The meat industry’s supply chain broke. Here’s what you need to know

jakkom

In one month, the meat industry’s supply chain broke. Here’s what you need to know.

‘The food supply chain is breaking,’ Tyson Foods says. That may not be an exaggeration.

WashPost April 28, 2020

This article is provided free to the public due to the coronavirus crisis: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/28/meat-industry-supply-chain-faq/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most


(excerpt) The coronavirus pandemic is now endangering the U.S. beef, chicken and pork supply chain. Worker illness has shut down meat-processing plants and forced remaining facilities to slow production to accommodate absenteeism and social-distancing protocols.

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l pinkmountain

I wrote a response but it would probably "trigger" someone here who doesn't like facts and hypocrisy being pointed out, so I deleted it. Lots of folks have been sending up red flags about problems in the food supply chains here in the US for decades. When the well is dry, do you learn the worth of water?

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

I think that an Executive Order was issued to reopen the closed meat plants. I'm sure that arguments both for and against have merit so I will do a "wait and see" but in the meantime at least in my area the local Publix's meat case was full yesterday albeit at a higher price than it was a few weeks ago.




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Olychick

I feel very sorry for anyone losing their jobs over this, or, of course, becoming ill. The president can order the plants to stay open, but I don't think even the president can order people to work in an unsafe environment, or to work when they are sick. There are so many immigrants working in those plants because they are the only ones who will take the jobs. Will unemployed home-grown workers step in and do that dirty work? In unsafe conditions? I kind of doubt it. Maybe he can make the military do it?

Maybe this will precipitate a strengthening and revitalization of unions to help protect workers from situations like this.

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DawnInCal

I just read an article this morning where workers were saying many of them won't return to work until it is safe to do, executive order or not. Of course, those who can't afford not to work, may choose to take the risk.

The meat cases at my store were empty at the beginning of the lock down, but have been full since. I fully expecting meat hoarding to happen next. Fortunately, people can only hoard as much as they can fit into a freezer, so I'm hoping meat won't become as scarce as TP was.

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nicole___

I just came back from Safeway...meat cases are over flowing! There's even "mark down" meat. I also heard the meat packing plants are reopening. I was in Lowes, I said "Your new right? Yes. "Where are ALL the old employees?" At home she said. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo........they just hired NEW employees, since the old ones wanted to stay home. Fine with me!

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blfenton

The problem with choosing your own health over being forced to work is that you will probably be fired.

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Olychick

Which should be an OSHA issue, right? But not if the gov't is going to waive liability for unsafe working conditions (and consumers) to these mega-industries. It is outrageous. We should be supporting workers and consumers and not big industry.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

And where do the workers go when the workday is done? I understand it is to dormitory style quarters, often with inadequate sanitation.

Any wonder so many people became ill?

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2ManyDiversions

We've a Tyson plant near us, and the news that workers were getting sick came out some time ago. This is not a political statement, just a common sense comment: No one can force someone who's sick to go to work. No matter what you are sick with. If the plants have to stay closed due to mass illness, they have to.

Having said that, when Tyson made that announcement, they seemed to be speaking for all meat/poultry plants. This will most likely lead to hoarding again. Sadly.

I'm a meat-eater, but I also know I don't need meat to find protein, to fill me, to satisfy food cravings, to keep me alive. Although it sure does help ; )

I live in one of the States that is opening early, and it's the consensus of my physicians, and another person I've spoken with today who has 3 physician's in their family - that there there will be a 2nd, far worse, wave of infections/deaths, due primarily to states reopening too soon, and people not taking precautionary measures. While I hope this is not the case, I feel they are accurate.

