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Press Release Archives 2008

AAM PRESIDENT PRAISES OBAMA CHOICE OF VILSACK

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2008

Press Release #27

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
(620) 727-0333
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK UPBEAT ABOUT AGRICULTURE SECRETARY NOMINATION
 

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), Dec. 18, 2008 –Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), praised President-elect Barack Obama’s nomination of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to be the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“If Governor Vilsack can bring the same drive, determination and success to jump start all of agriculture’s potential and capabilities in the renewable energy fields that he brought to the ethanol industry in Iowa then we are in for a very bright future,” said Matlack, a grain and forage producer from Burrton, Kan.  “What production agriculture’s role can and should be in the area of renewable energy, carbon cap and trade and climate change, if optimized, will bring many great benefits including a rural renaissance.”

“AAM looks forward to working with the new Secretary of the ‘People’s Department,’ a term coined by President Lincoln for USDA when he initiated the Department of Agriculture,” said Matlack.  “Tom Vilsack understands, as we do, that USDA is truly the people’s department because its policies and actions impact every person in America and beyond.  We all eat, wear cloths and live in structures made from the bounty of this great nation’s abundance.”

“I invite Tom Vilsack to attend AAM’s Thirtieth Anniversary Convention, the nation’s first farm conference in 2009, to be held in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Jan. 8-10,” concluded Matlack.  “Over the past 30 years we have welcomed and hosted many agriculture secretaries at our annual meeting and we are excited to continue this tradition with Governor Vilsack.”

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

AAM ANNOUNCES 30TH ANNUAL CONVENTION IN OKLAHOMA CITY JAN. 9-11

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2008

Press Release #26

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
(620) 727-0333
larry@stingerltd.com

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AGRICULTURE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY -- PATHWAY TO PARITY
 

OKLAHOMA CITY (RuralWire), Dec. 11, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has announced that the organization will hold its thirtieth annual convention in Oklahoma City Jan. 9–11.  AAM will focus on the agricultural economy and renewable energy as a path to economic parity.

“Over thirty years ago the American Agriculture Movement was born from a vision that foretold most of what has happened to farm and ranch families over the past three decades,” explained Matlack.  “As family farms and rural businesses were destroyed by the hundreds of thousands due to inadequate farm and trade policy, there were many of us that worked feverishly to stem the destructive tide and to bring Parity to rural America.”

“Today there are many uncertainties for farm families.  Just a year ago, with the prices received for many commodities at their highest percentage of Parity in recent memory, it seemed that we had turned a corner for the best and we were mostly optimistic about the future -- cautiously optimistic, but still optimistic.” said Matlack.  “But with today’s economy failing on so many fronts – from the crash of Wall Street, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and extreme volatility in the markets for energy and agricultural products – America’s farm and ranch families are just a vulnerable as almost any other American family.  AAM is committed to working with the new leadership in Washington, D.C. to help mitigate that volatility and continue our endeavor to reinstate Party prices for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.”

“AAM-inspired work has taken many forms and directions over the past thirty years and many of the ideas have borne fruit to help sustain the family farm system,” explained Matlack.  “But our tireless quest to put farmers into the business of producing local, renewable, clean energy is our most shining achievement.  It was AAM that, in the 1970s, set up a fuel ethanol still on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of what we called gasohol in those days.  Today’s production agriculture sector is just beginning to reap the harvest of AAM’s thirty years of leadership and initiative in the area of farm-raised renewable energy.  AAM helped light this pathway to Parity.”

“We defend with zeal our right to profit as we strive to bring America closer to energy independence,” declared Matlack.  “We will not be swayed by those who want us to believe farm families should be serfs to a cheap food system.  We also identify the worn-out and misleading rhetoric concerning ‘Food vs. Fuel’ as simply a ploy by those who wish to make their profits off of the backs of farm families.  American agriculture is up to the challenge to provide both food and fuel for our nation.  Do not miss out on the opportunities and challenges in renewable energy from agriculture at this critical time for family farm agriculture.”

The American Agriculture Movement will hold its thirtieth annual convention on Jan. 9-11 at the Holiday Inn Airport located at 2101 Meridian in Oklahoma City.  Hotel reservations may be made by calling (405) 485-4000 or (888) 465-4329.  The convention will begin on Friday, Jan. 9th at 8:00 a.m.  AAM’s regular business meeting will follow on Saturday, Jan. 10 and a wrap-up session will be held Sunday after AAM’s church service.  For more information contact Larry Matlack at
(620) 727-0333.

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

AAM STILL HAS EYE ON ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2008

Press Release #25

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK ATTENDS WASHINGTON ACORE MEETING - ADVOCATES ETHANOL PRODUCTION WITHOUT FOSSIL FUELS
 

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), Dec. 9, 2008 –Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), spent the better part of last week at the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) National Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. where he continued his organization’s endeavor to move America toward energy independence.

“America’s family farmers are a key part of advancing our nation towards energy independence for the Twenty-first century, just as we were in past centuries,” explained Matlack, a grain and forage producer from Burrton, Kan.  “AAM is a very strong advocate of accelerating the advancement of cellulosic ethanol made from non-food crops.  But while we all know that corn based ethanol is the not a singular answer to obtaining energy independence, it is a key component of an overall renewable energy plan and the best option for now.  We must move forward with other forms of feedstock for ethanol production as soon as possible.”

“But a key factor to making ethanol production even more renewable and less dependent on fossil fuels is to move forward with alternative sources for the energy required to power our ethanol plants – either corn or cellulosic based.”

