The
AGRIBUSINESS
EXAMINER                                                Issue # 68     March 27, 2000

Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
 

A.V. Krebs
Editor\Publisher
 

                                                    EDITORS NOTE
                                            The few sustaining the many!
That has been pretty much the story in the some 18 months since THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER first began appearing on computer screens. During the course of its existence, a small, but financially loyal group of folks have provided me with most welcome support, but their number is small compared to the near 1000 folks who today receive THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER.

In conceiving THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER, this editor wanted to make it as inexpensive to readers as he possibly could; hence, no subscription price, just personally affordable contributions. Thus, donations will, as always, be gladly accepted. Checks made out to A.V. Krebs, P.O. Box 2201, Everett, Washington 98203-0201 (NOT to the "Agribusiness Examiner") will continue to be received with much gratitude. To those loyal folks who have sent me financial support in the
past my sincere thanks for your continued support.
 

IBP PACKING MORE THAN MEAT AND PORK
AS LAW SUITS AGAINST COMPANY
BEGIN TO FILL U.S. COURTS

It is highly likely that the busiest office in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, headquarters of IBP Inc., is the company's own legal division for yet another lawsuit has recently been filed against the nation's largest meat packer.

The latest in a long string of law cases against the company, which has been labeled the nation's number one "corporate outlaw," has been instituted by Kiewit Construction Co. who alleges that IBP has "stiffed" the firm for  $1.8 million, the costs and fees the large construction company said it is owed for work it did on IBP's headquarters.The amount includes $655,945 to cover the unpaid cost of the project and a contractor's fee of nearly $1.2 million. The total cost of the project was $38.9 million, according to the lawsuit.

According to a report by John Taylor in the Omaha World-Telegram, Kiewit contends that the fee called for in their suit is in addition to the $1.8 million contractor's fee already called for in the original contract.  The added fee is justified, Kiewit claims, because of changes and modifications that IBP made in the building's design, thus delaying completion. One of the changes was increasing the building's size from 185,000 square feet to 224,000 square feet, Kiewit said.

If IBP hadn't made the changes, the lawsuit alleges, the building could have been substantially completed in February 1998, as scheduled. Instead, Kiewit points out, the building was completed March 18, 1999.

In a statement, IBP said: "We're disappointed our relationship with Kiewit is headed to court. We have paid Kiewit everything it is entitled to; however, like anyone who has hired a contractor to do work for them, we are not going to pay for inadequate workmanship or pay amounts that are above the terms of the agreement."

The lawsuit was filed Feb. 10 in Douglas County District Court, then was moved to U.S. District Court in Omaha earlier this month.

The Kiewit suit now joins several other law suit against IBP. The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, LLP recently announced that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska on behalf of all purchasers of the securities of IBP, Inc. between March 25, 1999, and January 12, 2000, inclusive charging IBP and certain of its senior officers and directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company's compliance with state and federal protection laws applicable to the Company's beef and pork production facilities.

Because of the issuance of a series of materially false and misleading statements the price of IBP securities was artificially inflated during the aforementioned dates. The action further alleges that prior to the disclosure of the adverse facts described above, defendants intended to use millions of shares of artificially inflated IBP common stock as currency for a proposed corporate acquisition.

Recently the U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a lawsuit  that prosecutors say could affect IBP plants throughout the entire Midwest. (See Issues #61 & #65) The Justice Department lawsuit accused IBP of violating federal air, water and hazardous waste laws at the company's flagship plant and former headquarters in Dakota City. "This case presents a pattern of activity for which the common thread is IBP's avoidance of environmental regulations," U.S. Attorney Thomas Monaghan told USA Today's Elliot Blair Smith. "We will hold them accountable."

The  48-page lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice charging IBP with violating five federal environmental laws with numerous incidents of air and water pollution and with improper handling of hazardous waste follows earlier pending lawsuits for price fixing (See Issue #32) and for covering up job-related injuries in its plants (See Issue #60).

The Cattlemen's Legal Fund price fixing suit, Pickett v. IBP, is the largest class action lawsuit ever brought under the Packers & Stockyards Act.  The suit alleges that IBP unlawfully depresses cattle prices utilizing captive supply procurement practices. "Captive supply" includes packer owned cattle as well as cattle supplies controlled through forward contracts and marketing agreements.

