Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
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U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS
WINFREY-LYMAN INNOCENCE VERDICT
In what appears to be the final chapter of a public relations disaster for the U.S. cattle industry the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 1998 verdict by a federal jury that rejected cattlemen's claims against talk show host Oprah Winfrey, her production companies Harpo Productions Inc. and King World Productions and family farm activist Howard Lyman.
The court made it clear that Winfrey's April 16, 1996 television program on the subject of mad cow disease did not give false information about it or defame cattle producers. On that program Lyman observed that processed cattle in cattle feed --- a practice later banned in the U.S.--- could spread mad cow disease to people. The brain-destroying disease is suspected of killing 23 people in Great Britain.
Texas cattle producer Paul F. Engler and Cactus Feeders, Inc. sought to prove that U.S. cattle prices and cattle futures dropped drastically after the show aired.
Engler, president of Cactus Feeders and six other Texas cattle businesses, filed the $6.7 million lawsuit against Winfrey, the amount of money being what Engler claims he lost in the cattle market due to remarks made by Winfrey and Lyman on the show in question. Plaintiff's in the case in addition to Engler and Cactus Feeders included Texas Beef Group; Perryton Feeders Inc.; Maltese Cross Cattle Co.; Bravo Cattle Co.; Alpha 3 Cattle Co.; and Dripping Springs Inc.
In a 3-0 decision with Judge Edith Jones concurring the court said the food safety claims expressed by Lyman were based on facts and could not be challenged under business disparagement law. "There is little doubt that Howard Lyman and the Winfrey show melodramatized the `Mad Cow Disease' scare," the court said. But, the court added, the cattlemen who sued Winfrey did not prove that they were harmed.
It was expected that the 1998 trial would be a landmark constitutional test of so-called veggie libel laws, which are in effect in 13 states, including Texas. Engler, who led a group of Texas cattlemen suing Winfrey, argued that remarks made on her program about mad cow disease contributed to a dramatic decline in cattle prices and futures prices.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled that Winfrey and her co-defendants could not be sued under the state's food disparagement law, meaning the cattlemen had to prove that Winfrey deliberately or recklessly made false statements with the intent to hurt the cattle business. While the trial exonerated Winfrey, it did not establish whether food disparagement laws are constitutional.
WHO IS PAUL ENGLER?
Paul Engler, president of Cactus Feeders Inc. is not widely known to most Americans. Yet, the Amarillo, Texas cattleman is the largest cattle feeder in the nation with a corporate agribusiness background that both invites and appropriately deserves public scrutiny.
In his suit against Oprah Winfrey and Howard Lyman (see above) and in the news reports of the trial readers were constantly being told that Engler claimed to have lost millions (the "Oprah crash") in the cattle market owing to Winfrey and Lyman's discussion of the possibility of mad cow disease in the U.S.
When one examines the nation's cattle market, however, for a period of time both after and before the April 16, 1996 show a rather different picture emerges.
The week of the program (April 15-April 22) the then current futures contract on feeder cattle dropped 2.5%; the week following the program (April 22-April 29) the same contract dropped 3%, and the week following that (April 29-May 6) it rebounded and showed a 7.4% gain. However, the week before the program (April 8-April 15) the same contract dropped 3.8%, the largest drop of the entire month's period in question.
Likewise, the week of the program (April 15-April 22) the then current futures contract on live cattle dropped 3.9%; the week following the program (April 22-April 29) the same contract dropped 2.1%, and the week following that (April 29-May 6) it also rebounded and showed a 5.6% gain. However, the week before the program (April 8-April 15) the same contract dropped 4.8%, again the largest drop of the entire month's period in question.
Before the Winfrey show, outside of the cattle industry, Paul Engler was not well known, but within the industry he's long been a major force. He began his career some 40 years ago as a cattle feeder in Valentine, Nebraska and after traveling to the Texas Panhandle in 1960 established his first ranch and feedlot near Amarillo. Today, Engler's Cactus Feeders Inc. is the nation's largest.
Now 69 years old Engler, as the Wall Street Journal describes him "sporting ostrich-leather boots and a diamond-rimmed gold ring with the Cactus Feeders logo, [he] runs his $650 million a year sales operation from an office festooned with trophies" with awards such as the 1996 "Cattle Businessman of the Year" awarded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). He also trades cattle futures, in the Journal's words, "to hedge the risks of the volatile business."