AAM supports passage of a Fossil-Free Alcohol Production Credit in the upcoming energy/stimulus to be considered by Congress and the incoming Obama Administration early next year,” said Matlack.  “This incentive will authorize a new small producer alcohol tax credit of 10 cents per gallon for facilities that produce ethanol through a process that greatly reduces the use of fossil-based resources.”  This provision was originally introduced by Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, as section 314 of their Heartland, Habitat, Harvest, and Horticulture Act of 2007 (S. 2242).  While most of S. 2242 was included in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246), section 314 was omitted.

“The Fossil-Free Alcohol Production Credit should be authorized for any facility at which 90 percent of the energy used in the production of alcohol is produced from biomass,” according to Matlack.  “This incentive is a critical next step in the development of truly renewable fuels.  By providing this additional incentive, ethanol producers would be able to use locally grown, domestic, renewable biomass to power the production of ethanol as an alternative to using fossil energy such as natural gas and/or coal.  This initiative will also provide new markets for non-food crops as well.”

“In addition, the Fossil-Free Alcohol Production would immediately create jobs and facilitate the building of the infrastructure that will be needed for cellulose ethanol at a much lower cost than any current proposals currently being administered or planned,” concluded Matlack.

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

THE U.S. ECONOMY CANNOT BE SAVED WITH MORE DEBT

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 30, 2008

Press Release #24

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Editorial Comment by
Larry Matlack, President, American Agriculture Movement
October 30, 2008


As our nation and the world struggles to address the perils of the ongoing financial meltdown, the farm families of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM) offer part of the solution to help avoid the “Greater Depression.”  Just as T. Boone Pickens correctly explains that we cannot drill our way out of the current energy crisis, AAM makes the point that we cannot borrow our way out of the current financial crisis.

To clarify our view, we wish to remind our nation’s leaders of a fitting quote from one of America’s founding fathers.
 

"There are three ways a nation can become wealthy.

It can make war and take the wealth of another by force.

It can trade freely and make a profit by cheating.

Or it can profit through agriculture, whereby planting a seed we create new wealth as if by a miracle."

Benjamin Franklin

 

AAM recognizes that the lack of an adequate safety net for agriculture is why debt economics rather than parity economics have brought us to where we are today.  The failure of U.S. agriculture policy to establish satisfactory price supports for our most abundant, renewable and natural resources, namely the products planted, raised, harvested and delivered by our family farmers is at the root of our economic challenges.  Those challenges can get much worse if agriculture falls into a recession like the 1970s and 1980s.

America is not going to solve its energy crisis by waging war to take the wealth of other nations by force.  America is not going to solve our financial crisis with unfair trade agreements that allow the few to cheat and profit the many.  And America is not going to avoid further economic erosion by borrowing against our future and the future of coming generations.  America needs Parity for family farmers “whereby planting a seed we create new wealth as if by a miracle."

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

THE U.S. FOOD SYSTEM WAS ALSO DEREGULATED IN THE 1990S AND THE STAKES ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2008

Press Release #23

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Editorial Comment by
Larry Matlack, President, American Agriculture Movement
September 24, 2008


The nation may be at even more risk due to a deregulated food system than the economic meltdown which has resulted from the deregulation of our financial systems.  Just as the financial markets were deregulated in the 1990s, so was our food production system because of the ratification of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which established the World Trade Organization (WTO), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and more specially, the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act.

While Freedom to Farm was sold to farmers as a way to allow them the freedom to plant what ever they wished, that promise was actually oversold and under-delivered since fruit and vegetable production is still prohibited on tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

But much more catastrophic to our food system is the fact that Freedom to Farm eliminated almost all of the nation’s food reserves, eliminated minimum pricing mechanisms for farm products thereby forcing farm families to rely on federal subsidies to survive and also eliminated all supply management authority.

The current financial crisis might be mitigated by going to the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. government to tap capital reserves.  But what happens if we have a devastating drought or other natural or man-made disaster which results in a food crisis in the U.S.?  There are no food reserves!  The United States has a Federal Reserve Bank for money, and a Strategic Petroleum Reserve for oil, but absolutely no federally reserve for grain and other emergency foodstuffs.  There exists authority for a modest reserve in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, but it is also completely empty.

On the economic side of the food system equation, if the $800 billion of your money that Congress is about to spend to bail out the financial sector had come in the form of more adequate net farm income over the last 30 years and that $800 billion had been allowed to rollover in the U.S. economy, we would have experienced a sound economy built from the ground up and not built on national, corporate and personal debt.  People throughout our economy would have earned real income to buy houses, put their children through college and save for retirement.  But because we abandoned Parity for agriculture most, if not all, Americans were forced to deeply borrow, creating such a debt society.

Our nation must to return to a sound food policy just as we must return to sound financial policy.  They are interconnected and critical for the survival of our democracy.

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

ECONOMIC TURMOIL COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED WITH PARITY FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FARMERS

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 16, 2008

Press Release #22

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Editorial Comment by
Larry Matlack, President, American Agriculture Movement
September 16, 2008


The current economic turmoil afflicting the U.S. financial sector, as well as the global economy, could have been averted with fair pricing of raw materials such as farm products.  The American Agriculture Movement (AAM), as well as a few other organizations, have spent the last three decades trying to explain to the nation that an economy based on fair prices for farm products (Parity) as well as all other raw materials is an economy that would be sound and solid on which to build for future generations.

In contrast, the farm programs in place today in the U.S., chosen by government policy makers under intense pressure from the food processing and integrated industrialized livestock sectors, is a disastrous system that allows for the determination of prices for commodities that have nothing to do with the cost of producing them and is mostly controlled by speculation and those who can influence that speculation to move prices in an advantageous direction for them.