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arcy_gw

In the case of the pork plant in SD this was very real. Many people shoulder to shoulder some ill, wanting to go home, management not allowing it. These workers are very new immigrants 40+ languages spoken in the plant...bosses not interested in providing gloves, masks or distance. Work or don't come back were their orders. It's debatable what many of these people knew about the goings on with COVID-19. These people so work most Americans are too snoooty to do...Many of these plants are owned by countries other than the USA-countries that don't have our standards...Farmers are euthanizing pigs and chickens, not inseminating...fixing that break will take TIME and most of us like to eat daily so time is not something we have!!!

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plllog

Two things irk me: The disregard for all the warnings--even if they'd taken steps to protect their workers six weeks ago, well after the seriousness of the spread here was known to all, even if those steps were imperfect, they would have at least reduced the impact of the outbreaks.

Second, I get the Tyson yell for help, even though it's way too late, but the way it's being reported is sure to lead to more panic buying and food waste, and raise prices long before true shortages would drive them, making it even harder for those struggling to get decent food. Beans and rice are hard to come by already, and California rice should not be eaten as a staple food because of the arsenic in the soil.

There are vegans who are laughing about this, but that's not just mean, it ignores the fact that high protein vegan foods are expensive, require specific cooking knowledge to make appealing, and require supplements to be healthy. Going without meat for a couple of weeks won't hurt anybody, and most of the sick workers will be able to return to work by mid-May, but I find the holier-than-thou attitude from people who claim to be compassionate toward all living things (apparently not including human beings) very bad.

In California, there's a program that buys food from farmers, distributes it to restaurants, who make and deliver meals for seniors and others who can't do for themselves, subsidized by the program. There's also a continuing program to buy and convey crops and other farm produce directly from farms to food banks. These programs are paid for by the state, FEMA and major private contributions, including agribusiness. I'd rather focus on this kind of good news. I know not all states have the resources to do this, but I assume the FEMA help is available all over the country.

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Elmer J Fudd

"Many of these plants are owned by countries other than the USA-countries that don't have our standards.."

Food processing plants are subject to the standards in effect where they are and where they operate. The nationality of the ownership doesn't matter. Not a very thoughtful comment.

Food inspection and wholesomeness standards in the US are a joke, compared to Europe, for instance. I suspect this is what pinkmountain was alluding to in her comment above. The current disease situation doesn't cause the problem for food contamination (though it does lead to health problems for the workers). All the repeated food contamination and illness issues we have from meat and vegetables are because of lax and non-existent standards and ineffective inspections.

A different topic for a different day.

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annie1992

And, of course, this is what happens when we have big companies that control most of the meat supply through the processing pipeline. Small slaughterhouses have been bought out by the big companies since the 60s and small farmers like myself can't sell a package of hamburger, even if it's been packed in a state licensed and inspected facility, it has to be USDA inspected. The nearest one for me is nearly 100 miles away and the number even in existence has declined annually for years.

So I can sell you half a beef, or a whole steer, heck, I can even sell you 1/8 of a beef, and make arrangements to have it processed for you, but I can't sell you a single package of the same animal. Right now something called the PRIME act has been sitting in the political pipeline for years, at least since 2016. The big corporations do NOT want it to pass, and they pour a lot of money into lobbying so it won't, they don't want any competition. There are plenty of small farmers with plenty of product to sell, but we can't sell it. Most people don't have freezer room for even 1/8 of a beef, and don't want all the assorted cuts, from soup bones to neck roast. You could choose to have it all ground, but most people don't want that much burger either.

We have relied on huge commercial slaughterhouses for cheap meat, and have gotten that. We will continue to do so until we can't. (shrug) There is a reason that meat is cheaper in the United States than in the rest of the world, but it comes at the cost of the workers and the treatment of the animals.

And, of course, Tyson will be the big winner in this as the prices go up and people panic. The farmers will be the losers as they cannot simply "store" their product. The factory farmed chickens will start to get too big and lose quality in a week or so. Pigs you can maybe hold for a month. Now a beef I can hold for months, but I have to feed it and the more it eats, the lower my feed conversion profit.

