The
AGRIBUSINESS
EXAMINER
August 20, 2002   #183
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
From a Public Interest Perspective

EDITOR\PUBLISHER: A.V. Krebs
ADDRESS: PO. Box 2201, Everett, Washington 98203-0201

E-MAIL: avkrebs@earthlink.net
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COMMENTARY:
GEORGE W. BUSH STARES LINCOLN, ROOSEVELT,
WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON IN THE EYES,
WHILE EXHORTING DROUGHT-STRICKEN FARMERS
TO ADOPT PIONEER SPIRIT, REFUSES EXTRA AID

Again and again with each passing day we see actions from the Oval Office, Congress, and the nation's corporate boardrooms that one might justifiably think would evoke widespread citizen outrage to a degree not seen in this country in decades.

Yet the public's torpor seems to be all pervasive so it should come as no surprise that rural America and family farm agriculture continues to be subjected in 2002 to more than its share of outrageous actions by the aforementioned parties.

Latest in this series of unconscionable acts came last Friday in South Dakota where George W. Bush, under the stoney gaze of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln at Mt. Rushmore, told America's drought-stricken farmers, in launching his latest campaign to put a brake on federal spending, that they could expect no extra help from the federal government even as he prepares to take the country to a costly war.

Consider for a moment how utterly mean such a declaration from the nation's chief executive is in the context of the current state of the general welfare and common good.

Here is a President who unashamedly invokes the pioneer spirit to farmers suffering from the worst drought since the Great Depression's Dust Bowl days despite the fact he seeks to perpetuate many of the same conditions that led to the disaster in the 1930's  and are now in the process of again taking such a devastating toll in America's heartland.

Called by some "one of the three worst ecological blunders in history," the Dust Bowl of the 1930's was a mere 50 years in the making. Donald Worster in his authoritative investigation, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, vividly describes this tragedy, and sees more than just nature on a rampage.

"My argument," the environmental historian states, "is that there was in fact a close link between the Dust Bowl and the Depression --- that the same society produced them both, and for similar reasons. Both events revealed fundamental weaknesses in the traditional culture of America, the one in ecological terms, the other in economic. Both offered a reason, and an opportunity for substantial reform of that culture. . .

"It came about because the expansionary energy of the United States had finally encountered a volatile, marginal land, destroying the delicate ecological balance that had evolved there. We speak of farmers and plows on the plains and the damage they did, but the language is inadequate. What brought them to the region was a social system, a set of values, an economic order. There is no word that so fully sums up those elements as `capitalism',"

In explaining his meaning Worster points out that "capitalism" has developed an "enduring ethos" that seeks to give the economic culture continuity. The ecological values of that ethos include: nature must be seen as capital; man has a right, even an obligation, to use this capital for constant self-advancement, and the social order should permit and encourage this continual increase of personal wealth.

By the 1920's farming and ranching had become for many a business, the object of which was not necessarily to make a living, but to make money. Just as they objected to the "social controls" that they perceived Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was trying to impose on them, they also believed that nature would dare not thwart them in the managing of their business affairs. Thus, these same laissez-faire interests continued to extensively plow up the Great Plains, planting their wheat, and creating highly mechanized factory farms that produced unprecedented harvests.

As Worster states, "There was nothing in the plains society to check the progress of commercial farming, nothing to prevent it from taking the risks it was willing to take for profit. That is how and why the Dust Bowl came about."

Thus while George W. Bush is rhapsodizing about the pioneer spirit in the face of a sun-scorching drought, which some say may be the initial warning sign that "global warming" is here to stay, he not only doubts whether there is any such thing as "global warming," and has shown this unwillingness to believe by refusing to allow the nation to sign any international agreements, such as the Kyoto Treaty, aimed at preventing a similar worldwide ecological disaster.

As he asks farmers to wrap themselves in the security that they are maintaining the pioneer spirit he sits in his Texas ranch house entertaining his corporate friends while making plans to wage an undeclared first-strike war which assuredly will exact an unnecessary toll in human life and expenditure of the nation's vital resources.