Similar programs allowed speculation to drive down oil prices in the early eighties far enough to devastate and destroy most of the smaller and independent oil companies.  This left us with only big oil companies and little domestic activity, creating the great dependence on foreign oil that finances those who kill Americans.

We have done the same to agricultural commodities, destroying the middle-class of farmers while propping up those surviving with a patchwork of welfare programs and allowing giant agri-business firms solidify their concentration and control.

Instead of building a balanced economy with commodities on par with the rest of the economy, those in Washington listened to the lobbyists who wanted us to fuel our economy on free trade and debt. They called it the free market. So here we are with trillions of dollars of debt, only now we find out it is NOT FREE. We have a system that inflates the value of all things and forces people to go into debt to fuel this economy. Ask yourself: who are the winners and losers in this system?

 

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AAM stands for food and fiber producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices.  The Statutory Parity Index, established during the depression of the 1930s, reflects prices received in 1910-1914 (considered to be the last 5 normal years prior to the outbreak of World War I) when producers, middlemen, and consumers had a balanced income. Today, many commodities average less than PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and hired help have risen dramatically. AAM still demands a parity price for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

CAP THE OIL SPECULATION GUSHER

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 30, 2008

Press Release #21

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Editorial Comment by
Larry Matlack, President, American Agriculture Movement
July 30, 2008


 

Congress has only a few days left to prevent oil speculators from draining millions of dollars more from the economy of rural America.

Farmers, rural businesses and the agricultural sector are all struggling under record-high prices for fuel, transportation and shipping.  Before they adjourn for their summer recess, legislators in Washington can and should advance reforms to bring desperately-needed relief to those who make their living from the land.

Today, for example, farmers need three times as many bushels of corn to pay for a barrel of oil as they did just 10 years ago.  The size of bushels and barrels haven’t changed.  So what explains the drastic run-up in price?  In a word, speculation.

Experts testifying before Congress said recently that the cost of gasoline at the pump could be cut in half within 30 days of a law limiting oil speculators.

In the past, speculators were typically legitimate businesses – like airlines – that depended on taking future fuel delivery at a set price.  Today the market is largely driven by “index speculators.”  This new breed buys commodity futures with the sole intent of flipping them at a profit as they drive prices higher and higher.  Speculators who trade in energy commodities now account for about two-thirds of all crude oil trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.  That’s nearly double the figure of just eight years ago.

Members of Congress have expressed outrage over the role speculation plays in energy prices.  Some of them are urging action.  Representative John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said energy speculation has become a growth industry, adding that it is time for government to intervene.  Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, their parties’ presumed 2008 presidential candidates, support closing loopholes that encourage speculation.

To reinstate the normal functions of a critical market, Congress must pass laws that include five essential actions for reasonable and sensible oversight:

  • First, re-establish strict position limits on energy commodities.  Traders who don’t take physical delivery of a commodity, or who don’t deliver a commodity they produce, would be subject to firm contract limits.
  • Second, close the so-called “London loophole.”  Foreign futures traders cannot be subject to far less regulation than their U.S. counterparts.
  • Third, regulate “swap trades.”  All trades in the over-the-counter, or swap market, must be subject to large-trader report requirements and position limits.
  • Fourth, fully close the “Enron loophole.”  Commercial markets must be subject to the same regulations that apply to commodity exchanges, such as the New York Mercantile Exchange.  
  • Fifth, enforce transparency in all energy trading.  Traders’ positions in every market must be reported to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission based on where the trades occur and who does the trading.

These five steps will go a long way toward eliminating distortion and inflation in energy markets and supplying critical information needed to detect and prevent manipulation.  Many of these provisions are already contained in the bills under consideration in the House and Senate.

Equally as distorting and damaging to agriculture is the naked speculative short selling’s buy those who neither own, nor can produce agriculture commodities. This has the same distorting effect and does not represent true supply and demand and thus fair prices for agriculture producers.

Farmers and other rural residents need relief now.  Call or e-mail your elected representatives today.  Tell them you expect both Republicans and Democrats – in the House and the Senate – to come together to pass legislation curbing rampant speculation in U.S. energy markets.

Businesses and farmers in rural America depend on it.

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

AAM SAYS IMPORTED SALMONELLA JALAPENOS POINT TO CRITICAL NEED FOR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 24, 2008

Press Release #20

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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AAM FARMERS BRUTALLY BEATEN ON MCALLEN BRIDGE 30 YEARS AGO FIGHTING FOR COOL

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), July 24, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of AAM, said that this week’s discovery of tainted jalapeños coming into the United States at the port of entry at McAllen, Texas is yet another reason that congressionally mandated Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on all perishable vegetables is so critical to the safety of the nation’s consumers.


“In February 1978, hundreds of farmers protested unlabeled and falsely labeled produce coming across the bridge at McAllen,” explained Matlack.  “We had been working on passing laws that required COOL since AAM’s inception, but in McAllen, Texas our farmers showed their resolve when hundreds were arrested and dozens brutally beaten on that bridge.  A few sustained permanent disabilities and even brain damage from the beatings they took on that bridge.  AAM was that committed to COOL thirty years ago and we still are today.”


Until 2002, only frozen fruits and vegetables were required to be labeled as to the country of origin.  The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 finally required that retailers to inform consumers of the country of origin for the muscle cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, and ground pork; farm-raised fish and shellfish; wild fish and shellfish; peanuts and perishable agricultural commodities such as fresh fruits and vegetables.