Annie

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Kathsgrdn

It's affecting a lot of the food supply. My brother sent me a news report about a local dairy farm in the town I grew up in giving away 2 gallons of milk per family now. You can drive up to the farm and they give it out while you stay in your car!

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Elmer J Fudd

The large industrial farming operations are the food result of the retail attitude "I want it cheap, I don't care what's involved" that American consumers have foisted on their product suppliers over the last 20 or so years. You get what you pay for. The product equivalent was the shifting of manufacturing to foreign countries and the excessive sourcing of what turned out to be inferior and adulterated goods from China.

" small farmers like myself can't sell a package of hamburger, even if it's been packed in a state licensed and inspected facility, it has to be USDA inspected. "

As a country we need more inspections and higher standards, not less. I'm glad to hear something is in place.

I think sentimentality about there being any compelling reasons to support small farms has fallen out of favor. Except for Washington politicians. The world has changed from bygone years.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

When we lived in Ohio there was a butcher shop that raised their own beef and pork. You could go into their retail section and buy a pound of burger or a couple of pork chops, or you could order 1/4 to a whole animal cut to your specifications. The meat was wrapped and frozen before you could pick it up. Or you could make arrangements to have your own animals butchered. I miss that.

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party_music50

I'm in the NY county that's been dumping all their milk for weeks. :( Meat is NOT plentiful here. My friend went at 6am this morning to buy chicken and said there were exactly 3 pkgs of chicken in the entire store -- and the prices are two or three times the normal amount.

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Olychick

Apparently the meat industry has made a sweet deal to save their multi-billion dollar companies at the expense of their workers and probably consumers:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/29/business/coronavirus-trump-meat-plants.html?action=click&module=moreIn&pgtype=Article&region=Footer&action=click&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=Article&region=Footer&contentCollection=Business

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l pinkmountain

Sentimentality? How about when you put all your eggs in the big corporate basket and its being held together with duct tape and then it breaks down, you are SOL! Farming is hard to make profitable, but you can't eat profits and the virus doesn't give a crap about your money. Cheap food is not really cheap, there's a price to be paid eventually.

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nancyjane_gardener

So far, so good here in Sonoma Co CA. Stores are well stocked (except for TP, of course, but even that's becoming more plentiful)

Being a very Ag county, we have several butcher shops and even a bar that is offering rather reasonable packages of meats $40 for 10 lbs of mixed pork or whatever.

I'm finding the rice/bean/pasta isles are lacking! Filler I suppose.

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maifleur03

To add to the workers difficulty there was a change in the rules for people who are in the process of obtaining citizenship which has been partially raised. If someone applies for public assistance they are no longer eligible to become a citizen. This happened about two months ago. On one of the websites last night I saw where it had been waved because of the virus and workers could apply for unemployment.

Workers who are not yet citizens that work in the various processing plants will have to choose. If they stay home will have to depend on what savings they have or be subject to deportation. Or they can go to work and possibly become ill or die but they can become citizens if they complete the process.

Remember that many of the workers in all food processing plants are immigrants.

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nickel_kg

So far, so good here too. Relatively speaking, of course. Stores are still well stocked. Dairies haven't had to discard any milk. But poultry is a big employer here, and those workers are being hit especially hard.

Elmer, it's not only sentimentality that causes some of us to support small farmers. It's also about fostering diversity. Diversity makes for an overall healthier system. Monocultures can be toppled by small disturbances that a balanced, diverse system takes in stride.

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nancyofnc

Time to become vegetarians?

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bragu_DSM 5

Iowa supplies about one third of the nation's pork. many of the workers are immigrants [dif languages spoken] and are just now learning the reality of coronavirus. Some don't understand why they can't work when they are asymptomatic. Gov. Reynolds wants to keep plants open, but there are not enough healthy workers. Plants are getting a deep clean and workers issued PPEs.

