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Companies that bully -- aka Organic Valley

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  • Originally posted by Bluey View Post
    It seems that the government is due for a revision of their recommendations and possible new regulations or and/or laws on child nutrition soon:

    http://www.drovers.com/news_editoria...d=20465&ts=nl1

    We will be hearing some more about this soon.
    Eh, we hear something new about that every fall when school starts...
    Originally posted by BigMama1
    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
    GNU Terry Prachett

    Comment


    • how is this thread still horse related in anyway???? um it's not. infact it's not even farm related anymore.
      If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

      Comment


      • I know there are probably a million reasons why Americans eat like this, but I still contend that one of the biggest reasons is marketing and advertising. How many commercials do you see on TV every day (especially channels for children) that depict these exact scenarios?
        Well, I'd fire back with why on earth are little children watching TV every day? Or at all? That's just pitiful, and yes indeed it is a poor excuse for parenting. I realize you are not doing this yourself, but absolutely reject the idea that this is an acceptable social norm OR the fault of "big media", "big food", or "big government". PHOOEY! What happened to American ingenuity and independent thinking?
        Click here before you buy.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          Well, I'd fire back with why on earth are little children watching TV every day? Or at all? That's just pitiful, and yes indeed it is a poor excuse for parenting. I realize you are not doing this yourself, but absolutely reject the idea that this is an acceptable social norm OR the fault of "big media", "big food", or "big government". PHOOEY! What happened to American ingenuity and independent thinking?

          They need to be out there, riding their horses bareback, in tennis shoes and without a helmet, coming back at dark, spending another hour puttering with their horse's care and then happily coming in to talk non-stop about their horse at supper.

          There, this thread is again on a horse topic.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            What happened to American ingenuity and independent thinking?
            The advertising sucked it out of us.

            I've avoided the rugrats as a personal choice, so I can't speak about mad parenting skilz... but parents I know who are very serious about not letting their kids watch TV usually still let them watch some TV - saturday morning cartoons and so on - not that different from what WE did as kids (we were just forced to amuse ourselves with kick the can instead of Xbox because TV SUCKED except for Saturday morning and a few shows in prime time).

            So I can see how even a good responsible parent is going to have to battle the power of madison avenue... and then the grocery stores ... eye level to a kid is a whole 'nuther marketing strategy.

            But I figure this is where the parent's use of the word "no" comes in (hence the reason I opted out - too lazy for that stuff, I'd rather just lock 'em in their stall). But damn, it has to be harder than it was for my mom. Of course the kid could also turn out like me and be DENIED!!1! Coke except for very rare and special occasions as a kid ... and then promptly turn into a coke then diet coke junkie as soon as I was capable of purchasing my own food. It only took 25 years to turn that trend around (as she sips her 7.5 oz DC ... sigh)
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              Well, I'd fire back with why on earth are little children watching TV every day? Or at all? That's just pitiful, and yes indeed it is a poor excuse for parenting. I realize you are not doing this yourself, but absolutely reject the idea that this is an acceptable social norm OR the fault of "big media", "big food", or "big government". PHOOEY! What happened to American ingenuity and independent thinking?
              No kidding! Actually, it is a really interesting question. How DID we get like this? Because no matter "who started it", the media really IS the culture of the day. If you have kids you know this - my kids are practically the only kids we know that don't have their own phones or an ipod, or free access to computer or TV all day. I've been told I'm scarring my kids for life by not allowing them to watch TV during the day. (By my own parents. They were only half joking.)

              I just read the book "Radical Homemakers" and it has some interesting ideas about how we got this way. I think the bigger question is what can we do about it, and how do we change/protect the next generations so they don't end up like humans in Wall-E?

              It's really scary. My kids are 9 & 12....just closing in on the really heavy peer pressure ages.

              But back to horses....riding IS a great thing for kids growing up and helps them learn responsibility. My older dd just took the Red Cross babysitting course and was the fastest bandager in the class because "it's basically the same as polo wraps".

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                Well, personally, our kids don't watch much tv... but if they are told they can, they're glued to it! The certainly have their favorites (Survivor, Castle, NCIS). And radio advertising isn't a WHOLE lot better... much less ads in stores (several big boxes around here have video ads playing WHILE you're shopping), billboards, and everything in between.