“But our administration refused to implement COOL and Congress refused to finance implementation of COOL,” said Matlack.  “That’s why it took the 2008 farm bill, passed into law over the President’s veto, to finally require that these products be labeled as to their country of origin.  The nation still awaits USDA ’s implementation of COOL today.  I hope they enforce the law before anyone else is sickened or dies simply because they could not determine where their family’s food came from.”

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

CRP COURT DECISION HURTS RANCHERS

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 22, 2008

Press Release #19

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Open Letter to the
National Wildlife Federation
and an Editorial Comment by
Jim Rice, Rancher,
Farmer and Proud Member of the
American Agriculture Movement
July 22, 2008


The following letter has been sent to The National and Kansas Wildlife federations:

In light of the recent court decision to stop Critical Feed Use on CRP acres and your direct involvement on the issue, I have decided to no longer allow permission for recreational use of my CRP for your members. Area livestock producers are in vital need of livestock feed to provide to their herds and as a result of your actions YOU have denied them that ability. As a result some may have to eliminate a portion of, or perhaps eliminate their entire herd as severe drought has resulted in nearly a hundred percent loss in native pasture in my area. You have caused great damage to many producers.

So, this fall when hunting season arrives I will be asking those wanting to hunt if they are a member of your organization, if so, that opportunity afforded to them in the past will be stopped as your court order stopped my emergency fee d use. In addition I will inform my neighbors and anyone else I may come in contact with, of my intentions in hopes they may join me in my efforts. I am very disappointed in your action. Since when is recreation more important than food production?

Jim Rice,
Liberal Kansas

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

AAM REPORTS FARMERS STILL LOSING ECONOMIC GROUND EVEN WITH HIGHER FARM PRICES

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 17, 2008

Press Release #18

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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ENERGY RELATED EXPENSES ESCALATING FASTER THAN CROP PRICES

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), July 17, 2008Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM) and a Reno County, Kansas farmer, took time today to put into perspective recent USDA statistics on prices paid and prices received by farmers.

“If you are a farmer, you know that you are not making that much financial headway, even with current crop prices,” said Matlack.  “Many of us have focused on the parity index over the years, but some of that information comes from the calculations of prices received and paid by farmers, so we decided to make sense of our findings from USDA’s May 2008 Index of Prices Received and Paid by Farmers.”

“Pasted below is a few numbers we identif ied from the May report,” explained Matlack.  “You will see prices received have increased since the base period of 1990-1992, however farming costs have increased even faster.”  The full report may be accessed at
(http://www.ruralwire.com/media/docs/aotab04.pdf).

Index of Prices Received and Paid by Farmers, U.S. Average (May, 2008, USDA)

With a few selected subcategories -- 1990-1992=100

  • Prices Received (All farm products)               150
    • Food Grains                              278
    • Feed Grains and Hay                 222
    • Oil Crops                                  221
    • Livestock and products             132
  • Prices Paid*                                       184
    • Fuel                                           392
    • Fertilizer                                    364
    • Seed                                         275
    • Feed                                         188

*(Commodities and services, interest, taxes, and wage rates)

“While the index of prices received has increased by 50 percent since the 1990 to 1992 base year, the index of prices paid has increased by 80 percent,” said Matlack.  “Fuel prices are almost four times what they were then, fertilizer is up over three and a half times and seed is approaching three times the price paid in the 1990 to 1992 period.”

 “Food grains (rice and wheat) prices have experienced the greatest improvement. However, livestock prices have lagged behind and have lost significant ground with increased feed prices.  The key point here is that, while farm prices are stronger, the cost of production has increased by an even greater amount,” concluded Matlack.  “By the way, the parity ratio is only 39 percent!”

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

 

AAM STILL HAS EYE ON ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 3, 2008

Press Release #17

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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LESSONS FROM 2008 SHOULD BE USED TO ADVANCE RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), July 3, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), commented today on the challenges experienced by farmers and ethanol production during the first half of 2008. "AAM still has our eye on advancing America toward energy independence,” stated Matlack on the eve of the nation’s observance of Independence Day.

“America’s family farmers are having a challenging crop year with flooding, a cold wet planting season, droughts and other natural disasters that have hampered our ability to bring in another bumper crop,” explained Matlack. “And our growing renewable energy sector is also facing serious challenges with stronger, weather related corn and soybean prices. In light of these challenges, AAM wants to review the lessons learned, so that we can continue our work to assist America achieve true energy independence.”

Matlack said that the lessons learned should provide a catalyst to accelerate renewable energy production and processing. “The first thing we need to realize is that higher corn prices are not the only thing impacting ethanol production, natural gas prices are close to or exceeding $13 per thousand cubic feet. We know that we can refit most ethanol plants to use locally produced renewable biomass to meet the majority of their energy needs. Biomass energy comes from many non-food sources including crop residues, forestry waste and dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass and other native and low input crops.”

“AAM is also a strong advocate of accelerating the advancement of cellulosic ethanol made from the same non-food crops as were mentioned previously,” continued Matlack. “While we all know that corn based ethanol is t he not a singular answer to obtaining energy independence, it is the best option for now and we need to move forward with other forms of feedstock for ethanol production as soon as possible.”

AAM also opposes any motions to suspend the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), such as the requests made by Texas Governor Rick Perry and others. Now is not the time to cut and run from our mission to energy independence.

A final point presented by Matlack, was America’s lack of a strategic grain reserve. “The Freedom to Farm Act of 1996, which eliminated federal grain reserves, including the Farmer Owned Reserve, has actually reduced America’s freedom,” declared Matlack, a direct descendent of Colonel Timothy Matlack the penman of the off icial 1776 Declaration of Independence. “We have a strategic petroleum reserve, but we no longer have strategic grain reserves. Failure to reestablish these critical reserves threatens America’s food security and energy independence. They must be reestablished to protect our livestock industry, our renewable fuel sector and all of our customers domestic and foreign”

“America’s farmers have always risen to the challenges of our nation, from Lexington to Baghdad, and AAM will never retreat from fulfilling our objectives for America’s energy independence. We will study the lessons learned and advance.”