Would be willing to wager those workers' households are fraught with corona. The dept of health should send its 'strike teams' to those homes and test, like it is doing with processing plants and long-term nursing home facilities.

Call a swine farmer. If they are euthanizing [like we're hearing, along with the dumping of dairy] , you might be able to procure a suckling LIVE baby hog for cheap, and make new friend. Figure $1.65 a pound to have a locker process it, not a lot of meat there, but it is some. They also are excellent grilled or smoked.

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jemdandy

Wisconsin has taken a hit at their meat processing and packing plants. Two plants in the Green Bay have closed due to sickened employees. This affecs other meat processors in the state such as sausage and bratwurst makers. A significant number of Covid-19 infections (near Green Bay) were traced to these plants prompting closure in an attempt to stifle the spread of the disease. Plant managers are trying to find a way to reopen these, but so far, have not found a safe way to do it. The pipeline is emptying and shortages beginning to appear in our stores. Of course, some shortage is due to hoarding.

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Olychick

Re: inspections. I'd rather be able to buy commercially processed homegrown meat from a local farm where I can get first hand, or at least local information about the product and their farming practices, than from some giant conglomerate "inspected" by the feds. A system ripe for corruption and lack of consistency caused by underfunding.

I would NEVER buy meat from one of those giant processors and haven't for years because of the treatment of the animals and the sanitation lapses, the treatment of workers,etc.

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Elmer J Fudd

"Elmer, it's not only sentimentality that causes some of us to support small farmers. It's also about fostering diversity. Diversity makes for an overall healthier system."

My thought when I said "I think sentimentality about there being any compelling reasons to support small farms has fallen out of favor. " was perhaps poorly described. I was thinking about the futility and waste of governmental aid for such purposes - agricultural product payments, additional loans, etc. I don't get teary eyed listening to someone talk about being unable to make a living on the farm that has been in the family for 3 generations. The son or daughter of a blacksmith or the farm family that raised horses to pull carts said the equivalent 120 years ago when talking about the non-viability of continuing the family business. Things change.

You do know that the business model for many of the factory scale meat producers, chicken brands as a good example, are that small family farmers raise the chickens on a contract basis. Tyson works that way and others do too. In those instances, the family farms are not accomplishing what you said you were concerned about. Many small family operations that are too small or inefficient to produce an adequate income return for the owners are similar.

What some operators have done is to go up market, producing higher quality products that sell for higher prices. Free range chicken and eggs, beef that doesn't go through feedlots, organic produce, etc., These markets (and so the opportunities) are limited regionally because the masses still go by the "cheaper is better" attitude. Not always because of economic need.

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Elmer J Fudd

"many of the workers are immigrants [dif languages spoken] and are just now learning the reality of coronavirus. "

Oh, so people who speak a different language don't watch TV, listen to the radio, or share news and events with friends and family? While certainly many immigrants may be poor and not well educated, they're not stupid because their mother tongue is other than English. Do you think that's the case?

Try again.

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bragu_DSM 5

Elmer ... do you live in the midwest? Do you check the pulse of the MW daily?

Where are you getting your news?

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annie1992

Olychick, the state slaughterhouses actually get inspected more often and more thoroughly than the USDA certified ones. The federal employees just don't have time to drive from one small corner of the country to the other and/or be on site for slaughter and packaging, but the state inspectors are local and tend to do "surprise" inspections. So, although the state inspections are more frequent and more thorough, they aren't sufficient, it has to be the federal government that approves the business. It's set up to benefit the big corporations and it does that.

And, although people complain loudly about the farmers getting all that help, it's the big guys who actually get nearly all of it. In 2019 the government paid nearly $2.8 million to a Missouri soybean operation registered as three entities at the same address. More than $900,000 went to five other farm businesses, in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and two in Texas. Three other farming operations collected more than $800,000, and 16 others collected over $700,000. And yet I don't know a single farmer personally who got anything other than crop insurance for failed crops in instances like flooding. That is purchased and is paid for by the farmer, just like any other insurance. The numbers are easy to find, if a person cares to look for them.