With its corporate headquarters in Amarillo, Cactus Feeders, under the registered brand of the Spike Box Ranch, now owns and manages five feedyards and operates farming and ranching interests in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska with vast grasslands and native prairie covering 140,000 acres supporting a cow-calf program of over 4000 head, and provides year-round grazing for stocker cattle. The farming program, according to the company, "produces a variety of grain crops, which are either sold on the cash markets or used as feed in the yards."
With a one-time capacity of over 335,000 head of cattle, Cactus represents the largest privately owned feeding operation in the world.
Initially, cattleman Engler, started Hereford Feedyards with a group of investors in late 1960. As the NCBA has noted his "vision to start feeding cattle on a large scale would later help reverse the practice of shipping Texas' raw materials -- namely grain and home-grown beef -- out of state. His revolutionary ideas helped turn a fledgling cattle feeding enterprise into a billion-dollar industry for Texas." Engler is also often thought of as the father of "captive supply" in the cattle industry.
Later, Engler would become board chairman and president of ProChemco Inc., a Amarillo beef cattle feeding and ranching company --- with interests in oil and gas exploration and production. In 1972, however, he resigned that position to become a group vice-president at Iowa Beef Processors (now IBP) in charge of the company's carcass division. While retaining his position on the ProChemco board of directors Engler also became a member of IBP's executive committee and board of directors (1972-75). In conjunction with Engler's new position IBP purchased his 13% stock ownership of ProChemco.
At the time Engler joined Iowa Beef Processors and served on its board of directors the company was immersed in one of the major corporate scandals of recent years. The origins of the scandal involved the company's board chairman, the late C.J. Holman, who was later convicted for conspiring with an organized crime figure to bribe the company's way into the world's largest meat market --- the New York City metropolitan area --- through a series of kick-back payments to both union officials and supermarket executives.
In Vicious Circles: The Mafia in the Marketplace, (W.W. Norton & Co. , New York: 1979) a remarkable piece of investigative journalism, former Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny, describes in considerable detail this "anatomy of a bribe."
Almost a year after Holman was convicted, in August, 1975, Engler also left IBP and its board of directors because, in the company's words, he and other company officers opposed a conflict-of-interest policy that would restrict company officers "from any outside business activity" which isn't "considered to be in the best interest of the company or its shareholders, including . . . personal commodity trading and other areas." IBP said that its board believed that such activities as "personal commodity trading" could constitute a conflict of interest particularly for "those involved in the buying and selling of cattle."
Engler, after leaving Iowa Beef, co-founded Cactus Feeders Inc. with partner Tom Dittmer. (See "HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON'S $99,537 MIRACLE: IT'S THE PITS!!!" now available
through THE AGBIZ TILLER) "I learned an awful lot at IBP," Engler would later comment. "However, I had spent too much time in my life keeping cattle alive to enjoy killing them."
While Engler was serving as Iowa Beef's group vice-president of the carcass division the company announced plans in June, 1973 to build a $25 million beef slaughter and procurement complex on a 450-acre site near Amarillo. Engler said the decision to locate the plant near Amarillo was made after careful study of the cattle feeding industry in the Southwest. Some 15 years later Engler, as president of Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, signed a marketing contract with IBP. In April, 1992 he sold 32% of Cactus Feeders to his employees.
For a complete background on Paul Engler and his role in the U.S. cattle industry see THE AGBIZ TILLER (Issue #8) in the archives of THE AGBIZTILLER
NEBRASKA STATE SENATOR CHARGES:
IBP HAS BEHAVED "SHAMEFULLY AND DESPICABLY"
IN RUNNING FROM THE LAW FOR YEARS
In a blistering attack on IBP, the U.S.'s largest meat packer and who has been called the nation's number one "corporate outlaw," Nebraska State Senator Jon Bruning told a company representative "I think your company has behaved shamefully and despicably in the way you've run from the law for years."
Brunings charges came during a recent Nebraska Legislature's Natural Resources Committee hearing considering a measure to require covers on wastewater lagoons at state meatpacking plants to control toxic emissions.
It was Bruning of Sarpy County who led the criticism, saying IBP had spent millions of dollars in mounting legal battles rather than addressing health and odor concerns caused by its Dakota City, Nebraska., slaughterhouse and wastewater-treatment plant. He also castigated IBP for moving its headquarters and executives to Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, away from the company's own sulfur emission odors, comparing an IBP lawyer's unwillingness to say such emissions caused health problems to the cigarette industry's denials that cigarette smoking is linked to cancer.
