quote, plus 5% for the
"That's outrageous Scrooge, you'll be left with a warehouse stuffed with corn."
"Well, that's my affair, isn't it? Buy the corn someplace else, good day sir"
"Scrooge, a moment. We'll take your corn at the price you quoted yesterday."
"Too late! you wait until tomorrow and it will cost you another 5%!"
"Damn it Scrooge, it's not fair!"
"No, but it's business!"
--- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, CBS-TV, December 22, 1985
Business and fairness have always been rather incompatible perch mates, but in Year 2001 corporations --- which Ambrose Bierce in his Devil's Dictionary defined as those "inglorious devices for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility" --- have come to not only making fairness an obsolete business term, but are well on their way to destroying the very concept of economic democracy without which, as Thomas Jefferson so frequently reminded us, we cannot have political democracy.
Not only do these corporations see themselves as impervious to accountability but their responsibility when it comes to the public trust is marginally legitimate if not illicit. Witness how since September 11 we have seen corporate America wrap itself in the flag as means to better fleece the public and its treasury.
Corporate agribusiness is no exception to the rule of violating the public trust as headlines plucked from the past year shows:
* Black Employees, in Lawsuit, Accuse Cargill of Discrimination
* DuPont Convicted of Racketeering in Benlate Case
* Washington [State] is investigating the IBP meatpacking plant after a secretly shot video shows cows kicking while being butchered
* ADM fined $35.3 million in EU price-fixing probe
* Poisoned Plantations: Ex-workers in Nicaraguan banana fields sue U.S. firms over illnesses linked to toxic fumigant
* Groups Sue Smithfield for Hog Pollution
* Tyson Foods indicted: Company, workers charged with conspiracy to smuggle into U.S.
* Shareholders Sue ConAgra Directors Over Restated Earnings
Just last week we saw corporate agribusiness in action on the farm policy and legislative front working furiously in the U.S. Senate with their Republican Party brethren to deny family farm agriculture the means to earn a fair price for what they produce and the ability to produce food that is healthy and safe.
While the media, led by the New York Times and Washington Post, once again mistakenly sought to characterize the Senate farm bill debate as simply a question of who should get and who didn't deserve expensive farm subsidies, corporate agribusiness and its White House minions were busy exploiting --- for their own selfish gain --- the regionalism and commodityism that has become such a destructive force in American agriculture.
Clearly the current debate over domestic farm policy needs a proper focus and that focus should be on the perpetrators who are profiting the most from the self-serving policies --- such as the infamous Freedom to Farm Act --- of the past, namely corporate agribusiness and specifically the ADMs, Cargills, ConAgras, Tysons, IBPs, Smithfields, Krafts and their ilk. It is time to realize that the buck doesn't stop at the Congressperson or the Senator's desk, but rather in corporate boardrooms all over America.
The famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass reminds us "find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong that can be imposed on them." Indeed it is time that family farm agriculture put aside their petty differences like regionalism and commodityism, reject representation by so-called farm organizations that disregard their best interests, and demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture be refocused to once against work on behalf of agriculture and not simply act as an adjunct to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Likewise, family farmers need to reacquaint themselves with their rich agrarian populist history as an economic, social and political force and cast their democratic vote not out of some regional or family tradition, but rather for those men and women who are willing to speak truth to power on their behalf.
At the same time family farm agriculture needs to launch an aggressive grass roots educational campaign aimed at the consumers of their products, showing the consuming public how they are putting their own health and safety and that of their children at serious risk if they continue to keep patronizing corporate agribusiness and that by denying farmers and ranchers a fair price for what they produce they are seriously undermining not only the social and environmental fabric of our nation, but our economic well-being as well.
Amidst the welcoming of a new year it would be well to keep in mind a
Douglass admonition: "Those who profess favor freedom, and yet deprecate
agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain
without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of
the waters. This struggle may be both moral and physical, but it must be a
struggle . . . The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those
whom they oppress."
AMERICAN FARMER NOT DRAINING THE U.S TREASURY
REAL TRANSFER OF WEALTH ACCUMULATING
IN CORPORATE AGRIBUSINESS BANK ACCOUNTS
KEITH MUDD, ST. LOUIS TODAY: Recently a great deal has been written and Web pages have been developed calling attention to subsidy payments to farmers and landowners. While farm subsidies, on the surface, look like transfer payments to farmers and landowners, they are actually corporate subsidies for agribusiness conglomerates like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.