While the IBP's legal department seems to have its hands full these days, the company's chief executive's office is all smiles as the salary and bonus paid in 1999 to IBP Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert L. Peterson rose 31% to a total of $7,316,914.

Dow Jones Newswire reports that according a recent Securities and Exchange (SEC)  filing, the base salary of Peterson remained the same last year at $1 million. But IBP's directors increased the size of his bonus as a reward for an earnings boom at the company last year. IBP's 1999 net income jumped 65% to $313.3 million "largely because the prices it had to pay U.S. farmers for their hogs fell to the lowest levels in decades, reducing its raw-material costs."

In 1998, IBP net income totaled $190 million. lBP also is benefiting from its push into the manufacture of high-value meats. Peterson, 67, has been chairman and CEO since 1981. According to the proxy, his bonus was increased to $6.3 million in 1999 from $4.6 million in 1998.
 

USDA TO CUT FOOD INSPECTORS
WILL ALLOW THE SALE OF IRRADIATED MEAT

At a time when more and more contamination seems to be appearing in the country's food supply, the USDA in a move clearly designed to save the food industry money has announced that it plans to cut back food inspectors' visits to processing plants, saving on overtime pay and eliminating 150 jobs.

By cutting USDA's 7,500-employee inspection force by 150 jobs, the change would save the industry, which must cover the inspectors' overtime pay, an estimated $9 million a year. The department would save $4 million in personnel costs. "By having our resources allocated based on risk, the public is well served," said Margaret Glavin, associate administrator of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Critics, including the inspectors union, say the change will benefit the industry while possibly endangering public health.

According to USDA,  inspections would be reduced only at plants, such as soup canneries, where the risk of contamination is small and "where doing so would allow money to be shifted to other meat and egg safety programs," Agriculture Department officials claim.

Inspectors currently are required to visit each processing plant once a shift, including overtime runs. The department wants to switch to daily, random checks, starting in a year. Inspections would concentrate on plants that have a history of problems or are considered to be riskier because of what they process, such as ground beef, the most common source of the deadly E. coli O157:H7.

Once again, Wenonah Hauter, Director of the Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project charges, "the government is turning its back on consumers in favor of the powerful, moneyed food industry. It is no coincidence that this action comes on the heels of the government's recent legalization of food irradiation of raw meat such as ground beef, steaks and pork chops."

Only days after the USDA announced their cut back decision the Sara Lee Corporation announced a recall of 34,500 pounds of Ball Park hot dogs after samples tested positive for the listeria bacterium. Listeria can cause fever, headaches, nausea and neck stiffness. It is most dangerous to children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. A listeria outbreak in 1998 that was linked to Sara Lee Corp.'s Bil Mar Foods plant in Michigan allegedly killed at least 15 people, sickened some 100 others and caused several miscarriages.

"Decreasing food inspectors and irradiating food," Hauter further charged, "is not the answer to the problem of food contamination and food-borne illness. Many corporate factory farms use dirty food handling practices that regularly contaminate meat with feces, urine, pus and other contaminants that spread disease. Rather than cleaning up these factories, the food industry and government have chosen a cheap, quick alternative in the form of irradiation. Food irradiation has not been proven safe by any long-term studies and is no substitute for thorough food inspection by the USDA."

Beginning February 22, the USDA has permitted the irradiation of raw meat and meat products such as ground beef, steaks and pork chops. Under the USDA's labeling requirements, meat served in places as restaurants and cafeterias will not have to be labeled, so consumers will not know if they are eating irradiated meat or not. (Irradiated meat sold in supermarkets will be labeled as such.)

"The government is heading in the wrong direction when saving money for the food industry, rather than protecting public health and safety, becomes the bottom line," Hauter notes.

Critics also point out that in addition to weakening domestic food inspection, less than two percent of the food that is imported into the U.S. is now being inspected.

Meanwhile, a 1997 CBS poll showed that 77% of Americans don't want to eat irradiated food. But food irradiation is becoming more widespread in part because of efforts by the food and nuclear industries to sway administration officials and lawmakers, said Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen's president. For instance, in the 1995-1996 election cycle, food industry PACs spent $22.6 million on campaign contributions, and in the 1997-1998 cycle, they spent $19.8 million.