"I am appalled at IBP's behavior," Bruning said. "If I get re-elected and you do not follow up on addressing this problem, I promise you I will reintroduce this legislation year after year after year."
People living near the Dakota City plant, the Omaha World Herald's Paul Hammel reports, have complained for years about a rotten-egg smell and suspected health problems likened to emissions from the IBP facility.
"I'm working on three minutes of sleep since 2 a.m. because of the hydrogen sulfide that invaded my home last night," David Krogh of Dakota City told committee members. Krogh said he and his pregnant wife are being forced to sell their custom-built home along the Missouri River, just south of the IBP plant, because of the emissions. He said the emissions cause severe headaches.
"I hate to move but I have to think about the health and welfare of my family," said Krogh, a member of a citizens group that has called on IBP to reduce emissions.
A federal health organization, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, has said monitoring showed "the highest levels of hydrogen sulfide we have seen anywhere in the country" near the plant. In January, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a 48-page lawsuit against IBP, alleging that the company has violated both state and federal air- and water-pollution laws. (See Issue #61)
In 1997, Hammel recounts, IBP proposed spending $13 million to build new, covered waste lagoons and take other steps to curb pollution and expand its tannery operation. The plan, however, has been held up in a battle with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. IBP claims that excessive red tape has held up state approval of its plan, while the Department of Environmental Quality has said IBP needs to correct its wastewater problems before embarking on a plant expansion.
Krogh's brother, Rod, charges that IBP had held the communities of South Sioux City and Dakota City as hostage, refusing to move ahead with the new pollution controls until it gets permission for its tannery expansion --- despite the environmental department's encouragement to install the pollution controls. Krogh said local residents want to see pollution curbs in place before supporting an expansion that would pump more toxins in the air.
Sheila Hagen of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, vice president and general counsel for IBP, in disputing Bruning's allegations, said the new lagoons and the tannery expansion are part of a joint project and cannot be separated and built at different times.
CARGILL BOARD CHAIRMAN MICEK
APPOINTED TO APEC BUSINESS ADVISORY BOARD
Any lingering questions as to how U.S. trade policy is formulated and executed has once again been answered with President Bill Clinton's recent appointment of Cargill Chairman Ernest S. Micek to serve on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), an influential group of world business leaders that advises APEC on important issues.
The 21-member economies that make up APEC - including China, Japan, Russia and the United States - account for nearly half of global trade and population.
Micek is one of three U.S. members to sit on the council. He and Sy Sternberg, chairman, president and CEO of New York Life Insurance Co., were named on February 11 to join Paul Song, president and CEO of ARIS Corp. Micek and Sternberg succeed John F. Smith Jr., chairman and CEO of General Motors Corp., and J. Gary Burkhead, vice chairman of FMR Corporation, the parent company of Fidelity Investments.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to represent America's business interests in these important markets," said Micek, who joined Cargill in 1959. "I relish the chance to help lower overseas barriers on American goods and services and to work with APEC leaders in building a more environmentally sustainable and prosperous trading system."
Since its inception in November 1995, ABAC has issued several reports to APEC on a wide range of issues of importance to business. Several of these recommendations have been adopted --- including a proposal to create a regional open food system "where agricultural and food products could be traded more freely among APEC countries."
Micek is also chairman of the Emergency Committee for American Trade, a Washington, D.C.-based group comprised of the leaders of more than 50 of America's largest companies that together represent more than four million employees. He also serves on the President's Export Council and is a member of the U.S. board of the Pacific Basin Economic Council.
His appointment is only the latest in a long list of Cargill executives who have held key trade posts in recent past administrations, i.e., Cargill Corp. executives --- William R. Pearce and Daniel Amstutz --- who played such a key and profound role in fashioning U.S. and world trade policies in the past 30 years.
When the U.S. entered the 1970's it was faced with an economic crisis as the nation's balance of payments was worsening and the value of the dollar was plummeting the Nixon Administration, realizing the need to respond to this crisis, appointed a Presidential Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy, headed by Albert L. Williams, head of IBM's finance committee. The committee, which reported to the President the following year, was composed of representatives from several major U.S. corporations, academics and two labor leaders.
Corporate agribusiness was well represented by Edmund W. Littlefield, head of the Business Council and a board member of the Del Monte Corp., and Pearce, then a vice-president of Cargill Inc., who would come to play a prominent role on the Commission and would be responsible for writing much of its final repot.