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM SUBMITS RECOMMENDATIONS ON SECOND GENERATION BIOFUELS

  
  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 13, 2008

Press Release #16

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK PROPOSES SUGGESTIONS TO HOUSE RURAL AND URBAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUBCOMMITTEE

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), June 13, 2008 –Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), submitted written testimony to the Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship Subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee this week commending Chairman Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., for their leadership and initiative in holding a hearing on “Second Generation Biofuels: The New Frontier for Small Businesses,” and made several su ggestions to help the committee advance better utilization of biomass.

“AAM, a leading advocate of renewable energy since our inception three decades ago, fully supports the advancement of all forms of renewable energy, including new and better ways to produce biofuels,” explained matlack.  “When AAM brought thousands of farmers and tractors to the nation’s capital in 1979, we came with much more than protests; we came with solutions as well.  Farmers, camping on the National mall set up a small ethanol still and produced renewable ‘gasohol’ and made cookies from the distiller’s grains. Those cookies were served to members of Congress, including several currently sitting in key leadership positions in this 110th Congress.  Working with Congress and President Carter, we were able to enact the nation’s first ethanol programs, and thirty years later we are here to remi nd you that we not only identified solutions to help farmers find alternative markets for their crops and better prices, but also helped America move towards energy independence.”

Matlack reiterated AAM’s support for ethanol, biodiesel and biomass and proclaimed that AAM supported the new tax credit for production of cellulosic biofuel, the extension of small ethanol producer credit, the ethanol tariff extension, the extension and modification of credit for biodiesel used as fuel and the extension of alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit as passed in the recent farm bill.  He also stated strong support for the new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), contained in Section 9011 of the new farm bill.  “The BCAP is a critical first step in helping farmers shift to new alternative crop s which will help America move towards energy independence,” stated Matlack.  “This program will encourage farmers to establish and produce local, home-grown, renewable energy for industrial heat, electric cogeneration and cellulosic ethanol utilizing biomass crops in areas around biomass facilities producing bioenergy.”  He also pointed out that AAM would have liked to have seen passage of a provision omitted from the final farm bill that would have provided a ten-cent per gallon tax credit for producers of fossil-free ethanol. 

AAM suggested additional measures to advance new biofuels and biomass utilization including a production tax credit (PTC), similar to the PTC for wind, established for biomass used to meet energy requirements outside of cellulosic and/or non-fossil fuel ethanol.  “To help our nation cope with an over-dependence on natural gas, more and more of which is now imported, and which has experienced huge price increases, there should be a $1 to $2 per-million BTU tax credit for the use of renewable biomass, including crop residues such as corn stalks and wheat straw which are not covered by the BCAP,” suggested Matlack.  He also recommended more emphasis on nitrogen fertilizer production using wind power and an expansion of the on farm storage facility loan program to allow farmers to build biomass storage and handling facilities.

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

FOOD PROCESSORS' SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST FARMERS SMACKS OF TREASON

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 28, 2008

Press Release #15

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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An Editorial Comment by

Larry Matlack, President

American Agriculture Movement

May 27, 2008

It recently became public that there has been an orchestrated public relations smear campaign by Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA), working in tandem with a highly-paid “K Street” lobbying firm, to discredit ethanol as a viable alternative renewable fuel.  The smear campaign attempted to blame it for high food prices and causing people to go hungry.  To put the issue in context, we must first remember that our renewable fuels programs have been initiated to help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

I also have serious questions as to whether this smear campaign was also a diversionary tactic to misdirect the attention onto farmers and renewable fuels and away from the fact that many food processors are making and reporting record profits.  Several members of GMA have reported increased profits of well over 50 percent in the past quarter when compared to previous quarters and/or the same quarter a year ago.  Some of those reported increases in corporate profits exceed 80 percent at a time America’s working families are struggling with rapid and debilitating inflationary surges in energy, food and related living expenses. 

It is nothing new for one business group to spread misinformation about another in order to increase their profits. It is also nothing new for one group to try to influence congressional legislation or governmental regulations in order to profit from that influence. What is very different in this case is the possible consequences of these most recent acts by some state leaders, members of congress and business members of the GMA. 

For every dollar spent on this smear campaign of misinformation our nation slips further from domestically produced renewable fuels and back to our over reliance on imported oil.  This dastardly campaign not only lines the pockets of the food processing executives, it actually sends more money to countries that do not share America’s values. Some of that money goes to the countries the 9/11 hijackers came from. Some of that money goes to countries from which support is provided for insurgents and terrorists fighting and killing American solders in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Referring to our dependence and continued purchase of oil from countries hostile to America, R. James Woolsey, former National Security Advisor, has stated “we are funding our enemy.” 

Article III Section 3 of the United States Constitution lists three treasonous acts, of which one is providing aid and comfort to the enemy.  I believe providing money is “aid and comfort”.  I believe Benedict Arnold caused fewer American solders to die than will those attacking renewable, domestic fuels.  I would welcome an explanation from any of the Presidential Candidates or any credible news media personality why this is not a treasonous act. The real Patriots I know prefer to advance and promote Midwestern ethanol and biodiesel, not Middle Eastern oil!