"Despite a strong show of the public's will, the money and influence wielded in Congress and the regulatory agencies by the nuclear and food industries is undermining democracy and the notion that government should serve people, rather than corporate interests," Claybrook said.

The government has declared food irradiation to be safe by using mathematical calculations supported by just five animal studies conducted primarily in the 1960s and 1970s that were of questionable quality, according to Hauter. Other research has shown that food irradiation diminishes the nutritional value of food by depleting its vitamins, she adds.
 

CARGILL HEADQUARTERS BLOCKED
BY GRAINRAGE DEMONSTRATORS,
AAN RALLY FOR RURAL AMERICA FOLLOWS

In an unprecedented display of protest, members of the Upper Midwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering (GrainRAGE) temporarily shut down the Wayzata, Minnesota international headquarters of Cargill on March 21.

Prior to the arrival of employees at the offices of the nation's largest private corporation, GrainRAGE members in white biohazard suits and respirators blocked the road into the Cargill compound with cars and their bodies.

Two people were arrested for trespassing after they shackled themselves to cars used to block the entrance to the Cargill Inc. headquarters. Traffic was backed up for nearly two miles along West McGinty Road while firefighters cut a 18-year-old women from the vehicles.

Shortly after police cleared the GrainRAGE demonstrators  a Ag Action Network (AAN) rally arrived. 75 strong with puppets  and huge banners. A festive rally proceeded, the centerpiece being a mock trial of Cargill. Evidence was given by a local organic farmer, who testified about genetic engineering affecting his livelihood. An AAN activist spoke about the plight of farmers in Minnesota, emphasizing the 1500 family farms being lost  this year to large agri-businesses like Cargill. A teacher talked about educating children on the real history of the U.S..A representative from the Institute for  Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) spoke about Cargill's ties to the WTO.

The demonstrators said they'd come to show support for farmers gathered the same day in Washington, D.C., for the "Rally for Rural America."

"We are following the lead of peasant farmers around the world by acting in self defense against genetic engineering and corporate agribusiness," said GrainRAGE member Foster Wildness.

The demonstrators called attention to the fact that Cargill is one of the world's foremost proponents of genetic engineering. It develops genetically modified organisms, and last September donated $10 million to the University of Minnesota for a plant genetics research facility.

Cargill also has ties to biotechnology leader Monsanto. Cargill sold its international seed business to Monsanto in 1998 and has agreed to manufacture commercial livestock and poultry feeds produced from Monsanto's proprietary germ plasm.

Cargill controls upwards of 45% of the global grain market, including more than  40% of US corn exports and a third of US soybean exports. Cargill is also one of the world's largest producers and distributors of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Farmers' groups around the world maintain that they are being put out of business because corporate agribusiness conglomerates, including Cargill, now control the markets for both agricultural inputs and products. In the recent years, direct actions against corporate agribusiness and genetic engineering have been on the rise.

In late 1998, Indian farmers burned Monsanto's genetically engineered cotton crops. One month later, Indian farmers stormed Monsanto's offices and destroyed the company's records. In France, members of the 20,000-strong Peasant Confederation destroyed Novartis' genetically altered corn seed in January 1998 and AGR-EVO genetic rice test plots in June 1999. Test crop trashings have also become frequent in Britain and the United States.

In February Greenpeace volunteers successfully boarded a barge carrying Cargill's genetically modified soybeans and demanded that the vessel leave British waters. GrainRAGE is a network of people in the Upper Midwest who promote small scale organic agriculture and food self-sufficiency by attacking corporate agribusiness and all forms of biotechnology.
 

MONSANTO FAVORS ARGENTINE SOYBEAN GROWERS
WHILE U.S. GROWERS PAY
HIGHER PRICE FOR ROUNDUP READY SEEDS

U.S. soybean growers, despite being mad about what they see as corporate favoritism toward foreign soybean growers by the Monsanto Corp., manufactures of Roundup ready soybeans, are according to the American Soybean Association still planning themselves on using genetically engineered soybeans.