The Nixon's Administration's New Economic Policy (NEP) soon came to incorporated the Williams Commission's analysis and policy recommendations. Recognizing that there were costs to maintaining the U.S.'s philosophy of "economic imperialism," the report pointed out "many of the economic problems we face today grow out of the overseas responsibilities the U.S. has assumed as the major power of the non-communist world."
A major section of the Williams report was devoted to outlining a strategy for expanding U.S. food exports. The basis for this strategy was the principal of "comparative advantage." "Comparative advantage" was simply a means of describing an international division of labor structured around U.S. interests.
A crucial element in expanding U.S. food exports was the multilateral trade negotiations carried out under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a multilateral institution which had grown out of post-war efforts to restructure the international economic system, to serve as a forum for negotiating trade liberalization and to provide a framework for consultation and dispute settlement and negotiations on trade issues among the governments of its signatory nations.
In 1972 as Peter Flanigan, the head of Nixon's Council on International Economic Policy, was imploring the USDA to develop a strategy for the upcoming GATT negotiations, Cargill's Pearce was appointed the White House's special deputy trade representative. Flanigan's principal target (which would remain the basis of the U.S. negotiating position throughout the GATT negotiations) was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Common Market countries.
In the intervening years, the U.S., for its part, has sought to have all agricultural programs put "on the table," meaning that all government farm programs that impact price, production, consumption, or trade in any way be eliminated. That included dairy and commodity programs, import restrictions on agricultural products and existing conservation programs. Throughout the 80's and early 90's these programs were the mainstay of net U.S. farm income.
What the Reagan, Bush and Republican administrations sought and finally achieved in the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" bill was a plan to "decouple" so-called welfare-type payments to farmers for a seven year period while they "adjusted" themselves to a "free market" or more accurately what could be described as a "transition" out of agriculture.
One need look no further than the drafter of that original U.S. proposal --- Daniel Amstutz, another former Cargill vice-president and one-time chief agricultural trade negotiator for the United States --- to learn who its major beneficiaries were intended to be. The measure was also promoted around the globe by Cargill, the Fertilizer Institute and other corporate agribusiness groups who now stand to substantially benefit from a return to full-scale agricultural production and a cheap raw materials policy.
It should also be noted that when Pearce and Amstutz left the government they both returned to the Cargill corporate structure.
CARGILL, JOHN DEERE CREDIT
INTRODUCE AG BIZ "BUNDLING" LOANS
Cargill Inc., the nation's largest private corporation, and John Deere Credit, a subsidiary of the nations largest farm machinery manufacturer, as first reported in Issue #60 will offer a new program in the coming year called Performance Finance, which will offer straight loans and a variety of financing options tied to farmer contracts to deliver grain or buy farm inputs like seed or fertilizer.
"It is basically a one-stop process that will help farmers manage time as well as cash flow," Jerry Sullivan, John Deere Credit division manager told Reuters News Service.
Currently John Deere Credit, has 500,000 accounts and a managed portfolio of more than $11 billion. Cargill is the world's largest commodities trader and a leading processor and exporter of farm goods from grains and cotton to meats and sugar.
Performance Finance will offer four alternatives, according to Reuters, with two giving farmers competitive interest rates to buy crop inputs for expenses below and above the $150,000 level. A third option will allows farmers to forward contract crops for future delivery and receive a loan based on part of the projected future value. Farmers pay off the loan at delivery of the grain and can elect to deliver well after harvest time if they wish. A fourth option allows farmers to receive a loan on any grain they currently possess.
According to Dennis Inman, grain origination manager at Cargill's AgHorizons division, the company is currently offering loans at two percentage points below bank prime rates on any of the program loans used to purchase farm inputs from Cargill.
"It's part of a phenomenon called 'bundling,'" Neil Harl, an Iowa State University ag economist and attorney warns. "There are very negative aspects to bundling. They are trying to bundle items they do not have monopoly power over with those things they do have monopoly power over." "Bundling," has been the lynch pin of the U.S Department of Justice's current anti-trust action against Bill Gates's Microsoft Corp.
"If producers become dependent on suppliers or grain companies for credit, they lose flexibility on how they produce their crops, who to produce them for and when to sell," Chuck Hassebrook, program director with the Center for Rural Affairs in Walthill, Nebraska adds, as lending by the likes of Cargill and ConAgra could further erode the control of farmers over their farming options.
John Deere Credit expanded into operating loans in 1995, with the vast majority of their business being offered through partnerships with companies like Pioneer Hi--Bred and now Cargill. Enabling ever large corporate agribusinesses to further consolidate these relatively new lending programs would give such corporations greater access to the large grower class that has been emerging in agriculture in recent years.