This farm commodity program can be compared to the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage law sets a floor on payments by employers to workers. Suppose Congress changed this program and permitted business owners to pay whatever they wanted for a wage while requiring the worker to collect from the U.S. Treasury the disparity between the minimum wage and what his/her employer pays. In this example who is being subsidized? While the worker still earns the minimum wage, the employer is being subsidized because he receives the benefit.
The farm program functions much the same way. The support price of corn is less than $2 a bushel. The same price a bushel of corn sold for 30 years ago! But Cargill and ADM each purchased millions of bushels of corn this past fall for less than the support price because they have no competition. In the past, the farm program caused big agribusiness to pay at least the minimum price. Now, the farmer collects the difference between the support price and the Cargill/ADM price from the taxpayers. Big agribusiness receives the benefit.
Much has been written about the cost of a farm program. It is usually the intention of the writer to sway public opinion against this costly program that pays farmers when the prices of their commodities are below a predetermined price. Recently the idea of taking part of this money and diverting it to other uses such as conservation is being viewed as an alternative. Spending money on conservation is a necessity, conserving our soil and protecting our water are top priorities for every farmer. The problem is that conservation is an entirely different issue from farm subsidies.
The Environmental Working Group argues that most of the subsidies go to the
largest of farmers, who in turn use it to buy out their smaller neighbors. The
truth is that all farmers, regardless of size, must use the subsidy just to
raise the value received for their commodity above the cost of production. In
most instances, the cost of production is covered and something is left over for
living expenses. In practically no instance is
anything left over that would be considered a return on investment (land and equity).
As margins shrink, volume must increase to maintain a viable operation. As farm sizes have increased, smaller farmers often quit and seek off-farm employment rather than take on the additional risk to expand. In some cases, the smaller farmers are not financially able to take additional risk. If the Environmental Working Group's theory is correct, higher prices will cause the same results.
Regardless of where the income comes from, larger farmers will have the funds to buy out smaller neighbors. Therefore, it is not the subsidy that allows the larger farmers to buy out their smaller neighbor, it is the system. If Cargill and ADM had to pay for our production, the subsidy would not be necessary. If commodity prices were higher, farmers would make money from farming, would be less inclined to quit and would reduce the opportunity to expand farm size.
Most problems on the farms of rural American can be traced to one fundamental cause. The underlying problem with farm income is concentration. As our input suppliers and the purchasers of our products consolidate, they acquire market power. This market power is leveraged against the farmer when he sells his crop. As an example, our current corn stocks as a percentage of use, in other words our leftovers, are at levels that would have been rewarded with $3 a bushel corn. But corn sells for less than $2 a bushel. Cargill and ADM have no serious competition in the marketplace and the government is willing to make up the difference in this minimum price scheme.
Look somewhere else for a scapegoat; it is not the American farmer draining the United States Treasury. The real transfer of wealth is accumulating in Cargill and ADM's bank accounts.
Keith Mudd is a farmer near Monroe City, Missouri
FAMILY FARMERS ANGRY
NEITHER HOUSE OR SENATE FARM BILLS
CONFRONT AGRIBUSINESS CONCENTRATION
FUELED BY LOW PRICES AND CONTROL OF MARKETS
NATIONAL FARM ACTION CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE: As the U.S. Senate failed to complete action on the Farm Bill this week, family farmers expressed anger and concern that neither the Senate or the House Farm Bill proposals confront the biggest concern of family farmers: agribusiness concentration fueled by low prices and control of markets by giant agribusiness companies. "Congress has failed us. As farmers complete harvest amidst record low commodity prices, the need for a complete overhaul of our nation's farm policy has never been greater," said Bill Christison, President of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and the National Family Farm Coalition.
"It comes as no surprise that the Senate could not agree on this farm bill. They were trying to patch over a failed program instead of starting over," said Helen Waller, a Montana rancher and grain farmer member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. "All of the farm bills considered so far continue to subsidize corporations with cheap grain and taxpayer subsidies.