One wonders why the President doesn't also ask the Pentagon with its $355 billion and its defense contractors living off of corporate welfare to abide by the same pioneer spirit and invest some of those billions of dollars in rebuilding and modernizing the nation's social and physical infrastructure and tending to the needs of those people who have been victimized by George W. Bush's friends and ranch guests.

When measured against the Pentagon's billions of dollars immediate relief for our needy and drought stricken family farmers is but mere pocket change. Consider these facts when attempting to put the staggering amount of money this nation spends on weapons of war, some of which have proven of dubious value in recent actions by the U.S..

How much is one billion ???

* One billion seconds ago was approximately two years after the New England colonies were established in the New World !!!

* One billion minutes ago was a point during the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan and 22 years after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius !!!

* One billion hours ago and we enter unrecorded history !!!

* One billion dollars was yesterday afternoon at the Pentagon !!!

Thus, this nation would be well advised with the coming solemnity of September 11 and its ad nauseam "showing of the flag" to also begin to show some genuine outrage, not only over what is happening to our environment, our reputation in the world as a valued nation, our corporate-sponsored national leadership, our precarious economic structure, and our much abused democratic form of government, but also to who is going to provide their next meal, where it is to come from, and how safe it is going to be to eat and digest that meal ???
 

GWB: LET THEM EAT "SPOILED MILK"
"WE'VE GOT PROBLEMS, WE'VE GOT CHALLENGES
WE'RE GOING TO MEET THOSE CHALLENGES HEAD ON"

MIKE ALLEN, THE WASHINGTON POST: President Bush invoked the spirit of pioneers [Friday] as he urged desperate ranchers to endure South Dakota's worst drought since the Depression without insisting on extra federal aid, which would increase the budget deficit.

Bush, whose helicopter gave him an eye-level view of the Mount Rushmore monument, began a campaign this week to convince Congress that he is determined to put a brake on federal spending, even during a war on terrorism.

He told residents of the Black Hills here that he had made the politically painful choice of rejecting pleas for new drought money from Rep. John Thune (South Dakota), the Republican whom Bush personally recruited to try to unseat Sen. Tim Johnson (Dem.-South Dakota) in one of the nation's hottest Senate races.

Speaking in brilliant sunlight beneath the 60-foot-tall granite visages of four legendary presidents, Bush said he was optimistic about overcoming the challenges posed by terrorism and a listless economy. He vowed to set priorities and watch spending. "A lot of our predecessors faced hardship and overcame hardships, because we're Americans," he said.

"That's what's going to happen in this era, too. We've got problems, we've got challenges. This generation has got challenges to meet, and we're going to meet those challenges head-on."

The drought has become such an emotional issue that the South Dakota Democratic Party today began running radio advertisements attacking Thune and the Bush administration for doing too little. Johnson supporters contend that Bush has undermined Thune, because many ranchers thought the presidential visit signaled plans to offer new federal aid.

Instead, Bush said relief should come from the $190 billion farm bill he signed in May, "so we don't run up additional deficits in the federal budget." The president underscored his commitment to helping ranchers under current programs, including the Agriculture Department's decision this week that $150 million in surplus milk --- "spoiled milk," Democrats called it --- would be made available for use in animal feed in four drought-stricken states, including South Dakota.

"People here hurt, and I know that," Bush told residents of the Badlands, where cattle are dying and crops are shriveling. "We want to help the hurting people, because it is not only good for the neighborhood. Helping people in the agricultural sector is good for the American economy."
 

"EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT" AFFECTS 26 STATES
LOSSES IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EXPECTED

CAREY GILLAM, REUTERS NEWS SERVICE: They were praying for rain at the St. Patrick parish church in Grand Rapids, Ohio this week. With hands clasped and eyes cast downward, about 100 desperate farmers and rural residents gathered at the church on Wednesday to seek divine intervention in an extended drought in Ohio and much of the United States that is fast becoming one of the worst in the last century.