I also saw that a couple of State Representatives are pushing for an investigation into the monopoly that is our current meat supply system. One is from Wisconsin and the other I do not remember. Four big corporations control 85% of America's beef, and although the animals are raised by various farms, the rules for their participation are made by Tyson et. al., so we know who those rules benefit, and it's not the farmer, the consumer or the workers.

Annie


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Elmer J Fudd

" Elmer ... do you live in the midwest? Do you check the pulse of the MW daily?"

No, I don't live in the Midwest.

If I did, and if I checked the pulse of the MW daily, what knowledge or information would I get?

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lindac92

You would find many very recent immigrants living with others of their nationality who don't speak nor understand much English.....and who do not understand the scope of the Covid 19 virus.
Have you heard of Postville Iowa and the Kosher processing plant there? And the law suit filed because of the steady string of illegal Guatemalans Do you know of the plant in West Liberty Iowa that employed 32 mentally disabled men.....who were eventually awarded several hundred million to be paid by the Texas Company that employed them.
Bragu speaks the truth.


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plllog

I've heard of the Iowa "kosher" plant (how kosher is arguable). It has a terrible reputation.

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nickel_kg

Around here, not speaking English as your first language is yet another hurdle in the life of a generally low-paid, low-benefit, household. It takes time and PLENTY of brains and courage to come to the USA and build a better life when you face working in a meat processing plant as your household's starter job.

Locally, it's chicken and turkey. I guess in the mid-west there is more pork and beef. But the same story for the workforce.

Annie, thanks for the reality check. It's a complicated system we've gotten ourselves into, no easy way out. But as Elmer reminds us, things change. I hope maybe with attention to what's going on, we can drive to benefit more people.

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l pinkmountain

Elmer, having lived and worked in the communities of which you speak, I can say you sound kind of clueless about people's access to media, it's not ubiquitous like it is in middle class ones, ask any teacher who is now teaching remotely. Sure the majority of their students might be fine, but many are slipping through the cracks, for example. You also perhaps don't get how limited some folks interactions with media are in general. CF folks are not necessarily typical and a lot of folks here are retired. You'd be surprised how little time for reading up on issues exhausted low wage workers who might be working two jobs have. Or their literacy. This is not necessarily related to smarts, I'm not trying to be combative or defensive.

Also, what is covered in the mainstream media, no matter what one thinks about their political leanings, is largely repetitive, superficial, and limited in scope and topic. Big companies have PR departments and pay folks to write articles, publish opinion pieces and comment on issues, so they control the narrative. Even prestigious journals often have a shallow understanding of issues, and often do what is known as a "flyover" coverage of an issue. Just one quick example, last year when one of our federal representatives from my state, Justin Amash, voted against the President and subsequently left the Republican party, it was reported on NPR that he came from RURAL Michigan (feeding into the stereotype that Republicans' base was primarily in rural areas). That was laughably inaccurate, and particularly galling due to it coming from NPR. Amash was from the Kalamazoo area, which is URBAN. Detroit is not the only city in MI although a lot of the rest of the country thinks it is because on the NATIONAL news that's all you hear about. Or maybe repetitive articles about Flint's water. So those of us who are involved in farming, agriculture, greenhouses, landscaping, food production, etc. have a whole lot more in-depth knowledge of what's going on than someone who just casually reads an opinion piece now and then. We go to conferences, belong to professional organizations, get newsletters and attend workshops, talk with government agents in charge of licensing and policing our work for safety, as well as work with our colleagues and customers so get direct feedback. That's another reason it is nice when knowledgeable folks share their insights here, since you can get perspectives from local folks around the country and sometimes around the world. That's the beauty of CF.