"Everyone wants to be aligned with the 20% of the producers who produce 80% of the product," Neil Olsen, executive vice president with Omaha-based Farm Credit Services of America told the Omaha World Herald's Bill Hord.
Stressing that to date such lending programs are carefully structured to be options and not requirements, Farm Credit's Olsen does not see such a development as "ominous."
"This is not about changing ownership," he tells Hord. "It's a risk-management option. From the standpoint of managing risk, we are in favor of forward-contracting." Olsen said traditional lending companies and farm suppliers are experimenting to find out how the partnerships and alliances will work out. "Quite honestly, we don't know where it is going to sort out," Olsen said. "Nobody's hit the home run, yet."
FRITO-LAY'S NO GE CORN CONTRACTS:
LETTING THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY
Since the announcement in late January that leading U.S. corn chip manufacturer Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc.,was sending out new contracts to their corn suppliers, asking them not to use genetically engineered corn, corporate agribusiness and its paid scientists have begun mounting a nation-wide effort to reverse the company's decision.
Although Frito-Lay has apparently admitted that their corn contracts are only applicable to 95% of their suppliers, that they can't guarantee that their cooking oils are GE-free, that they only asked farmers not to plant GE corn in the new contracts which they sent in January, and that they have stated that they have no plans for labeling their products, they have still managed to raise the ire of their industry colleagues.
Frito-Lay, uses about 22 million bushels of corn annually, according to the Wall Street Journal, to make such snacks as Doritos Tortilla Chips and Tostitos Corn Chips. and often needs to buy grain on the open market, much of it now containing genetically engineered varieties.
While Frito-Lay is making no plans to advertise its products as GE free some analysts believe their decision will put pressure on other snack-food companies to avoid using GE corn and other such products. "The consumer, if given a chance, is going to gravitate toward non-GMO," Daniel W. Basse, executive vice-president of AgResources Co., a Chicago commodity advisory group, told the Journal.
One professor, Wayne Parrott, a University of Georgia "researcher," has already initiated a letter writing campaign among scientists, asking Frito-Lay to reverse its decision.
"It is critical," he writes, "that Frito Lay reverse its decision be reversed, or other food manufacturers will have to follow suit, or face the brunt of all the adverse publicity Greenpeace and similar groups can muster. It is essential that Frito-Lay immediately be put on notice that an irate scientist can be as bad for business as an ardent Greenpeace member.
"As a scientist," he continues, "I am appalled at the Frito-Lay's decision to not use genetically engineered corn in its products. I expect companies to make the utmost use of science to ensure the quality and integrity of its products. Companies that cater to hysteria from fringe groups cannot have the best interest of the consumers at heart.
"Actions such as that by Frito Lay inevitably delay the development and implementation of biotechnology, which in turn promotes current levels of pesticide use in the environment, and makes it more difficult to address issues of world hunger and environmental degradation. The real scientific data have not supported any hazard from those engineered crops that have made it through the regulatory system in the USA or elsewhere," he claims.
Meanwhile, Simon Harris, California field organizer for the Organic Consumers Association, points out that Frito-Lay's recent moves are "a sign that they're getting nervous." But Harris also warns that "Frito-Lay has gone only half way. They've admitted that their corn contracts are only applicable to 95% of their suppliers, that they can't guarantee that their cooking oils are GE-free, and have stated that they have no plans for labeling their products.
"Until Frito-Lay goes all the way and announces that they will start enforcing `no-GE contracts' with all their suppliers and labeling their products as free of genetically engineered ingredients, they will remain at the top of our Frankenfoods 15 boycott list," he notes.
Supporters of the Frito-Lay action are being urged to email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org, call them between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (CST), at 1-800-352-4477, and ask for operator 100, or write them at Frito-Lay P.O. Box 660634 Dallas, Texas 75266-0634
Frito-Lay has been one of the primary targets of a new "Frankenfoods 15" boycott campaign being organized by the Organic Consumers Association and Friends of the Earth. For a copy of the groups Frankenfoods 15 leaflet in printable format see:
U.S.SENATOR BARBARA BOXER
TO INTRODUCE SENATE VERSION
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD RIGHT TO KNOW ACT
In a move that is sure to fuel the growing controversy over genetically engineered foods in the U.S., California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in a "Dear Colleague" letter to her fellow senators has announced her plan to introduce the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act in the U.S. Senate after the Presidents' day recess.