"None of us have control over whether it is going to rain or not," said Sister Christine Pratt, rural life director for the Catholic Diocese of nearby Toledo. "But the people are praying for one another and there is some hope."

Drought has taken a grip on more than half of the United States, experts calculate. Twenty-six states are suffering severe drought conditions and "exceptional drought" --- the worst level of drought measured --- has blanketed thirteen states, including New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. In a typical year, drought hits ten percent to 12% of the country.

"It is pretty dire," said Mark Svoboda, climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center. "We're seeing agricultural impacts. . . .We have a lot of hydrological problems with wells and reservoirs and streams going dry. This is going to total billions of dollars when it is all said and done." From southern California to South Carolina and from Montana to New Mexico, individuals and industries are suffering . . . .

In heat-baked fields ranchers have sold off herds rather than let them starve for lack of pasture. "I have never seen it like this and I'm 60 years old," said Richard Traylor, who owns 37,000 acres (15,000 hectares) in Texas and New Mexico but has sold off much of his cattle herd.

Tourism has also been hit as the drought turned state and national parks into kindling. So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 4.6 million acres (1.9 million hectares), twice the average acreage burned in the previous decade. There is a scramble for new water sources as town and city residents are urged to stop watering lawns and washing cars.

In Monticello, Georgia, south of Atlanta, officials this week banned all outside watering, saying creek levels were so low that the area could run out of water in 30 to 45 days. National estimates for drought-related losses are still being tallied, with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture waiting for harvesting of corn and soybean and other key crops to conclude before loss figures are compiled.

This summer's wheat harvest underscored the devastation as production fell to the lowest levels in nearly 30 years.

In Nebraska, experts have pegged the losses at more than $1.4 billion. "It is really, really awful," said Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns. "Even some of the folks who lived through the `dust bowl' years will say it is as bad as it has ever been," he said referring to a severe drought in the 1930s.

In Colorado, Denver's water reservoirs hit a historic low on July 1, at only 66% full. And this month, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens signed into law a bill creating a $1 million emergency drought fund so farmers and ranchers can buy water. State leaders are clamoring for Washington to allocate disaster aid. Though the scope of assistance needed has not been determined, some call for more than $5 billion.

A key factor in the water shortage is the lack of adequate snowpack in the mountains. Melting snow from higher elevations usually feeds rivers and streams, but this year, snowpacks in the Rocky Mountains were only a quarter of normal levels --- one of lowest on record, said Douglas LeComte, a drought specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lack of rain is the other obvious factor. In Dodge City, Kansas, rainfall over the 14 months ending in July amounted to the driest period since 1952-53. The water shortages are prompting battles between upstream and downstream states and between individuals and businesses. In Jasper County, South Carolina, more than 100 people turned out last week for a meeting with state officials after a drop in an underground aquifer left them without water. Rural residents blamed business operators for using too much water.

North and South Carolina are fighting over North Carolina's refusal to release water from its reservoirs downstream. "People are battling for water like we've never seen before," said Hope Mizzell, South Carolina's drought program coordinator. This year's drought is the extension of more than two years of very dry conditions in many states, said LeComte.

Some areas are experiencing their fifth consecutive year of drought. The conditions are near those seen during the country's most devastating drought in the 1930s - the "dust bowl" years, when some 60% of the United States was affected.

Global warming, changing weather patterns, bad land management and many other factors are involved in the debate over what caused the current drought. But right now the focus is more on when it will end. "We need to recharge the water supply," said Svoboda. "Just about every part of the country needs a good wet winter."
 

MEMO TO GWB:
CORPORATE AMERICA WORRIES
OVER GLOBAL WARMING
COULD COST THEM AND THEIR
INVESTORS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS

AMY CORTESE, NEW YORK TIMES: Global warming has been on the agenda of environmental activists for years. But it is also becoming a green issue of another kind ---  discussed not only in terms of melting ice caps and endangered species, but as a problem that can cost corporations and their investors billions of dollars.