"What we need is a long-term vision, a new farm program that enables farmers and ranchers to earn a fair price from the marketplace, whether they raise grains, livestock, dairy or any other crop. We call on the Senate to consider our farmer developed proposal, the Food from Family Farms Act that is a viable, cost-effective plan that returns profitability to family farmer and ranchers."
George Naylor, an Iowa grain farmer and member of the Iowa Citizens for
Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) further stated, "While the full Senate improved
the Senate Agriculture Committee bill by passing the ban on packer
ownership, there are many important issues that must still be addressed.
We call on the Senate to pass Senator Wellstone's EQIP amendment to ensure that
taxpayer funds cannot be used to subsidize
the expansion of large, corporate, factory farms and to enact a ban on captive supplies."
"What we witnessed this past week as the Senate debated its farm bill clearly illustrates the influence corporate agribusiness has on our policy-making bodies of government. It was revealed in their opposition to family-farmer friendly amendments, and in their support for delaying the entire farm bill process," said Larry Mitchell of the American Corn Growers Association.
The National Farm Action Campaign calls for grassroots pressure by farmers,
taxpayers, and consumers to show their support for a total overhaul of current
farm policy. "We can't let trade deals in Doha and an Administration that
supports record low farm prices for corporate buyers win out over family farmers
and rural communities," said Christison.
FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS TYSON FOODS EXECS
ON SMUGGLING ILLEGAL ALIENS INTO COMPANY PLANTS
TO MEET PRODUCTION GOALS AND CUT COSTS
ASSOCIATED PRESS: A federal grand jury in Tennessee indicted executives and managers of Tyson Foods Inc. on charges of conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens to the company's poultry processing plants, the Justice Department said Wednesday. A 36-count indictment unsealed Wednesday said Tyson's managers tolerated the hiring of illegal aliens to meet production goals and cut costs. The company aided the immigrants by obtaining false documents so they could work at Tyson poultry processing plants "under the false pretense of being legally employable," the department said, quoting the indictment. . . .
CNN\MONEY: . . . The Justice Department said Tyson Foods "cultivated a corporate culture in which the hiring of illegal alien workers was condoned in order to meet production goals and cut costs to maximize profits." Justice officials described a scheme by which the defendants requested delivery of illegal aliens to work at Tyson plants in the United States and aided and abetted them in obtaining false documents.
Tyson called claims by prosecutors of a company-wide conspiracy "absolutely
false." Ken Kimbro, senior vice president for human resources, said the
"specific charges are limited to a few managers who were acting outside of
company policy at five of our 57 poultry processing plants. As a result of an
internal investigation several months ago, four mangers named in the indictment
were terminated, and two others are now on
administrative leave, pending the outcome of this matter," Kimbro said.
"This indictment came because Tyson refused to agree to the prosecutor's outrageous financial demands," he added "While we are disappointed that it has come to this, we will vigorously defend our business, our diverse workforce and our reputation." . . .
DAVID BARBOZA, NEW YORK TIMES: . . . The indictment could result in sharp changes for food processors who have come to rely heavily on immigrant labor. "This is bound to send a chill through the industry," said John Lawrence, a professor of agriculture at Iowa State University and an authority on the meat industry. "The question is, How involved are some of these companies in the recruiting?"
The indictment comes just months after Tyson, which has its roots in the poultry business, acquired IBP., the nation's largest beef processor, in a deal that created a $20 billion company that dominates the meat counter at supermarkets and is a leading supplier to fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King.
Tyson is on probation after pleading guilty in 1997 to making illegal gifts to Mike Espy, the former agriculture secretary. The government said that if Tyson was found guilty of conspiring to recruit illegal aliens, it could face sanctions in the Espy case. . . . .
KIRSTIN DOWNEY GRIMSLEY, THE WASHINGTON POST: . . . The grand jury alleged that the firm sought to hire more than 2,000 illegal immigrant workers through INS agents who offered to bring workers across the border and provide them with fraudulent work documents, including fake Social Security cards. "We couldn't keep up with their demands" for more immigrant workers "because we had limits on the number of people we could transport," said John MacCoon, an assistant U.S. attorney overseeing the case.
