[Market-farming] Patterns in direct market sales of meat

Rick Williams mrfarm at frontiernet.net
Sat Jan 4 13:33:14 EST 2003

Rick Hopkins wrote:
> First of all it is Rick H. not Steve H.

Sorry about the name. I think I did that in past as well. But maybe it is
because you have such an odd first name:) Actually, I get you confused with
Steve Hopkins.

> You somehow have the uncanny handicap of reading something into others
> posts.  I do not support the commodity groups, I am in continuous conflict
> with them from pork, dairy, beef, poultry, and even some of the
> grain crops.
> What I said was I was in favor of the beef checkoff if the grass farmers
> were to get their share.

I completely understood your point, Rick, but I do not share your enthusiasm
for supporting the continuation of the checkoff ... period. I oppose the
checkoff on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and immoral. The courts
may not agree with me, but that is my view. You feel that you can deal with
the devil and win. I really don't think it is worth my time to do it as it
only bleeds off a little bit from the farm. But it is still a hundred or so
here and there and it does add up. But I can not spend thousands of dollars
of my time to try and change it. And that is likely true for most of us
here. What we actually can do is to vote against it if they ever allow
another vote.

> You obviously have the same trouble reading the law as it is
> perfectly clear
> as to when checkoff collection is required and who is to pay it.  It does
> give the option of the buyer paying it, but if he defaults the
> seller is at
> risk.

My reading is that the seller is *also* at risk, yes. But the law seems to
say that the buyer is primarily the one at risk. I ask you ... how many
buyers of either a whole animal or a buyer of split half or half, etc. have
EVER paid the checkoff? How about ZERO? My point is that the checkoff should
make this clear as they surely don't really expect the end consumer to do

The law was surely intended to mean transferring from farm to farm and from
farm to sales barn or intermediary agent and finally to the packer and
really they never even thought about us direct marketers.

Most folks here probably understand this, but just to make it clear, it is
NOT a $1 checkoff one time. Every time that a farmer or other owner of
livestock (for over 10 days) transfers ownership to another person, it is
intended to be paid to the   ACBA marketing arm and the state association.
This means that if a new born calf is transferred to a farmer who raises
them to weaning who sells to a farmer for backgrounding, to a farmer for
further stocking, to a finisher and to a processor, it is  actually a
substantial tax of $5. When you consider that in many cases farmers are
already working on break even, a buck is a big deal. They claim they return
many times the $1, but I do not accept their claim.

> I think it humorous that you completely missed the point on the
> vaccinations
> and branding of dairy animals.  If I had my way, all of the expended
> chemical laden carcasses would be disposed of by incineration on the farm
> they died on instead of ending up in our kid's stomachs under the golden
> arches.

No animal that dies on the farm can EVER be used for human consumption, so I
am not sure what in the world you are claiming above. In fact, if the animal
has much residue, they can not be used for pet food the way things are
going. If they are dead and picked up there are extremely limited options
available to the rendering company. Which is why what used to be a free pick
up, now costs money, in some areas, big money. I have heard we are at the
$10 per head level now.

Misty Ridge Farm does NOT ship dead animals. Even those who died from
natural causes such as bloat. We have a composting set up and meet the state
approved composting requirements. We have even helped farmers in other
counties get the right information to law enforcement personnel who have
improperly charged farmers for doing something that is not only legal, but
is recommended by our extension service.

However, I think you missed my point that supply and demand is what counts
and by increasing the numbers of a product, you will decrease the price, not
increase the price as the beef marketers claim. This would not be a problem
with me except that we are paying for their salaries, travel, office and
operations to say these things that are contrary to the farmers best
interests. How come no one is outraged? Total apathy?


Rick Williams
Misty Ridge Farm
Direct marketed dairy beef and produce
(also dairy heifers and beef stockers)
Viroqua, WI

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