With their confidence shaken in corporate bookkeeping and the market's omniscience, investors are starting to look for other possible "off balance sheet" land mines, including the hidden risks that could be associated with global climate change.

A scientific consensus has formed that greenhouse gases --- carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions released by automobiles, power plants and industrial factories --- are causing the average temperature to increase, setting off environmental reactions ranging from rising water levels to droughts.

Losses from global warming were in evidence just this past week. A report released last Monday by the United Nations predicted that a two-mile-thick layer of brown haze blanketing Asia, caused in part by greenhouse gases, could severely cut rainfall and reduce India's rice harvest by ten percent. And abnormally high temperatures in Eastern Europe have been partly blamed for the severe floods ravaging Prague and other beacons of European architecture.

Munich Re, a large German insurance company, estimates that global warming could cost $300 billion annually by 2050 in weather damage, pollution, industrial and agricultural losses and other expenses. Companies may also face unexpected expenses because of compliance with future regulations, fines, taxes and caps on products that produce greenhouse gases.

The impact of climate change varies by sector. Oil, gas and utilities, of  course, are directly affected by changes in energy policy, while real estate is affected by coastal flooding and drought. But environmental activists and a growing number of investors have started to catch the corporate world's attention with their warnings that nearly all industries are exposed to some risk. Of particular concern are the costs of complying with a patchwork of regulations in the United States and abroad and the potential harm to a company's reputation if it is contributing to global warming.

In another ominous sign for chief executives and board members, some  experts in corporate governance say company officers could be held  accountable for failing to protect their companies from climate-related risk. And the lawsuits could come from governments as well as investors and other aggrieved parties. Peter Lehner, chief of the New York attorney general's Environmental Protection Bureau, said it was studying the issue of climate change and might sue polluters along the lines of the successful  tobacco litigation by states in the 1990's.

Yet most of the risks and potential costs go unreported. Although Securities and Exchange Commission rules require companies to disclose trends and uncertainties that could affect their stocks, few specific provisions exist for disclosing environmental liabilities. Critics say that even those regulations are barely enforced and that financial analysts rarely take such risks into account when assessing companies.

It's not necessarily deliberate. In many cases, companies are unsure how to calculate potential liabilities --- especially when regulations have yet to be written. Because global warming is a long-term trend, it does not fit neatly into the quarterly reporting schedule or the outlook of many  executives.

Still, many investors are taking such omissions seriously. "There was an  assumption that everything important was valued by the market," said Robert  K. Massie, executive director at the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Economies, an association of environmental and investor groups that is based in Boston. "We know now that investors can be unaware of  something with big impact."

Robert Monks, chairman of LENS Investment management and Ram Trust Services, and a longtime corporate governance activist, said companies need disclosure guidelines for environmental liability because "the market can't reflect something it doesn't know." . . . .

The issue of executive and director liability is likely to be closely watched. Shareholder activists "are creating a record of these companies' being put on notice," said Christopher Walker, managing director of a group that assesses the insurance risks of greenhouse gases at the New York offices of Swiss Re, a large insurer. "Our concern is, will there be a shareholder action five or ten years from now?" In particular, he said,  emissions reduction is shaping up as a "clear liability issue" for corporate managements and boards. Swiss Re is reviewing the companies it insures to determine what they are  doing to manage climate change risk, he said, and is considering excluding from coverage companies or directors that are not addressing it.

Some companies, like DuPont, BP and Ford, have addressed risk from climate change in their annual reports and S.E.C. filings. In its 2001 annual  report to the S.E.C., for example, DuPont acknowledged the possible consequences of the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse emissions. Although not ratified by the United States, the treaty will limit gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which DuPont produces in chemical manufacturing. DuPont's report said it has been reducing these emissions since 1991, yet may still face further restrictions in some countries.