The Tyson officials indicted were Robert Hash, a divisional vice president at company headquarters, who oversaw five plants; Gerald Lankford, a former human resources manager at Retail Fresh, who helped supervise six plants; Keith Snyder, who was a manager at two plants; and Spencer Mabe, Truley Ponder and Jimmy Rowland, all former managers at a plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee. There were also hiring improprieties at plants in Alabama, Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri, the indictment alleges. . . . .
JERRY SEPER, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: . . . Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, Arkansas, was a staunch campaign contributor and supporter of Bill Clinton during the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, as well as his gubernatorial races in Arkansas. The company has 120,000 employees, and sales last year totaled $23.8 billion.
In January 1998, a federal judge accepted a plea agreement by Tyson Foods and ordered the firm to pay $6 million in fines and serve four years' probation for giving Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy $12,000 in airplane rides, football tickets and other illegal gratuities. Two of the firm's executives, Archie Schaffer III and Jack L. Williams, also were convicted in 1998 of giving illegal gratuities to Mr. Espy. .
AMY MERRICK, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: . . . The Justice Department seeks to have Tyson and the six employees forfeit to the U.S. government any financial gain from the alleged conspiracy to violate immigration and other laws. The indictment doesn't estimate the amount of the financial gain. A law-enforcement official said that while no exact forfeiture amount has been set, the Tyson profits being targeted could top $100 million. . . .
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: The city of Tulsa, Okla., and the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority filed suit against six poultry processors for "overwhelming taste and odor problems" in the city's drinking water. In a press release Monday, the city said the suit charges that the problems are linked to waste from chicken production.
Defendants in the lawsuit are Tyson Foods Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Peterson Farms, Simmons Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., George's Processing Inc. and the city of Decatur, Arkansas. The six poultry processors all have operations near Decatur, which is located about 100 miles east of Tulsa.
The suit alleges that agriculture runoff from chicken litter creates massive
algae blooms in the Eucha and Spayinaw lakes, causing taste and odor alterations
to the drinking water coming into Tulsa. The city said it has spent more than $4
million to correct the problem. "The industry has polluted our lakes and is
causing their premature death," said Tulsa mayor Susan Savage. "The degradation
of Tulsa's water ties to the chicken litter that is applied to land in the
watershed. We believe that must stop, and we believe the industry must be
responsible for the cost of the cleanup." . . .
MICK ANDREAS RELEASED FROM FEDERAL PRISON
ADM CLAIMS FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN
WILL NOT BE WELCOMED BACK; NAMES NEW PRESIDENT
AMEET SACHDEV, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Michael D. Andreas was released from federal prison early Wednesday, but that doesn't mean the former vice chairman of Archer Daniels Midland Co. will return to the company his father built. ADM said it has no plans to rehire Andreas, who was one of three top executives at the agribusiness giant convicted in 1998 of taking part in a global conspiracy to illegally fix the price of lysine, a widely used additive in livestock feed during the early 1990s.
Andreas was sentenced in 1999 to two years in prison, a term that was later extended by a year after the government appealed. Before his conviction, Andreas was considered the heir apparent to his father, longtime ADM Chairman Dwayne O. Andreas. "He [Michael Andreas] will not be returning to the company in any capacity," said ADM spokesman Larry Cunningham. "He will have no connection to ADM."
Until now, Andreas' future with Decatur, Illinois-based ADM had remained in question. Chairman and Chief Executive G. Allen Andreas as late as a year ago had steadfastly refused to rule out the possibility that his 52-year-old cousin would return once the prison term ended.
Speculation in agricultural circles intensified Tuesday after ADM President John D. McNamara suddenly resigned to pursue personal interests. ADM named Paul B. Mulhollem, senior vice president, to succeed McNamara. But the ADM spokesman said the timing of McNamara's departure and Andreas' release was just a coincidence.
Andreas was transferred from a minimum-security prison in Duluth, Minn., to a halfway house at an undisclosed location, said a spokesman with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is likely Andreas will go to a facility somewhere in Illinois, but details were not available late Wednesday. . . .