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM CONCERNED WITH CCC INVENTORIES

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 21, 2008

Press Release #14

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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THE US HAS NO REMAINING GRAIN RESERVES

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), May 21, 2008 –Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has raised concerns over the issue of U.S. grain reserves after it was announced that the sale of 18.37 million bushels of wheat from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

“According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory report there are only 24.1 million bush els of wheat in inventory, so after this sale there will be only 2.7 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC inventory,” warned Matlack.  “Our concern is not that we are using the remainder of our strategic grain reserves for humanitarian relief.  AAM fully supports the action and all humanitarian food relief.  Our concern is that the U.S. has nothing else in our emergency food pantry.  There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk powder, no grains or anything else left in reserve.  The only thing left in the entire CCC inventory will be 2.7 million bushels of wheat which is about enough wheat to make ½ of a loaf of bread for each of the 300 million people in America.”

The CCC is a federal government-owned and operated entity that was created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. CCC is also supposed to maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural commodities and aids in their orderly distribution.

“This lack of emergency preparedness is the fault of the 1996 farm bill which eliminated the government’s grain reserves as well as the Farmer Owned Reserve (FOR),” explained Matlack.  “We had hoped to reinstate the FOR and a Strategic Energy Grain Reserve in the new farm bill, but the politics of food defeated our efforts.  As farmers it is our calling and purpose in life to feed our families, our communities, our nation and a good part of the world, but we need better planning and coordination if we are to meet that purpose.  AAM pledges to continue our work for better farm policy which includes an FOR and a Strategic Energy Grain Reserve.”

AAM’s support for the FOR program, which allows the grain to be stored on farms, is a key component to a safe grain reserve in that the supplies will be decentralized in the event of some unforeseen calamity which might befall the large grain storage terminals.  A Strategic Energy Grain Reserve is as crucial for the nation’s domestic energy needs as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  AAM also supports full funding for the replenishment and expansion of Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

The May 1, 2008 CCC Inventory report may be reviewed here.

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

IN MEMORY OF BOB W. THORNTON

Bob Thornton, community activist, leaves public service legacy

May 06, 2008 - 09:28:22 CDT

He was a community activist most of his life, but unless one had first-hand knowledge of his activities, there would be no way to know about it because Bob Wayne Thornton was a humble man who didn’t talk about his achievements without being asked.

Mr. Thornton passed away peacefully on Sunday. He suffered from cancer for several years. His family says he said all his farewells and was ready to go Sunday when he drew his last breath. Mr. Thornton was one who believed in family and held family ties as a lifetime priority. He was proud of his family heritage and proud of his children and grandchildren. His son-in-law David Wood talked about his life Monday.

Mr. Thornton’s great-greatgrandfather was one of the orphans who came on the orphan train through the North Texas area. He was adopted by the Kelly family and lived in the Kelly Community, just west of the Hurricane Creek Country Club between Weston and Anna. He was a fourth-generation farmer, and though he could do just about anything from carpentry to plumbing, he most loved farming.

Wood said one of the more interesting stories about Mr. Thornton’s life could be his connection with Willie Nelson.

“Willie is in Norway for a Scandinavian tour right now but sent his condolences to the family and said he thought a lot of Bob and appreciates what was done for him,” Wood said.

Mr. Thornton was one who bought part of Nelson’s property on the courthouse steps in 1991 and sold it back to him after Nelson’s trouble with the Internal Revenue Service was cleared up. News reports at the time reported the purchaser was “anonymous.”

Wood explained that his wife’s father got to know Nelson through the Farm Aid concerts Nelson put on.

“The American Agriculture Movement was one of the recipients of Farm Aid from Willie,” Wood said. “Bob had been involved (in AAM) as national vice president for several years and then as president and kind of got to know Willie and his entourage. Then when Willie got in trouble with the IRS ... He is a wonderful entertainer, but in his early years, he was surrounded by poor managers who were just bleeding him.”

Wood explained that the property was foreclosed on by the IRS because of the management of the singer’s affairs by others.

“When his property was sold off by the IRS on the courthouse steps, the farmers came in large numbers and basically crowded out the legitimate buyers,” Wood said. “Bob bought the horse ranch which had a large home on it in the Dripping Springs area west of Austin. Bob took the title to it and then, as Willie’s troubles were over and he settled with the IRS, Bob sold it back to him with generous terms. They have stayed friends. We get a check from Willie every month.”

Mr. Thornton was one of the original members of the American Agriculture Movement, a grass roots organization to help farmers become involved with government, politics and the public policy that affects their livelihoods. He participated in the 1979 “tractor-cade” that rolled into Washington, D.C., more than 6,000 tractors strong. Wood said it took them a month to get there and a month to get home and they lobbied the whole time they were there.

More detail about this venture which mentions Mr. Thornton and carries a picture of him may be read on the Web site at www.aaminc.org/history.htm. Farmers were protesting low commodity prices and the treatment of the American farmer. Wood said Mr. Thornton came home with rich, colorful stories about his experiences.

He told how, once in Washington, D.C., the city was snowed in and the tractors were recruited to help clear the streets. “Bob was assigned the streets surrounding the Pentagon,” Wood said. “Bob baled out the Pentagon during that storm.”

Through his political activist endeavors, Mr. Thornton became friends with several elected representatives, such as former U.S. Sen. John Tower, current U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall and former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Mr. Thornton told his family of a time when several farmers when to see Mr. Rayburn in Bonham to try to get some changes made. He told how the farmers went in their bib overalls and were invited in to see Mr. Sam ahead of the men in three-piece suits who were also waiting.

“Rayburn was in favor of the little guy, and Bob always appreciated that about him,” Wood said.

