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Senior Advisor

When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

This paper talks about what happens when big companies force producers to adhere to certain production standards.  We see several instances of this, for example in cage-free layer barns, no gestation stalls and so forth.

 

This is a complicated topic and this is not a really easy paper to read, but it's an important and interesting topic.

 

http://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2015/09/what-happens-when-food-marketers-require.html

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Veteran Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

When contracting   -  resetting gray area boundries are part of the business landscape - it's part of  CHANGE, and the customer is ALWAYS   Right ? maybe    

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Honored Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

Had an example of this recently..... Bean crush plant called saying one of their oil buyers was wanting a record of "responsible" production history behind the source of the beans that "sacraficed" their oil for that end users products...

We were asked if we would allow them to come and record our production practices to meet the end users request....

 

How would you have responded??

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Veteran Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

SW  -  Responsible is interesting  -  although you seem to have something going for you and you are doing things right  - I find the folks in the  '' Box  Seats  '' can get very cordial if your on track - it happens in other business world also when uppers ask for advice from my  '' peasant ''  transportation recovery when there are 40 cars strewen along the track right of way ---   

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Senior Contributor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

My point of view is that whoever writes the check, gets to dictate the terms of the purchase.   If you do not like the terms, you don't have to sell.   If enough people won't sell to them, they will change their terms to something more palatable.

By the same token, if they are asking you to do something you don't want to do, you should have every right to say 'no thanks', and not have to give them the business.

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Honored Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

Both Perdue and Smithfield have engaged in some of this " process verified", ISO standards, and so forth.  I remember decades ago, being told the Japanese preferred American pork, because we raised in controlled environments.  

 

The phase-out of gestation stalls on Smithfield company farrowers has made the company stand ahead of the curve, or at least kept it out of the fray over that issue, for the most part.  

This is, I truly believe, the wave of the future.  

 

Too many people are afraid of our food supply.

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

thanks,,,   In this case, it is not a part of the financial "contract".  It is just a request, and they are not getting too many interested so far....   My initial thought was "If we are going to become a name on the "hit" list there should be some incentive.... (Just hard to forget that eastern colorado mellon farming family)

And there is a comical aspect to it as well.  It appears this merchandiser of many household products from soybean oil, suddenly woke up to the fact that they are (or are wanting to) make claims about the ingredients in their products without anything that verifies the claim....    Answer --- look for proud farmers to step up and brag a little about their work....and insinuate the claim is valid.

 

If it comes to some price add ons to validate our risk, or need to do so to sell the product, I will feel differently ..... maybe...

 

The reality that Kay notes about fear, is stimulating an "over the top" blast of rediculous claims of "feel good" wordage in labeling...

meaning nearly nothing..... "Responsible production practices",,,, just an example

The labels are not going to fit on the packaging eventually.

I liked it better when we could rely on those "honorable" spokes models.  Smiley Happy  ...  and an apple was supposed to have a blemish occasionally.  "Corn flakes" meant something that wasn't a question of character in either word... corn or flakes...

We will soon have an appendix of data attached to the box, like a herbicide label telling us how and when we can prepare and consume, but also which farms to blame if there is a claim of a health issue after digestion.  

And there always will be........... Death and taxes & so forth.... some one always feels rough after breakfast... someone somewhere...

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

This is more evidence of the "death of common sense" i have written about before...the hairsplitting of regulation and relresentation, all of which has driven out the principle of  " What would a reasonable man do?"  

 

Some terms are meaningful, but you are right that many are not.  I am the main consumer for this household, so often find myself confronted with the labelling load on my mental faculties.  It is often a " this is BS" experience.  

 

The real crux of the issue is this: In a food system where food security is not the main issue, what creates demand?  Often, in America, that is a term that creates a " distinction without a difference." 

 

When the positives of your own product are insufficient to incite the illusion, then the negatives of everything else that competes with it for food dollars have to be highlighted.  That generates the fear/mistrust that we as producers have to confront today.  

 

Dave Barty has it figured out.  His latest book, " Live Right and Find Happiness ( Although Beer is Much Faster)", is a classic case in point.  He writes about how our parents' generation didn't worry itself silly.  

 

There is one part where he talks about ordering dinner out, and not thinking if the chicken was raised organically, free range, or whatever..." They just ate the damned chicken...." 

 

Every pendulum swings both ways.  I think this one will, too.  There are periods like this one, of excessive concern about purity and politucal correctness...remember the sixties?  They are generally followed by spells of excess that could embarrass Bacchus...remember the eighties? 

 

The good news is that we spend at least part of the time in between these extremes.  If you have ever dealt with a toddler (our grandson is growing out of this charming phase now), you knkw that a human cannot control but so much.  

 

Most basic is the decision about what we put into our mouths.  

 

Senior Contributor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

On the one hand, if I am approached by someone who is willing to pay me extra to do certain things, such as no growth hormone implants in our calves (which we do), or paying extra if I raise some non-GMO corn in an isolated field (I have one field 3+ miles from the nearest corn field), and I feel the extra $$$ is worth doing it, I see nothing wrong with that, and in fact have done that.

 

Now on the other hand, when some sort of regulation is forced down our throats, that really has nothing to do with food safety, or animal welfare, but is just some feel-good regulation imposed so some politician or bureaucrat can claim that they 'did something', I'm against that.

Honored Advisor

Re: When Marketers Impose Restrictive Farm Practices

Kay, from the accountant point of view,, I see them as the "debit card tycoons"  ---- never budget, never save.  Just blame the employer, bank, or government when the card stops working....    BUT, they expect the best of everything as they define it.......

 

Husker J,  My dad grew up in contract farming and always warned against.....

He said the contract is never written in your favor..... They offer what protects them....

 

And in the end all our generation ever accomplishes is a redefinition of terms..... "Angus Beef" as a case in point  ---is that 25% actual angus breed or some black or once pinned with an angus bull   or  the meat the same shade of red as angus....?   

 

But it does sell to americans if we can paint a picture of superiority of product......Human nature I guess,,,, we all want to be above that other lowly sucker.... 

 

Simply,  we as humans are comfortable with telling a lie..  I have an older friend who spent his life in teaching and administration... he has a saying --"That sounds made up"  -- He will spring it out occasionally in response with a smile...... and I have come to believe he is right more than wrong..

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