One of Andreas' co-conspirators, Terrance Wilson, who headed ADM's
corn-processing division, was transferred to a halfway house a few months ago,
according to his attorney, Reid Weingarten. Wilson is working, but Weingarten
declined to elaborate on the former executive's occupation. Mark E. Whitacre,
the former executive who blew the whistle on the price-fixing scheme, remains in
prison for embezzling a fortune from the company while acting as an FBI mole in
SUIZA, DEAN FOODS MERGER APPROVED
11 DAIRY PROCESSING PLANTS WILL BE SOLD
TO NATIONAL DAIRY HOLDINGS, LP
50% OWNED BY DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA CO-OP
MARK WIGFIELD, DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: The Justice Department has approved the merger of Suiza Foods Corp. and Dean Foods Co., conditioned on the sale of 11 dairy processing plants. Without the divestitures, the merger of Suiza, the largest fluid milk producer in the U.S., and Dean, the second largest, would have reduced competition in markets for milk sold through schools and retail outlets in areas around plants located in eight states, the Justice Department said.
The merger would have reduced to one or two the number of companies that bid to deliver milk to schools in some school districts, according the Justice Department. Suiza will sell seven dairy processing plants and Dean, four, in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio and Utah. The plants will be sold to National Dairy Holdings, L.P., a newly formed partnership that will be 50% owned by Dairy Farmers of America Inc., a cooperative.
Suiza Foods Assistant Treasurer P.I. Aquino said: "We're pleased with the outcome, and we expect to close the transaction by the end of the year." The divestitures, which amount to 10% of the total plants owned by both companies, were expected, having been announced earlier this month by the companies. Suiza last April agreed to acquire Dean for about $1.5 billion in cash and stock, plus the assumption of $1 billion in debt. The companies have combined annual net sales of $10 billion.
Analysts have said the deal could offer the new company substantial cost savings. Suiza, of Dallas, currently operates 67 dairy processing plants in 29 states. Dean, Franklin Park, Illinois, has 43 plants in 19 states.
Dairy Farmers of America, which owns half of the new partnership that is
buying the divested plants, is the largest dairy farmer cooperative in the U.S.,
with net sales in 2000 of nearly $7 billion. The other half of the new
partnership, National Dairy Holdings, is owned by three individuals, the Justice
UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR CHARGES
U.S EXPORTING OF BANNED CHEMICAL POISONS
RECOGNIZED AS HARMFUL IS "IMMORAL"
ERIKA ROSENTHAL\MARTIN WAGNER, EARTHJUSTICE: In a meeting with non-governmental human rights and environmental organizations in San Francisco last week, U.N. Special Rapporteur Fatma Zora Ouhachi-Vesely had harsh words for the United States' practice of exporting chemicals, pesticides, and waste banned domestically to developing nations. "Just because something is not illegal, it may still be immoral. Allowing the export of products recognized to be harmful is immoral," said Vesely as she gathered information about U.S. toxic export practices.
As Special Rapporteur to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (Geneva), Vesely was in the United States on a fact-finding mission during which she met with government officials and non-governmental organizations. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Toxics addresses traffic in toxic and dangerous products and wastes and its impact on human rights. Vesely was in the United States to examine current issues and trends in the international transfer of materials and to learn about threats to human rights in the United States and abroad.
The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health noted that between 1996 and 2000, the United States exported nearly 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides that have been identified as known or suspected carcinogens, an average rate of almost 16 tons per hour. Most of these exports are sent to the developing world and used in agriculture.
According to the International Labor Organization, 65% to 90% of the children estimated to be working in Africa (80 million), Asia (152 million) and Latin America (17 million) are working in agriculture. These children are often continuously exposed to pesticides in the fields, from their water, through their clothing, and at their homes.
Vesely explained why the export of pesticides banned in the United States creates human rights issues. "Even if something is marked `poison' it tends to be shipped in large amounts, then transferred to smaller containers without proper labeling for local sale and use. And the people actually using the products often cannot read anyway," she explained.
During her visit to the United States Vesely also met with government officials. "US officials told me that pesticides banned in the United States but exported cannot be regulated if there is a demand overseas, because of free-trade agreements." But NGOs presented proof that the demand from developing countries stems from promotional campaigns by the U.S. companies that profit from these sales. "Developing countries do not have the medical or regulatory capacity to address the negative effects of these chemicals on their population. That is what makes this is an immoral practice," explained Vesely.
Vesely also explained that in an interconnected world economy, pesticides
banned in the United States can find their way back into the United States via
food imports. Vesely explained, "So banning the export of dangerous pesticides
can protect Americans as well."