In contrast, Dow Chemical, a competitor, does not mention climate change or greenhouse gas emissions in its 2001 annual report to the S.E.C.

"We're going to be saying more about climate change," said Peter Molinari, a Dow executive who monitors climate change and the company's greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a social responsibility report to be released by Dow in September will chart its greenhouse gas emission reductions (15% since 1995) for the first time, Mr. Molinari said.

Advocates of more disclosure say that in lieu of hard numbers, even  qualitative assessments are helpful. Pressure for such assessments has been growing. Shareholder resolutions that ask companies to disclose or reduce greenhouse gas emissions won an unexpectedly high 30% of the vote at some companies during the 2002 annual meeting season. Law firms and insurance companies are setting up business units to deal with  climate-related risks. And more institutional investors are lobbying the S.E.C. and companies for better disclosure of environmental risks, particularly those related to climate change.

"People are recognizing that it's an issue they are going to have to deal with," said Tracey Mihelic, a partner at the Baker & McKenzie law firm in  Chicago and a member of its new practice dealing with energy and  climate-change litigation. . . . .

Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, based in New York, estimates that as much as 15% of the total market capitalization of major companies may be put at risk by climate change.

A report in July by the World Resource Institute, an environmental research group, said shareholders in leading oil and gas companies could lose six percent or more of the value of their investments because of regulatory and other efforts to curb climate change. Of the 17 companies studied, only three --- British Petroleum, Conoco and Phillips Petroleum --- mentioned in their annual reports that climate policies and regulations could affect future business operations.

Big names are behind some of the campaigns. In May, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York organized the Carbon Disclosure Project, a petition supported by institutional investors representing $4 trillion in assets from Credit Suisse, Domini, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and UBS Global Asset Management, among others. The investors wrote to 500 large corporations asking them to quantify their greenhouse gas emissions and plans for reducing them.

For many corporations, the process of even starting to calculate liability is difficult, because liability is contingent on future regulations. In addition, a single company can have several areas of seemingly insignificant risk that become significant when added up.

"How do you know what your risk is when the rules are not yet established?" said Ms. Mihelic of Baker & McKenzie. She said that if companies take action before regulations are in place --- say, building a more efficient plant --- those actions may not count toward credits when regulations are written years later.

"If I'm a board of directors, am I going to spend $100 million?" she asked.  "If I address it now, are you going to sue me for addressing it too soon?"  Nonetheless, she said, "every company is discussing this, whether or not they are saying it's an issue."
 

USDA LOWERS NATION'S CROP ESTIMATES
AS FOOD PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO RISE
WHILE DROUGHT RAVAGES FARMLANDS

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Widespread drought has prompted the Agriculture Department to slash its estimated forecasts for grain and soybean production and the conditions could drive food prices up.

Federal officials lowered their estimate Monday for corn production by seven percent from last year, predicting that nearly 8.89 billion bushels will be harvested this year. If the forecast is realized, it would be lowest production since 1995. The Agriculture Department also lowered its forecast for other crops, including soybeans. The agency says production is expected to be 2.63 billion bushels, down nine percent from 2001.

Corn and soybeans are two commodities used in hundreds of food products and used as feed for hogs, cattle, chickens and other livestock. The lack of rainfall has forced some cattlemen in Midwestern and Western states to sell their herds because they can't afford to feed the animals. Forecasts for all wheat production also were lowered by 14% from last year's crop to 1.69 billion bushels, according to the agency's crop report.

Areas that have been severely affected include agricultural states in the Western Corn Belt, Great Plains, Ohio Valley and Atlantic Coastal Plain. Conditions are so poor in Nebraska that Gov. Mike Johans has asked Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to declare the entire state a disaster area so farmers may obtain federal assistance. Veneman already has declared Utah an agricultural disaster area. The state has been affected by drought for four years.