The anger stems from the fact  that U.S. soybean farmers pay more than their Argentine competitors for Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetic seeds. A recent U.S. General Accounting Office report showed a disparity in prices in that a bag of Roundup Ready seed sold for about $12 to $15 in Argentina and from about $20 to $23 in the U.S. in 1999.

Monsanto admits that it does charge more in the U.S. for its seeds , but that the situation is unavoidable due to "weak intellectual property protection and lax enforcement of seed laws in Argentina." According to Monsanto, 25% to 50% of all Argentine soybean seeds are sold in violation of seed laws, suppressing the price of Roundup Ready seeds there. Also, Monsanto has patent protection for its product in the U.S., but lacks such in Argentina.

Soybean growers in Missouri and Illinois recently expressed resentment at Monsanto for giving unfair advantage to Argentina, a competitor of the U.S. in world soybean markets. American Soybean Association (ASA) President Marc Curtis warned that farmers might take matters into their own hands by cutting back on purchases of Monsanto chemicals, adding, "The next step lies in the hands of the farmers. If they decide to reject Monsanto products, that could send a strong message."

The ASA wants Monsanto to discontinue "technology fees" that add up to about $6.50 for every 50-pound bag of Roundup Ready seeds sold in the U.S. The fee isn't charged in Argentina.

After the GAO report, Bill Lambrecht, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, the St. Louis-based American soybean association asked Monsanto to refund more than $300 million to U.S. farmers. The company said no.

American Soybean Association board member Darryl Brinkmann who farms 1,700 acres near Carlyle in Southern Illinois, says that some of the farmers he has talking to "are upset with Monsanto about this. They just feel that everything has been done for the benefit of Monsanto, and not for the benefit of farmers. Monsanto says they need to get their investment back. But if they're not getting it in Argentina, why should they get it from American farmers?"

However, despite their unhappiness, the association was cited as saying  it will not advise farmers to stop using genetically engineered seeds, which were planted on about half of the soybean acreage in the U.S. last year.

Typical of the reaction to the disparity between the U.S. and Argentine prices for Roundup Ready seeds was ASA board member Neal Bredehoeft who told  Lambrecht that the GAO report was a hot topic in coffee shops where farmers gather, adding, "there was always a suspicion that this was going on. This really puts us at a disadvantage. We've always felt that we can compete if we have a level playing field."

But Bredehoeft, who farms 1,900 acres near Alma in western Missouri, added that he has no plan to stop planting Monsanto's Roundup Ready seeds, and while some farmers may try to punish Monsanto, Bredehoeft said that most soybean growers he knows have already placed seed orders for this season.

One Midwest farmer, however, who has rejected the use of genetically engineered seeds, reacted to the ASA's position by recalling a popular expression of the 1960's: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."
 

RAFI CONDEMNS USDA
CONTINUING RESEARCH AND ACQUIRING PATENTS
ON TERMINATOR SEED TECHNOLOGY

Decrying the fact that the USDA has been saying one thing and doing quite the opposite,  RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International) recently revealed that USDA now holds two new patents on the controversial Terminator technology, the genetic engineering of plants to render their seeds sterile.

If commercialized, Terminator would make it impossible for farmers to save seeds from their harvest, forcing them to return to the commercial seed market every year.

"The US government is advancing research and squandering taxpayer dollars on a technology that has been universally condemned because it is bad for farmers, food security, and biodiversity," Pat Mooney, Executive Director of RAFI charged. "It's an egregious misallocation of public resources for the sole purpose of maximizing seed industry profits," he adds.

Hope Shand, RAFI's Research Director, termed the USDA’s action "disgraceful. We were shocked to discover the department's new patents because when we met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Richard Rominger on two separate occasions last year, his staff assured us in no uncertain terms that there were no more patents in the works. Why didn't we get the straight story?"asks Shand.

"Despite mounting opposition from national governments, United Nations' agencies, farmers, scientists, and civil society organizations around the world, USDA continues to ignore the public outcry at home and abroad," adds Silvia Ribeiro, RAFI Programme Officer. Last month for example, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared FAO's opposition to Terminator. Earlier this month, Maryland introduced a bill to ban Terminator seeds.