                How did we get like this? Here's a theory ... as non-horse related as it can be but I'll try to make a reference in here somewhere.

                People are tribal by nature. We by and large NEED people - be they family or friends. Despite what your Facebook status may tell you, we honestly can only really be close to a small number of true friends (around 200 IIRC)... this is your "tribe". In the 1950s a couple phenomina happened:

                1. Suburbia. At one point, we were all living pretty much in cities and towns where we knew each other. We considered our neighbors, along with our families (as people tended NOT to move away) as our Tribe. Suddenly a culture shift happened and suburbia developed... pushing us further and further away from tribe. We were losing our connection with each other.

                2. At the same time, came the rise in television... and a replacement for what we were losing. Suddenly, into your home came these people and through television we came to "know" them and consider them our tribe. It's one of the HUGE reasons that Kennedy won teh first televised debate against Nixon -- Nixon refused to take any TV PR advice, while Kennedy did and people gave him the win. Why? Because he was more relatable. So now, 24/7 on 5-zillion channels we have these people that we relate to -- that we feel we "know" -- that are taking the place of our 'tribe'. We become more withdrawn from neighbors (how many neighbors do you even know by name?) as we replace real people and real connections with TV/Movie personalities in our 'tribe'. We withdraw more into the TV (how many people do you know that schedule their social engagements around what's on the tv?). We put more and more emphasis on the characters we see on TV (how many people do you know that can tell you everything about a character on TV or an actor/actress and comment on their doings on a regular basis?). TV then gets more and more importance in our lives and we're more and more seseptible (?) to its input. If TV and your "tribe" member say drink this or eat that... it has a much heavier influence. More so on kids who haven't yet developed independent thinking.

                And even more recently, you add online influences to the mix. Facebook, twitter, blogs, MMORGs (isn't that what they're called?) like WarCraft and such. It has morphed the entire culture away from real people... and with it comes advertising and very powerful messages. Add in peer pressure on kids and parents who, while well meaning, are too busy working in our fast paced culture and it's a downward spiral.

                Then again... maybe I'm JUST ill enough today and JUST had the right amount of sugar that I'm simply babbling. Think I'll stop now.
                ************
                "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                Comment


                • Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                  ...
                  It's a big country. There is plenty of room for the farmer who wants to stay independent, and there are plenty of people who want to support that farmer. These people aren't a threat to ConAgra. They're just not.
                  This may all be changing! BTW, fabulous post Jswan!

                  To get back to about page 6 and earlier in this thread...

                  Little wake up call; I don't think any one has brought up this little gem in the works that has the potential of taking away our choices.

                  S510 Revised:
                  FDA Coming to a Farm Near You
                  By Pete Kennedy, Esq. | September 23, 2010

                  More than ever S510 represents a major threat to the local food movement, states’ autonomy to regulate food, and the country’s ability to become self-sufficient in food production.

                  On August 12 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the manager’s package for S510”, a revised version of the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that is 77 pages longer than the version of S510 that passed out of the HELP Committee last November.

                  Whereas the House food safety bill, HR 2749, passed out of the full House a month and a half after being voted out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, S510 had stalled for nearly ten months. Passage of the revised version into law will enable FDA potentially to regulate all farms marketing food products direct to consumers even if the farms engage only in intrastate commerce.

                  ...

                  Implications for Raw Milk Producers

                  If the HARPC requirement becomes law, there are particular implications for raw milk producers. FDA, an agency completely opposed to raw milk distribution and consumption would be in charge of enforcing HARPC.

                  The blueprint for how FDA can use the HARPC requirement to put raw milk farmers (as well as other small producers) out of business can be found in the way USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) enforced HACCP in the meat industry. John Munsell, a former owner of a meat processing plant and current manager for the Foundation for Accountability in Regulatory Enforcement, summarized how FSIS puts small slaughterhouses and processing plants out of business [C--slide 40]:

                  •“hyper-regulation” of small plants.
                  •“Paper flow and daily HACCP records, most of which have no connection to safe food are swamping small plants.”
                  •“Small plants have been targeted for higher number of enforcement actions.”
                  •“Small plants lack staffs to challenge USDA’s unethical demands. Easier prey.”
                  •Unlike big plants, USDA dictates what must be in their HACCP plans.
                  FDA can do the same to raw milk producers, constantly forcing them to amend their food safety plans, raising the cost of compliance, wasting farmers’ time and resources on requirements that have nothing to do with food safety. FDA won’t get rid of raw milk producers right away but can use HARPC to gradually reduce their numbers over the years to the point where greater numbers of people will be unable to exercise their legal right to consume raw milk.