Although several Midwestern states are also dry, rain fell in much of Minnesota and Iowa in July, allowing most areas in those states to escape the drought. But conditions have worsened in Kansas as a heat wave continues. State statistics indicate half of he state's corn crop is very poor and poor. Other commodities are also suffering because of the dry weather. The Agriculture Department says cotton production is expected to be nine percent lower from last year's crop at 18.4 million, 480-pound bales.
 

WAL-MART USES GROCERY SALES
TO HELP INSULATE IT
FROM ECONOMIC SLOWDOWNS

RACHEL KATZ, BLOOMBERG: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive H. Lee Scott has opened about three warehouse- size stores each week since May. Some investors, concerned consumers are reducing spending, say he should keep up the pace.

These so-called supercenters, which include supermarkets, are part of Scott's strategy of encouraging consumers to do their grocery shopping at the world's largest retailer in the hope they'll pick up other products as well. He plans to open almost four times as many supercenters this year as regular Wal-Mart stores, which are about half the size.

Using groceries to attract customers more often is key for Scott to meet his goal of increasing earnings at the same rate as sales in a faltering economy, some investors said.

"Even when the economy's bad, you're going to buy toothpaste," said Maureen Depp, who helps manage $48.8 billion in assets at State Street Research & Management Co., which owns about 4.33 million Wal-Mart shares. Wal-Mart is "in the best position possible, because of the high proportion of basic goods."

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter said second-quarter net income will at least meet its forecast of 44 cents to 45 cents a share even after July sales missed expectations. Analysts expect[ed] Wal-Mart to report profit of 45 cents . . . .according to Thomson First Call.

People will shop at Wal-Mart in a slowing economy because of low prices, investors said. A prolonged economic stumble may hurt because shoppers probably will skip more-profitable items such as televisions, they said. "If there's a broad consumer slowdown, Wal-Mart's going to be affected," said Erik Becker, an analyst with Waddell & Reed, which owned about one million Wal-Mart shares among $26 billion in assets as of March.

Wal-Mart shares have fallen 16% this year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has dropped 21%. No. 2 U.S. discounter Target Corp. has shed 22%. Shares of Wal-Mart fell 79 cents to $48.41 [recently] They have declined 25% since Scott took over in January 2000.

Consumer spending rose at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the quarter, the slowest pace since the third quarter of 2001, the U.S. Commerce Department said. Consumer confidence fell in July by the most in nine months, according to economic consulting firm Conference Board.

Wal-Mart's sales at stores open at least a year in July rose 4.5 percent, less than the company's predicted five percent to seven percent. The increase was triple the industry's rise, which was 1.5 percent when Wal-Mart is excluded, according to Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi.

Bond investors have bet Wal-Mart can maintain profit levels in an economic slowdown. Wal-Mart last month sold $1 billion of five-year debt at an annual interest payment, or coupon, of 4.38 percent. At the time, the interest payment was lower than that on all 384 corporate debt securities of similar maturity in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s U.S. Credit Index.

"At this point, you couldn't get a more secure holding" than Wal-Mart, said Joanne Fisher, a fixed income analyst at Pioneer Investment Management, which owns $2 million in Wal-Mart bonds among $4.5 billion in debt holdings. Pioneer didn't buy any of the July offering.

Scott declined to be interviewed, said spokesman Tom Williams. The 53-year-old executive was paid $3.14 million in salary, bonus and other compensation last year, along with $5 million in restricted stock. The company missed Scott's goal of boosting earnings at the same rate as sales in 2001, when profit rose six percent and sales gained 14% In the first quarter, profit jumped 20% while sales climbed 14%.

Wal-Mart, with sales of $218 billion last year, had 3,313 stores in the U.S. at the end of July, including 1,156 supercenters and 512 Sam's Club warehouse stores. The company also has more than 1,200 stores outside the country. Scott also is testing traditional grocery stores called Neighborhood Markets. Wal-Mart's low prices enable people to cut their grocery bills by as much as 20%, analysts said.