According to RAFI, the new patents on genetic seed sterilization were issued in 1999 (US Patent No. 5,925,808 issued on July 20, 1999 and US Patent No. 5,977,441 issued on November 2, 1999). The patents are jointly owned by USDA and Delta & Pine Land (the world's largest cotton seed company), the owners of the original 1998 patent. The USDA's new patents share the same titles, inventors, and abstracts as the earlier patent, but they describe new innovations and demonstrate that USDA scientists are continuing to refine the technology and advance the research.

On October 28, 1999 representatives from a broad base of civil society organizations (CSOs) met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to demand that his agency abandon research and development of genetic seed sterilization. Participants included the American Corn Growers Association, Consumers Union, National Family Farm Coalition, Ralph Nader of Public Citizen, International Center for Technology Assessment, Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet, Consumer Federation, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, RAFI, and RAFI-USA. Less than five days later, USDA won a new patent on Terminator.

"We feel duped and betrayed," says Gary Goldberg, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association.  "We demand to know why the USDA continues to invest taxpayer dollars on anti-farmer research that, if commercialized, will hold farmers hostage to giant agribusiness corporations," said Goldberg.

Destroying National Seed Sovereignty: USDA's growing portfolio of Terminator patents sends an ominous message to the rest of the world, says Rafael Alegria, General Coordinator of Via Campesina, the largest confederation of peasants' and small farmers' organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America. "It amounts to a declaration of war against the 1.4 billion people who depend on farm-saved seeds - mainly poor people - and it's an assault on global food security," explains Alegria.

RAFI is urging that immediate action be taken on several fronts.

1. USDA should cease negotiations with Delta & Pine Land on the licensing of it's jointly held patents, and abandon all research and patents on genetic seed sterilization.

2. USDA should adopt a strict policy prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to support genetic seed sterilization.

3. USDA should terminate all research on Terminator seed technology as well as the closely related genetic trait control technologies. Remote control of a plant's genetic traits, triggered by proprietary chemicals, is grim news for farmers and the environment because, if commercialized, farmers will become more dependent on chemical inputs manufactured by the agrochemical/seed industry.

4. USDA should use public research dollars to reinvigorate public plant breeding for family farmers and sustainable agriculture. Instead of engineering seeds for sterility, USDA should boost breeding programs that will lessen farmers' dependency on chemicals, fertilizers, and other expensive inputs.

RAFI is urging that a message of protest be sent to US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.  A sample letter to Glickman can be found on RAFI's web site:

http://www.rafi.org

Secretary Dan Glickman
USDA
200-A Whitten Bldg.
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
USA
Email: agsec@usda.gov
Tel: 202 720-3631
Fax: 202 720-2166

RAFI (the Rural Advancement Foundation International) is an international civil society organization based in Canada.  RAFI is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to the socially responsible development of technologies useful to rural societies.  RAFI is concerned about the loss of agricultural biodiversity, and the impact of intellectual property on farmers and food security.
 

FARM ECONOMIST DR. WILLARD COCHRANE
LIKENS CORPORATE AGRIBUSINESS
TO A "BULL ELEPHANT IN A CHINA SHOP"

"A giant modern corporation operating in a local farm community can be likened to a bull elephant in a china shop," according to Dr. Willard Cochrane, one of the nation's leading agriculture economists. "The power of the giant overwhelms and shatters the local establishment."

Cochrane's analysis comes in a "A Food and Agriculture Policy for the 21st Century" report recently published by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"We have failed miserably in maintaining a family farm organization for U.S. agriculture," Cochrane believes. "We must act quickly or the institution as we know it will cease to exist."

He believes that support programs put in place over the years - price support, deficiency payments and acreage controls - have failed to adequately address the great downward swings in farm prices that have hurt farmers. Consequently, over a 62 year period (1935 -1997), the U.S. lost some 4.2 million farms, mostly smaller, family farms. Currently, there are only 575,000 small to medium-sized family farms struggling to survive.

"The farm programs put in place supposedly to help the family farmers, in fact, contributed to the demise of many of them," reports Cochrane. "The support programs contributed to the strong becoming stronger and the weak becoming weaker--until in fact the weakest dropped out of farming."Such farm policies have left family farmers in "a farm depression."

