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 didnt 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 Americas 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. Todds 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
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 hes
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
thats 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 hasnt been much of anti-trust enforcement in agriculture
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 governments 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 its danged sure
now! Then he questioned me about who Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, American
Agriculture Movement and all farm organizations couldnt work together for the good
of the American farmer. I didnt have an answer for him, but told him to just check
history to see what happened to the Indians because they didnt band together. Think