Letter to the editor: ‘Let’s stop blaming US farmers for lower food standards’

The very foundations of Farmers For Action [FFA] depend on avoiding pitching one family farmer against another – no matter where they are located in the world.

Currently the media is fearful that the Westminster government [in the UK] – despite denials – will capitulate to a US trade deal that will see a lowering of standards to allow US beef, chicken and other meats to enter the UK…as part of the ‘bigger picture’.

A former Northern Irish dairy farmer – Rodney Elliott – who moved to South Dakota in the US a number of years ago to run a successful dairy farm on a larger scale made an appeal to “go easy on criticism of US farmers”.

Let’s strip current fears about standards back to the bone and ask who or what is actually causing the problem?

Is it the US beef farmers who keep suckler cows to produce beef calves on their farms?

Or is it the corporate-owned feed-lots that buy that stock and then add hormones into the mix? What about corporate-owned chicken processing factories in the US that add chlorine?

Could it be the genetically-modified, patented corporate-owned seed companies that want complete control of American grain-growing farmers and, indeed, grain-growing farmers all over the developed world?

Or is it the large corporate-owned food retailers, wholesalers and processors around the world that think they have a right to control family farms in the US and the UK – by needlessly shipping food around the world just to drive corporate profits.

Corporate control in the US

The FFA’s conclusion is that blame for the threatened lowering of standards lies with the large, corporate-owned supermarkets.

They will virtually stop at nothing to amass more profit – for the benefit of their shareholders.

So let’s stop blaming US farming families…or any other farming families dotted about the world. Remember; when their produce leaves their farms their animals are alive; their grain is produce to as high a standard as they can attain.

Therefore, our contention is that the problem is beyond the gate of the family farm – where the giant ‘corporates’ and the giant ‘co-ops’ take over.

The FFA is concerned that intense corporate lobbying – of the UK government – could push through dangerous trade deals, thereby opening the floodgates to unsuitable food imports.

This would see the UK government effectively do a ‘U-turn’ on standards. If that were to happen, we must consider ‘all-out’ protests – with support from wherever we can muster it.

From William Taylor, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, Farmers For Action