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Volume 7, Issue 2  -  May, 2001

Powerful Lubbock Meeting
By Gene Wheatley

On April 9th farmers from several states met in Lubbock, Texas to learn more about the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. The stars of this meeting were members of the so called “Four Farmers Lawsuit” currently pending in the Denver federal Court, Dr. Eugene Schroder, Russell Grider, Ed Petrowsky, and Wesley Meyers. The legal counsel for this suite, Dr. Walker Todd, was present via conference call, with questions from the floor being relayed to Dr. Todd by Dr. Schroder.

There were over 400 people at this meeting, and the reason I didn’t say ‘’’farmers’, though most of them were, is that there were also bankers, lawyers and some obvious government officials in the overflow crowd. Even with the KoKo Palace filled to capacity, the audience was very attentive and curious.

Their suit alleges that The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which was instigated by Franklin Roosevelt at the time of the great depression, basically takes away the farmers right to effect food prices. Then, to protect America’s food provider the farmer, a parity clause was a part of that act. It states, “The Secretary of Agriculture is to maintain market condition for farm commodities so as to provide parity prices in the marketplace.” They maintain that if that section of the Act had been enforced, the American family farmer would not be in the bind he is in today.

Dr. Todd’s telephone presentation was first at the meeting. He spoke for approximately 20 minutes on the purpose and content of the currently on-going lawsuit in Denver and its importance to American Farmers. According to Dr. Todd, the beginning of this suit came about as a complaint, formally known as a Petition & Notice of Demand mailed to the President, Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of the Treasury. The petition described in summary form how foreign exchange policies were being managed to the detriment of American farmers. It also notified the U.S. Government that unless they began paying attention to these complaints, a lawsuit would ensue.

After approximately six months, with no response from the government, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in Denver, Colorado. The governments response, after several delay tactics, was a Motion to Dismiss. Oral arguments were finally heard in this case on March 13th, 2001 by a panel of three judges of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Dr. Todd said, “I was impressed that these three judges were intelligent and well informed. They have read the briefs filed and seemed to understand the arguments presented by the complainants.” He continued, “On the whole it was encouraging to see the judiciary taking the complaint as seriously as they did. We are now awaiting an opinion from the Tenth Circuit. They (the three-judge panel) made it plain that they were going to give the case careful consideration, and that a detained, written opinion would follow.”

He explained to a completely engrossed audience how it says in the authorizing statute for the U.S. Trade Representative that he’s supposed to “keep the interest of American agriculture into account in negotiating all bi-lateral trade agreements.” Dr Todd then asserted that our U. S. Trade Representative has not been doing this for may years, and there was a consensus throughout the audience that this was indeed the fact.

Another part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 had to do with anti-trust provisions. Any time it appeared that a particular segment of the agricultural market was being manipulated, Congress was to investigate. Whether these prices are being manipulated by outside sources, or even big, corporate farms, Congress is supposed to look into and correct the situation. “Of course that’s not being done,,” Dr. Todd stated, with hundreds of heads nodding in agreement. He accused large corporate farms and absentee landowners of being in direct competition with the American family farmer, just like foreign competitors. He further stated, “There really hasn’t been much of anti-trust enforcement in agriculture in years.”

So what do they want from the government in this lawsuit. Dr. Todd made everybody take notice when he said, “First of all, a moratorium on all farm foreclosures until parity pricing is once again the law of the land. Secondly, a declaration by Congress that parity really is the law of the land. Finally, a ceasing of the manipulation of foreign exchange rates that gives foreign governments huge trade deficits.”

The government’s answer to the demands of this lawsuit is that, “All being asked for is a matter of foreign policy, not law, and that foreign policy is under the “exclusive control” of the Executive Branch, therefore not subject to the ruling of any court.”

Dr. Eugene Schroder then fielded question from the hundreds of attendees, and went into the laws in question. Copies were available to everyone, and Dr. Schroder showed a brilliant understanding of those laws and just as important, the ability to explain them.

Everyone is now waiting for the opinion of the three judge counsel in Denver. By the time you read this there will have been another meeting. This time in Guymon, Oklahoma with copies of the law and excellent explanations. According to Dr. Schroder, they would like to have more meetings in areas where large farm audiences would attend.

For copies of the 1933 law, or for more information about the suit, contact (buffalo-creek-press.com) on the Internet.

In the words of one old farmer at the Lubbock meeting, ”If there ever was a time for farmers to work together it’s danged sure now!” Then he questioned me about who Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, American Agriculture Movement and all farm organizations couldn’t work together for the good of the American farmer. I didn’t have an answer for him, but told him to just check history to see what happened to the Indians because they didn’t band together. Think about it!

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