As an aside, there are many folks living in rural/suburban interface areas near big cities who are clueless about agriculture and the farms and farm issues just a few miles from them. I've been to workshops about how to communicate with your local neighbors for PR purposes but also how they are potential customers for your products. This is how a small local business can thrive, and why there is so much pushback against them doing it, because that makes them competitive against the big players. There are more advantages to local thriving med. and small sized farms than just sentimentality. Direct relationships with consumers is the secret to success for small producers, this has been known for decades.

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Elmer J Fudd

"You would find many very recent immigrants living with others of their nationality who don't speak nor understand much English.....and who do not understand..."

I'm sorry but your comments are so overtly ethnocentric and racist that I won't bother to try to explain. Should they think of you as ignorant because you don't speak Spanish?

I'm from California, where the foreign born sector of the population is over 25%. And long has been large and historically mostly of Mexican and Central American origin. Their presence has enriched our state and our country. The California-source fruits and vegetables you eat in the Midwest were picked by such people. For the same reason that the meat plants in the Midwest are staffed by Hispanic workers - it's hard work that the Caucasian locals would rather not do and instead prefer to be unemployed. The Midwest needs these people and these jobs. You both need to open your eyes a bit more.

Have I heard of the Postville story? Yes, it happens I have. An acquaintance of mine mentioned it to me once. The author, a former Bay Area based newspaper reporter, is a friend of his. The topic didn't interest me more beyond the conversation and I haven't read it but I he gave me a quick take on the story.

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Elmer J Fudd

pink mountain, you're welcome to your opinions. Insofar as your assumptions about me and the community and social environment I live and interact with, you're wrong.

PS - both my wife and I speak passable Spanish to be able to interact with people whose English is limited. My wife has a part time job working with many of such people. How about you?

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l pinkmountain

Am I wrong about media access? I lived next to Puerto Rican and Guatemalan neighbors for more than a decade. And yes, I do work with these communities, as an educator. I would also say that limited interaction with media and knowledge of issues is not limited to any particular ethnic group or type of citizen, plenty of third or fourth generation Americans also have limited interest in and interaction with issues of agriculture and science. It's just not on their radar screen. Which is why I contrasted it with those of us who are in the business who are steeped in it every day. So many things sound laughable to a science teacher, but are commonly held stereotypes or ideas by the average American because science just isn't their thing usually.

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bragu_DSM 5

Elmer: you would likely take umbrage with every word I write in the paper each week.

only been doing it that for 47 years, so I still have a lot to learn ...


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Elmer J Fudd

Your apparently racist generalizations assuming the ignorance of people whose mother tongue isn't English suggests that your years of experience haven't led you to broader insights about people in the world, immigrants or otherwise, that one would expect.

Keep in mind that someone who speaks limited English knows at least some of one more language than you do. Who's the dummy?

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I have found non English speaking immigrants to be very well informed. Their Spanish language media gives a comprehensive and nuanced view of domestic and international events.

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bragu_DSM 5

Ich spreche Deutsch auch. Yo hable espanol, tambien.

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maifleur03

I broke down today and ordered beef and lamb from a CSA. I like having at least a mental feel good even though it is misplaced from the idea that meat is supposed to be inspected. The locker plant, still in operation, that my parents had process their meat purchased anything that could make it up a ramp as long as it was not completely dragged up it. The animal had to be delivered after hours because the USDA inspector who came only during regular hours would not be there. That poor cow had to be prodded to walk and almost fell a couple of times.

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annie1992

maifleur, my meat processor doesn't buy any animals and process them himself or even raise his own, he only processes meat for people who raise their own and then pay him to process it to their specifications. So, if I sell you half a beef, I call Carl and tell him that I have a beef coming, half of it belongs to Maifleur and then you call and tell him how you want it packaged. I have people come to the farm specifically to see "their" animal and the living conditions before they commit to buying beef. And, by using a custom slaughter facility, I can confidently tell them that the animal they see is the animal they will get back, because Carl has no animals of his own, only those who are raised by and packaged for other people. Those of us who have done business with him for years, and with his father before him, know and trust him.