"They're going to buy less, but what they do buy, they'll buy at Wal-Mart," said David Abella, an analyst with Rochdale Investment Management, whose $1 billion in assets included 120,000 Wal-Mart shares. Wal-Mart began using groceries to help insulate it from economic slowdowns in the early 1980s. Scott plans to open as many as 185 supercenters this year, an increase from 178 in 2001.

Rival Target, which doesn't offer as many groceries, is more susceptible to a slowdown because it sells a larger portion of discretionary fashion items, analysts said. Same-store sales at Target's discount stores rose 2.2 percent in July. Kmart Corp. filed for bankruptcy in January after trying to match Wal-Mart's low prices.

Wal-Mart's reliance on groceries, which are typically low-margin, may backfire in an extended slowdown, investors said. Wal-Mart needs to sell non-essential items such as patio furniture to meet Scott's earnings goal, they said.

"If consumers weaken dramatically, some of the bigger ticket items at Wal-Mart would suffer first," said Keith Goddard, director of research at Capital Advisors Inc., whose $900 million in assets include about 1.1 million Wal-Mart shares.
 

CORPORATE AGRIBUSINESS RESEARCH PROJECT
WEB SITE INITIATES RENEWED SUPPORT EFFORT

It is rather curious that as more and more people from literally around the world request to regularly receive THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER, lavish in their much
appreciated praise for the work it seeks to do, fewer and fewer people seem willing to
financially contribute to its support.

Those handful of regular contributors who have earned the editor's undying gratitude
over the past four years and the few other occasional welcome individual supporters
stand in marked contrast to those many who obviously have believed during that time
that their aid could be better applied elsewhere, particularly when it comes farm and
rural  organizations. Such neglect, however, when it comes to rural concerns is
recognized  from this desk as not uncommon in our modern affluent and well fed
society.

Since the AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER first appeared some 182 issues ago it has been the publisher's intent to make the work of the Corporate Agribusiness Research Project
(CARP) and the monitoring of corporate agribusiness from a public interest perspective
available to the widest possible audience, seeing that those few and available publications that still concern themselves with corporate agribusiness are so prohibitively expensive,
to say nothing of their pro-corporate bias.

But, because there is a more a need today than ever before to make corporate
agribusiness more accountable to the common good, it is the wish and hope of THE
AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER to continue to play a major role in that effort. Your
contributions will go far in helping to perpetuate that hope. Such contributions may be
sent to the editor at the above address.

As part of a major effort to keep those committed to bringing economic and political
democracy to rural America informed, educated and updated the Corporate
Agribusiness  Research Project is happy to point out that its web site has been updated
and  streamlined.
http://www.ea1.com/CARP/

Among the sites many features are:

> A complete index of THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER'S  first 162 issues with a
"Search" engine to provide easy access to the subject matter of each edition.

> new edition of THE AGBIZ TILLER, the progeny of the one-time printed
newsletter, featuring the essay "The Merchants of Greed," an in-depth essay dealing with
today's corporate agribusiness. Likewise the "Search" engine is also available for past
editions of THE AGBIZ TILLER.

> In "Between the Furrows," besides a modern "Search" engine, there is a wide range
of  pages designed to inform and educate readers on the inner workings of corporate
agribusiness. They include:

* CARP's "Mission Statement," "Overview" and THE AGRIBUSINESS
EXAMINER'S  Editor\Publisher's "Resume."

*  "Fact Miners," an effort to assist the reader in the necessary art of researching
corporations

*  "Quotable Quotes" pertaining to agribusiness and corporate power

*  "Links," a page which allows the reader to survey various useful public interest,
government and corporate web sites;

* "Feedback" an opportunity for reader input:

* The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness, a page where readers can order
directly the editor's 1992 published book from Essential Books.

The CARP web site was designed and produced by ElectricArrow of Seattle,
Washington.
http://www.electricarrow.com

Simply by clicking on the address below all the aforementioned features and information
are yours  to enjoy, study, absorb and sow.

http://www.ea1.com/CARP/