Cochrane served as President Kennedys Chief Agricultural Economist, and as an agricultural economist for the United Nations and the USDA. Cochrane is also the subject of a new book, Willard Cochrane & the American Family Farm, by University of Minnesota Professor, Dr. Richard Levins, published by University of Nebraska Press.

Major recommendations made in IATP's Cochrane report include:

* Creation of a special unit in the Department of Justice to investigate monopolistic actions in the food production and distribution system and to prosecute firms whose actions are deemed harmful to the efficient and equitable operation of the food and agricultural sector of the national economy.

* A Farm Refinancing Agency be established to help producing units (small, medium and large) refinance at subsidized interest rates and/or relaxed payment schedules in periods of falling farm prices.

* An annual cash subsidy ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 (depending on size  of operation) should be made to legitimate, family-sized farms.

* Establishing a federal program to monitor and regulate factory type operations in the production and processing of poultry, beef, pork and dairy products as they impact the environment.

* A new federal agency to work with USDA agencies and state/local governments to build sustainable ecological areas for different species of plants and wildlife.

The complete report is available from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and can be obtained by calling 612-870-0453 or can be found at their website,
http://www.iatp.org
 

WEARY POULTRY GROWERS WHO REJECTED
CONAGRA'S "BINDING ARBITRATION" EFFORT,
LOST FARMS, FACE A MEDIATION ATTEMPT

The last 19 poultry grower patriots who refused to sign a contract with the ConAgra Corporation containing a binding arbitration clause that would deny them the right to a trial by jury later are slated the first week of April to face a mediation attempt with ConAgra in Enterprize, Alabama rather than go to court.

Lead attorney for the growers, Gerald Johnson, has dropped off the case due to bad health leaving an inexperienced attorney to represent the growers.  The mediator in the case will be a retired Alabama Supreme Court judge and while the local judge would like to clear the docket the easiest way possible, the  weary growers would also like to bring the controversy to an end .

They have expressed a willingness to mediate a fair settlement for the losses they have suffered these past four years, but fear that they will only each be offered a pittance by ConAgra.  Because some of the growers are so financially strapped there is a possibility that some might be tempted to accept whatever ConAgra is willing to offer, thus some of the 19 growers will be kept in separate rooms during the mediation.

The issue in the case is not over their contract termination since ConAgra contends that they terminated themselves by not signing their new contract.  Their case against ConAgra, developed by attorney Johnson, is that the nation's third largest food producer, interfered with the the sales of their farms after the contract termination.

Subsequently, some of the growers had as many as 15 good offers to buy their farms at a good price, but ConAgra refused to offer a contract on the poultry houses and instead went elsewhere and had more new houses built and even put back into operation some old poultry houses they had cut off earlier for being out of date.

There is little law on the books to support the case which Johnson said "is the most complicated he has ever seen," ConAgra, however, obviously doesn't want to fight another court battle, it just wants to get the issue settled by offering the growers, some of them who are on the brink of losing everything, including their children's college funds and have been forced into poverty,  some of whom have had nervous breakdowns, and some of whom have suffered terribly for their  "sin" of standing up for their rights as US citizens, little if anything in the way of financial compensation.

The Honorable 19  now have been told that if the mediation fails, they will have their day in court after a judge decides on a summary judgment attempt by ConAgra.  They have been told by the attorneys that all 19 will not survive the summary judgment.

As Mary Clouse, a program coordinator for Rural Advancement Fund International - USA and a long-time rural activist observes:

"Do they stick together and settle for a few crumbs or hold on and watch some of their number be tossed out of a lawsuit, receive nothing and have no chance at justice?  These folks have a terrible choice  to make.  They need our support for whatever they have to do.  I am trying to get growers to simply show up in Enterprise on April 3 and 4  to stand with the 19.  Maybe clergy and other citizens could hold a prayer vigil for them.  Maybe a vigil all across America."

For further information contact:

Mary Clouse
RAFI-USA
PO Box 640
Pittsboro, NC 27312
919-542-1396 ph.
http://www.rafiusa.org
 

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  Furrows."

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
TILLER.

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
issues.

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.
http://www.electricarrow.com

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

http://www.ea1.com/CARP/
http://www.ea1.com/tiller/ --------------37BDC4CD329EF43580B6C9D6--