In her February 8, letter she points out that recent polls have demonstrated that Americans want to know if they are eating genetically engineered food. A January 1999 Time magazine poll revealed that 81% of respondents wanted genetically engineered food to be labeled. A January 2000 MSNBC poll showed identical results. The European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan already require genetically engineered food to be labeled.
Noting that last year, 98.6 million acres in the U.S. were planted with genetically engineered crops, Boxer notes that more than a third of the U.S. soybean crop, one-quarter of corn and a third of cotton were genetically engineered, representing a 23-fold increase in genetically engineered crop production from just four years ago, yet she adds, the health and environmental effects of genetically engineered food are not yet known.
Expressing the hope that her colleagues "will cosponsor this important legislation to require that all foods containing or produced with genetically engineered material bear a neutral label indicating that fact.
"Given the rapid expansion of this largely untested technology, we should provide consumers with the right to know whether they are eating genetically engineered food. Congress has already provided consumers similar rights by requiring the labeling of foods containing artificial colors and flavors, chemical preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
"Labeling genetically engineered food would not be unprecedented for the U.S," she continues. "In fact, as part of a recent 131-nation agreement to regulate trade in genetically engineered crops, the U.S. agreed to label its international shipments of seeds, grains and plants that may contain genetically engineered material. If we can provide this information to our trading partners, shouldn't we make similar information available to American consumers?
"Please join me in providing American families with the right to decide whether or not to eat genetically engineered food. For more information, please contact Lisa Moore of my staff at 202-224-3553."
In the House of Representatives U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and several co-sponsors have authored H.R. 3377, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act which calls for genetically engineered food to be properly labeled.
ALAN GREENSPAN TO ADDRESS
RURAL BANKERS AND AGRICULTURAL ECONOMISTS
ON CURRENT FARM ECONOMY
Family farmers already in the midst of a rural depression economy got further bad news last week with the announcement that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan plans to speak out about the state of the rural economy at a luncheon address at a Federal Reserve's new Center for the Study of Rural America rural policy conference on April 27-28 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Greenspan's address, although he might do so by remote broadcast, and the event is expected to draw rural-policy experts, rural bankers and agricultural economists from throughout the Midwest region.
Rural America is too important for the Federal Reserve to ignore, said Mark Drabenstott, an economist with the Fed's bank in Kansas City and director of the rural studies center, also in Kansas City.
The benefits of the booming U.S. economy have not rippled into the most rural regions of the country, Drabenstott said, addressing a recent rural policy conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Part of the reason is the lack of resources, particularly in telecommunications.
Many farmers throughout the past century have blamed their financial plight on actions by the Federal Reserve consistently favoring corporate agribusiness's large lenders at their expense.
CORPORATE AGRIBUSINESS RESEARCH PROJECT
WEB SITE POSTED ON WORLD WIDE WEB
The Corporate Agribusiness Research Project (CARP) web site is now posted on the World Wide
Web featuring: THE AGBIZ TILLER, THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER and "Between the
THE AGBIZ TILLER, the progeny of the one-time printed newsletter, now becomes an on-line
news feature of the Project. Its initial essay concerns one Hillary Rodham Clinton, the newly
declared candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in New York State.
In "HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON'S $99,537 MIRACLE: IT'S THE PITS!!!" now available
through THE AGBIZ TILLER you'll learn some of the messy details behind her cattle futures
"miracle." You will also find in this section the archives for past editions of the THE AGBIZ
By popular reader demand THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER section includes not only an
issue-by-issue and verbose index of this weekly e-mail newsletter, but an archive of all the past
In "Between the Furrows" there is a wide range of pages designed to inform and educate readers on
the inner workings of corporate agribusiness. In addition to CARP's "Mission Statement,"
"Overview" and the Project director's "Publication Background," the viewer will find a helpful "Fact Sheet" on agriculture and corporate agribusiness; a "Fact Miners" page which is an effort to assist the reader in the necessary art of researching corporations; a "Links" page which allow the
reader to survey various useful public interest, government and corporate web sites; a Feedback"
page for reader input, and a page where readers can order directly the editor's The Corporate
Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness.
The CARP web site was designed and produced by ElectricArrow of Seattle, Washington.
Simply by clicking on either of the addresses below all the aforementioned features and information
are yours to enjoy, study, absorb and sow.
Charles M. Schultz, R.I.P.