Van Alstyne resident Jessie Savage was good friends with Mr. Thornton for most of their lives. He said, “Old Bob used to go dancin’. He was a big-time dancer out at Hurricane Creek. Just a good-time guy and a good friend. Old Bob was a good honest guy — hard to find a better friend than old Bob.”

Savage remembers Mr. Thornton as an excellent farmer for most of his life. He began farming when he was 12.

“He had all the equipment to do it with, too,” Savage said. “He always liked having good equipment. I’m going to miss seeing him. He always had big stories ... I’ll see him again.”

Wood said the Thorntons were leaders in the farming industry. They were the first to bring in equipment, the first to mechanize their operations and usually the first to help another farmer get past a rough spot with the loan of money and equipment. When Mr. Thornton retired from farming in 2000 after farming more than 65 years, he was working 500 to 600 acres in Collin and Grayson counties.

He enjoyed drinking coffee with his friends at the different stopping places around town. He enjoyed traveling and also restored a 1939 Chevrolet that was just like the first car he ever owned. “It was a 1939, two-door Chevy Coupe,” Wood reported.

Mr. Thornton is survived by daughters  Sheryl Priest of North Little Rock, Ark., Brenda Baggett of Friendswood and Linda Wood of Van Alstyne; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and sister JoAnn Cavender of Van Alstyne.

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Flesher Funeral Home with burial in Van Alstyne Cemetery. The family requests memorials be made to First Christian Church Elevator Fund, P.O. Box 626, Van Alstyne, TX 75495.

FARMERS CALL FOR FINAL PASSAGE OF NEW FARM BILL

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 8, 2008

Press Release #13

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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VETO AND EXTENSION OF OUTDATED 2002 BILL COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), May 8, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), today praised the efforts of leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for their recent work to advance a new farm bill. 

Speaking about the House and Senate farm bill conferees, Matlack declared, “Our hats are off to these t ireless leaders and their dedicated staffs for finally working out all of the differences between the two versions of the farm bill.  We all realize that it has been a long, tough row to hoe.  The final conference report for that farm bill is not a perfect plan, nor is any piece of legislation, but we recognize that this is the best deal that can be agreed to at this time and we endorse their work.”

“We will soon be calling upon President Bush to show the same type of leadership exhibited by the Congress and approve the actions of Congress on the farm bill,” added Matlack.  “But in the event he fails to do so, we are working toward achieving a veto-proof, two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to compelete action on the new farm bill.”

Earlier this week, AAM joined with dozens of other rural, agricultural, fai th-based, renewable energy and nutrition organizations in signing a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging a yes vote on the farm bill conference report.  “We need bipartisan support to achieve the 290 votes needed in the House to ensure this legislation becomes law.  Please call the Capitol switchboard at (202)224-3121, ask to speak to the office of your member of Congress and urge them to vote for passage of the farm bill conference report.”

Matlack also explained AAM’s fall-back plan should the farm bill not be enacted in the very near future.  “Permanent farm law is the nation’s fall-back plan in the event we do not get a new farm bill,” he explained.  “Permanent farm law’s nonrecourse loan will not provide Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), Marketing Loan Gains (MLGs ), Fixed Payments or Counter-Cyclical Payments,” he cautioned.  “But it will provide a much better safetynet by establishing fair and equitable floor prices for farmers with a built in cost increase index, Parity.  In the event of a crash in farm prices, farmers will fair much better and the taxpayers will not be burdened with paying farm subsidies.  AAM has determined that permanent farm law is the best alternative to a new bill and an extension of the 2002 farm bill is the worst option.”

“According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, most of the long-standing USDA conservation programs are permanently authorized, as are domestic food and nutrition programs administered by the USDA in the case that we are forced to return to permanent farm law.  We would need to find a way to provide a safetynet f or a few crops such as soybeans and rice, but this could be addressed in other legislative vehicles being drafted in Congress.”

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM INSISTS THAT PRESIDENT ENACT NEW FARM BILL OR IMPLEMENT PERMANENT FARM LAW

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 28, 2008

Press Release #12

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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EXTENSION OF OUTDATED 2002 BILL COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), April 28, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), today praised the efforts of leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for their recent work to advance a new farm bill.  “There has been very serious debate, compromise and ingenuity in getting to this point in the construction of a new farm bill,” said Matlack.  “While we may not be totally supportive on all of the points in what appears to be a final package, we are very positive about the overall initiative, especially the renewable energy provisions, country of origin labeling (COOL) for most foods, expanded nutritional aid and the emergency assistance programs that will help farmers deal with natural disasters when they strike.”

“We now call upon the executive branch of our government to endorse the actions of Congress on the farm bill,” added Matlack.  “It will be a travesty if the President vetoed this bill.  If he decides he will not enact the bill when it arrives at his desk, we want to make sure he understands that it is time for USDA to implement permanent farm law because an extension of the 2002 bill is inadequate and unacceptable.” 

“Permanent farm law’s nonrecourse loan will not provide Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), Marketing Loan Gains (MLGs), Fixed Payments or Counter-Cyclical Payments,” cautioned Matlack.  “But it will provide a much better safetynet by establishing fair and equitable floor prices for farmers with a built in cost increase index, Parity.  In the event of a crash in farm prices, farmers will fair much better and the taxpayers will not be burdened with paying farm subsidies.  AAM has determined that permanent farm law is the best option and an extension of the 2002 farm bill is the worst option.” 

“According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, most of the long-standing USDA conservation programs are permanently authorized as are domestic food and nutrition programs administered by the USDA if we were forced to return to permanent farm law,” explained Matlack.  “But we would need to find a way to provide a safetynet for a few crops.  This could be addressed in other legislative vehicles being drafted in Congress at this time.” 