                  ...

                  Federal Jurisdiction Expanding to Small Farms

                  Sections 105 and 103 of the bill combine to possibly bring under federal jurisdiction all farms marketing food products direct to consumers, including those only selling in intrastate commerce. Although USDA has jurisdiction over the slaughtering and processing of animals, even those farms selling only meat and poultry products from animals raised on the farm would appear to be subject to the HARPC requirement. The definition of "manufacturing/processing" mentioned earlier includes eviscerating, rendering, and freezing [21 CFR 1.227(6)].

                  Farms that sell food products, such as uncut fruits and vegetables, eggs, and baked goods, are exempt from inspection and licensure requirements in many states; if S 510 passes, these same farms would be regulated by FDA even though state legislatures saw no need for those farms to be regulated in any way. This is not about food safety, it’s about federal control over the food supply. Foods exempted from state regulation generally have a track record of being responsible for few or no cases of foodborne illness. State and local agencies are more than capable of handling foodborne illness outbreaks caused by producers distributing their food products only in intrastate commerce.

                  ...
                  Full atricle: http://www.ftcldf.org/s510-revised-f...ng-kennedy.htm
                  No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

                  Comment


                  • It's possible to let kids watch TV and also educate them in the process about what advertising is all about. You can teach them that advertising is a means to shape our thoughts and behaviors. You can teach them that much of what we hear in advertisements is half-truth and couched to make us buy something. However, it takes EFFORT on the part of the responsible adult.

                    My son and I listen to sports talk radio when in the car, and let me tell you--ads on sports talk radio are REALLY, REALLY BAD. "Are you an honest, hard-working American who owes $10,000 in back taxes? Tired of the government claiming your money?" WTF? This is another topic altogether, of course, but we've had LOTS of great talks springboarded off ads like this. The Viagra ones are a little tougher, but I'm game--not squeamish, usually.
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      Just an update. I had the chance to speak to a couple consumera who are directly affected by the Organic Valley issue -- their herdshare is going away because the farmer also sells milk to the Organic Valley coop. The story being told is far from the "well, she signed a contract" crap that folks are being fed by OV.

                      From the email OV sent me... "When dairy farmers join the cooperative they sign an agreement that stipulates all milk must be sold to the cooperative for distribution by the cooperative."

                      However, what is truly happening is that the farmer signed a contract for X gallons/week... for example sake, let's say 300 gallons per week. The farmer understands this and that's what they deliver. OV doesn't WANT more than that. So if the farmer ends up with 350 gallons/week... what should they do? Well, they've opted to open a cow share. Nope... OV threatens to take away their contract. Instead, OV will purchase those extra 50 gallons AT A REDUCED RATE!! (in the instance I'm directly speaking of, she has been told her excess milk will be purchased by OV for $1/gallon -- FAR below cost!!!).

                      So they don't want it, but heaven forbid the farmer make a living by selling the excess all while maintaining their contract with OV. Fact is that this particular farmer is waiting for an opening with Horizon. Until that time, she isn't making ends meet. The OV contract pays more than her herdshare because they take the bulk of her milk, but the excess above her contract being purchased for only $1/gal (instead of the $4+/gal she can get from a herdshare) means SHE IS LOSING MONEY!