CHEMICAL INDUSTRY, REPUBLICANS CASTIGATED
FOR IGNORING SCHOOL CHILDREN'S HEALTH
BY DEFEATING SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT
FRANK LINGO, ALTERNET: Although politicians are jostling to take credit for the new education bill, there's one deleted part that belongs in their hall of shame. On Friday November 30, the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) was killed in a joint House-Senate conference committee. Only one Republican voted for the bill, which would have required public schools to notify parents about the use of bug-killing chemicals. The bill also would have required the states to develop a pest-management plan that considers alternatives to toxic sprays in schools.
Senator Robert Torricelli (Dem.-New.Jersey) sponsored the legislation and every Democrat on the committee voted for it, but that wasn't enough when the majority of Republican House members used their weight to squash the bill.
This issue might be news to most readers since the story received little media coverage. The Associated Press and MSNBC did run articles on the vote but many newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, did not. They did print thousands of words that week-end on the death of former Beatle George Harrison, though. I love the Beatles and own all their albums, but hey editors! Don't you think the death of a bill protecting our children from toxic chemicals is just as newsworthy as the death of a famous musician?
Advocates of the School Environment Protection Act cited a report by The National Academy of Sciences concluding that children are among the least protected population segment against pesticides and, given their smaller size and still-developing organs, are at higher risk than adults to pesticide exposure. A National Cancer Institute study indicates that use of household and garden pesticides can increase the risk of childhood leukemia as much as seven-fold. And a National Institutes of Health study showed that between 1973 and 1991 the overall incidence of childhood cancer rose 10% and the incidence of children's soft-tissue and brain cancer spread by 25%.
So how could anyone oppose a bill that would make schools notify parents when pesticides will be used and prohibit use of certain pesticides in any area that will be used within 24 hours? Money. Although SEPA was supported by the National Parent-Teacher Association, the National Education Association and and the American Federation of Teachers, committee Republicans were still overcome by the chemical industry's spending spray.
The Republicans claim the bill was costly and poorly crafted. That's odd since a compromise was worked out last summer that even lobbyists for major manufacturers of pesticides agreed to in a letter to Senate leaders Tom Daschle and Trent Lott. But since then, the pesticide industry reneged on the agreement and lobbied in stealth against the bill, said Jay Feldman, Executive Director of the non-profit grassroots group Beyond Pesticides, which supported SEPA.
"This is something which should have had no controversy," said Sen.Torricelli. "There are children playing on football fields and students eating in cafeterias that were sprayed with toxic materials immediately before they entered the room." He said there was no explanation for the defeat of the provision "except the influence of the chemical industry itself."
Although the public has been wary of pesticides for at least the four decades since publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, it's clear that pesticide producers still poison politics and prevent us from protecting our children.
Frank Lingo is a freelance writer based in Lawrence, Kansas. He has been a
frequent contributor to The Kansas City Star and the website
CLINTON WELFARE REFORM ACT FORCING MOTHERS
TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FOOD AND RENT/UTILITIES
AS NUMBERS INCREASE RAPIDLY AT FOOD BANKS
SUSAN JACOBY, TOM PAINE: A November 2001 report by America's Second
Harvest the nation's largest domestic food relief organization, showed that the
number of Americans who turn to soup kitchens or food pantries at least once a
year has risen from 21.4 million to more than 23 million since 1997.
Significantly, more than three million people were dropped from federal food
stamp rolls during the same period. A lot of people who've moved from welfare
are so poor that they have to choose between buying food and paying their rent
and electricity . . . Those in charge of charities expect the plight of the
working poor to intensify in 2002, when many single mothers will reach the
lifetime five-year limit on cash welfare benefits written into the 1996 welfare
reform law. Sheldon Danziger, professor of social work and public policy at the
University of Michigan and co-author of America Unequal, notes that many single
mothers did not move from welfare to work but between welfare and low-paying,
often part-time, unskilled jobs during the past five years.
RENEWED APPEAL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
With each issue of THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER I am pleased to note the
additional readers that have been added to the circulation list of the already over 1000
readers throughout the world who are presently receiving it on a regular basis. At the
same time, however, it is disappointing to also see that the same mere handful of
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THE AGBIZ TILLER, the progeny of the one-time printed newsletter, now becomes
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