As for migrants and immigrants, Michigan is the 2nd most agriculturally diverse state in the country, behind only California, so those of us in agriculture are acutely aware of the importance and value of those workers and how difficult it is to even find enough of them to work. When I was a teenager one of my summer jobs was picking cherries for 40 cents a lug. I have also picked asparagus, pickles, apples and tomatoes. Today's teenagers don't want to do that, and more jobs such as fast food service are available to them today that were not available to me. There has been years when apples rotted on the trees and cherries became over ripe because there were not enough workers to pick them and the food pantries can only glean/store so much fresh produce.

Annie

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Elmer J Fudd

What does the term "agricultural diversity" refer to? Is it a count of the different number of products produced?

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CA Kate z9

Elmer, are you really that nieve? or do you just like to goad people into discussions by being a contarian? Do you also speak Hmong?

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Elmer J Fudd

Nieve?

I asked about a term I'd never heard before and whose significance wasn't immediately clear to me.

Send me your email address and I'll check with you first before asking questions.

No, no Hmong. But two European languages very well (enough capability for business meetings or philosophical conversations, which I've done numerous times) and passable enough in two others to be a comfortable tourist and get by for most things. How about you?

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nickel_kg

...assuming the ignorance of people..." There's a big difference between assuming ignorance and assuming stupidity.

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annie1992

"Agriculturally diverse" means the same as any other "diversity", the number of different agricultural products produced, which I'm sure you already know. For instance, Michigan is first in the country in production of tart cherries, 4th in production of sweet cherries. Also first in the production of black and cranberry beans for dried beans. We cannot, of course, grow things like avocados or citrus, but we are the leading producer of potatoes for potato chips. We also produce more pickling cucumbers than any other state and are the biggest producer of asparagus. Picking asparagus, incidentally, is the worst job ever. We are only the fourth biggest producer of dairy products, but we grow a lot of grapes and have a lot of small wineries because of the microclimate produced by the Great Lakes and Grand Rapids, Michigan was called "Beer City" by USA Today or one of those places and one of the new crops that farmers are getting into is hops. We also grow a lot of sugar beets and produce Big Chief/Pioneer sugar in Michigan. And, last I knew, Michigan egg farmers supplied all the eggs to McDonald's East of the Mississippi. We have over 11 million apple trees, according to the last presentation I attended on commercial cider making.

So, yeah, we grow a lot of things and they all need planting and irrigating and tending and picking and storing and cleaning and packaging.

My youngest daughter is proficient in Spanish, but I'm only bilingual if you count profanity or legalese.

Annie

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Elmer J Fudd

As I said to my new friend who wanted to know if I knew Hmong, it was a term I'd never heard before. I didn't assume what it meant. Thanks for responding.

Your comments made me curious and so I looked to find what stats about agriculture production by state might be available. Michigan isn't in the top 15 on this list but this site allows looking at by-product revenue numbers.


Ag output in total and also by product. By state

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l pinkmountain

Michigan, like New Jersey, is one of the most agriculturally diverse states due to our geography with many micro-climates and soil types. But no, we are not a big commodity crop state. Pickles aren't where the big bucks are, ask my great grandfather! As to my assuming non English speakers were ignorant, that is rich. In fact, they are as diverse as the rest of us, and as the agriculture of my home state.

I've been working on issues of food security since college, so 36 years, alongside people of all races and levels of education and socio-economic status, so I would be the last person to make any kind of assumption as to anyone's intelligence based on superficial appearances or language issues, so whatever you read into my comments, was not there. However, I am aware that food security is one of my issues, and not everyone's "thing" which is also irregardless of any economic status or language or ethnicity, etc. Just like quilting is not everyone's "thing" but to assume that is based on anything relating to a person's ethnicity was not coming from me.

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