                      That... is pretty sh#ttty!
                      ************
                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by tle View Post
                        However, what is truly happening is that the farmer signed a contract for X gallons/week... for example sake, let's say 300 gallons per week. The farmer understands this and that's what they deliver. OV doesn't WANT more than that. So if the farmer ends up with 350 gallons/week... what should they do? Well, they've opted to open a cow share. Nope... OV threatens to take away their contract. Instead, OV will purchase those extra 50 gallons AT A REDUCED RATE!! (in the instance I'm directly speaking of, she has been told her excess milk will be purchased by OV for $1/gallon -- FAR below cost!!!).
                        Well, I agree it sucks for the individual farmer; but I can understand why OV does it....they are eliminating having a competitor buy milk from one of their "own" sources. Obviously what OV would expect is for the farmer to produce only what they've contracted for (aside from their own uses) since they've signed the contract that prevents them from selling their milk elsewhere.

                        I'm not sure the best solution here for the farmer....clearly OV is getting what they want and from a business perspective, I can't exactly say they are being outrageous in their expectations. Probably if I thought about it I could think of other similar comparisons in non-farming industries....it's sort of like a non-compete clause or not being able to use your company training/resources/knowledge and offer your [known] services to the general public? (E.g. I used to work in education; I am sure would have been fired for offering my services as a grant-writer to other entities while still working my current job.]

                        Perhaps the farmer could become a "free agent" and sell milk to whoever wants to buy it. Or do all large milk buyers operate only on contracts? And if this is the case, maybe the farmer is best off to produce only the amount on the contract and find another similar/compatable business endeavor to embark on in addition to cow's milk -- e.g. goats milk? Or grass fed beef?

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          The problem is, as previously pointed out in this thread early on, milk production varies by season and where the cow is in her cycle. one would EXPECT higher production in the summer than in the winter. So if that is the standard (which I think we'd all agree it is) then the farmer has to allow to meet their contract at the LOWEST production point in the cycle, means that they WILL have excess at that highest production point. So while that is a standard (to have excess), OV won't allow it to be sold where the farmer can make some $$ but instead they will "buy" it at some ridiculous below value price.
                          ************
                          "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                          "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                          Comment


                          • Hmmm...yeah, forgot about that. So it's not entirely like other industries. I guess that's the downside of selling milk on contract.

                            These must be the cases where people hearing about "farmers being paid to dump milk"....

                            Well, this does go back to the power of the larger corporations v. the farmer. In other industries, it might be possible for the farmer to refuse to sign the contract as written, and write in a "if, due to seasonal variation, production exceeds contract amount....farmer has right to sell excess...." clause. However, it seems to me that in cases with few, very large buyers, they might simply say *NO* to any deviations to the standard contract.

                            Curious if anyone else out there has ideas on solutions. Maybe variable production contracts? So the farmer makes more $ during peak production but doesn't lose money during winter production? (Of course, again, not necessarily in OV's best interest....)

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by tle View Post
                              Just an update. I had the chance to speak to a couple consumera who are directly affected by the Organic Valley issue -- their herdshare is going away because the farmer also sells milk to the Organic Valley coop. The story being told is far from the "well, she signed a contract" crap that folks are being fed by OV.

                              From the email OV sent me... "When dairy farmers join the cooperative they sign an agreement that stipulates all milk must be sold to the cooperative for distribution by the cooperative."

                              However, what is truly happening is that the farmer signed a contract for X gallons/week... for example sake, let's say 300 gallons per week. The farmer understands this and that's what they deliver. OV doesn't WANT more than that. So if the farmer ends up with 350 gallons/week... what should they do? Well, they've opted to open a cow share. Nope... OV threatens to take away their contract. Instead, OV will purchase those extra 50 gallons AT A REDUCED RATE!! (in the instance I'm directly speaking of, she has been told her excess milk will be purchased by OV for $1/gallon -- FAR below cost!!!).

                              So they don't want it, but heaven forbid the farmer make a living by selling the excess all while maintaining their contract with OV. Fact is that this particular farmer is waiting for an opening with Horizon. Until that time, she isn't making ends meet. The OV contract pays more than her herdshare because they take the bulk of her milk, but the excess above her contract being purchased for only $1/gal (instead of the $4+/gal she can get from a herdshare) means SHE IS LOSING MONEY!

                              That... is pretty sh#ttty!
                              but the question is.....is it listed in the contract that overage may not be sold outside OV? If it is in the contract, then the farmer should have read it closer. Contract are just that for a reason and each party involved should read carefully before signing.

                              Comment

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