“With skyrocketing production expenses threatening farmers, the best safetynet that could be implemented is the price floors contained in permanent farm law,” concluded Matlack.  “We cannot afford to rely upon the outdated subsidy schemes of the 2002 farm bill.  We insist that the President to either sign the new farm bill or implement permanent farm law.”

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM CALLS "TIMEOUT" ON ANY MORE TRADE DEALS UNTIL EXISTING AGREEMENTS ARE REVIEWED

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 9, 2008

Press Release #11

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK OPPOSES U.S.-COLOMBIAN PACT PASSAGE IN 110TH CONGRESS

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), April 9, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) is calling for a “Timeout” on ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until similar existing agreements are reviewed and renegotiated.

Larry Matlack, President of AAM, declared, “Many farmers were strong advocates of previous trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and acceptance of China into the World Trade agreement (WTO).  We were led to believe such actions would advance U.S. agriculture only to find out later that the agreements were oversold and underperforming.  Congress should hold off ratification of any more trade agreements until previous agreements can be reviewed and improved to serve everyone.”

“NAFTA fails farm families and rural business in Mexico, Canada and the United States,” said Matlack.  “NAFTA must be reviewed and renegotiated before Congress takes up the Colombian measure because neither agreement properly addresses agricultural, environmental or labor related issues.  It can also be argued that NAFTA, combined with failed U.S. farm policy, has exacerbated the forced migration of many of Mexico’s farmers into the U.S.  We cannot impose the same hardships on farm families in Colombia.”

“NAFTA has put too many farm families in the hole,” concluded Matlack.  “And the first rule to remember when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.  So put away the s hovel and put away the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until the problems of NAFTA and other agreements can be properly addressed.  It is time to first make sure all Free Trade Agreements work to benefit American farmers and consumers as a whole rather than for the benefit of a few corporations.”

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM JOINS OVER 70 ORGANIZATIONS IN OPPOSITION TO JBS SWIFT CONSOLIDATION OF BEEF INDUSTRY

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 26, 2008

Press Release #10

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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WASHINGTON (RuralWire), March 26, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) has joined with over 70 other farm, rural, conservation and faith-based organizations to oppose the recently announced plans by JBS Swift to buy National Beef and Smithfield Beef.  In a letter to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Barnett, the organizations stated, “This is an unprecedented five to three merger that will harm price, choice, innovation and competition in the beef industry.”

Larry Matlack, President of AAM, declared, “The free enterprise system depends upon competition.  Competition requires competitors.  One of government’s prime duties is to ensure a marketplace in which there are competitors, competition and the security of the free market system.”

The 71 signatory organizations ask that Barnett’s Premerger Notification Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Operations, scrutinize the merger, issue a second request, and strongly consider blocking the deal.

The letter stated that the primary focus of the organizations’ concerns is with the buying market for cattle. But they also noted that reducing the number of major beef processors from 5 to 3 is likely to have adverse effects on consumers as well.

The letter concluded by declaring, “No efficiencies or benefits will arise from this acquisition. Each of the enterprises is substantially larger than necessary for efficient operation and National is already a leading exporter of beef even though it ranks fourth in volume. New entry requires extraordinary amounts of cash and liquidity to compete beyond a niche level. Indeed, the current configuration of the Smithfield beef operation makes it a uniquely positioned potential entrant into direct competition in the Texas, Kansas, Nebraska region (especially in light of its substantial feeding operations in the region) and as a result it may well exercise a ‘wings’ effect on competition in that region as well as being a future actual competitor whether under its current ownership or some other owner. Beef packing is a mature industry in which competition must be preserved.”

The full text of the letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Barnett is included below:

 

The Honorable Thomas Barnett
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Operations
Premerger Notification Unit
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room 3335
Washington, DC 20530

Re:  JBS Swift acquisition of National Beef and Smithfield Beef

March 25, 2008

Dear Mr. Barnett:

JBS Swift has announced plans to buy National Beef and Smithfield Beef.  This is an unprecedented five to three merger that will harm price, choice, innovation and competition in the beef industry.  The undersigned signatory organizations ask that your division scrutinize the merger, issue a second request, and strongly consider blocking the deal.

In making this request, we note that many other farm and beef groups, including the Farm Bureau and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, seek this scrutiny.  Given the frequently divergent views of these groups on competition issues, this unanimity of opinion is itself evidence that this merger may well “substantially lessen competition.”

The primary focus of our concern is with the buying market for cattle.  We also note that reducing the number of major beef processors from 5 to 3 is likely to have adverse effects on consumers as well.

A large percentage of cattle are now committed for sale prior to delivery at the market, such commitments are always contingent on market prices. The live cattle market price is largely set in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.  Most other U.S. markets do not have implications for non-market transactional prices and in fact largely mirror the prices from the Great Plains.  Because vertical integration by ownership and contract is strong across the country, there is a diminished volume of cash market purchases that set the base prices for all transactions.  Vertical integration includes all cattle committed to packers more than 14 days in advance of slaughter.  Vertical integration includes packer owned cattle, contracted cattle, and “relationship” cattle.

“Contracted cattle” include formula contracts, forward contracts and relationship cattle.  Formula contracts are written or oral arrangements whereby packers have a commitment from producers to deliver at a price set in a mathematical relationship to the reported price of the week.  That reported price is from Kansas, Texas or Nebraska, as the case may be.  Forward contracts are priced from the futures market - packers acquire rights to cattle by offering a contract with prices set in relation to the nearby futures contract, but with additional negotiated elements.  “Relationship cattle” are those in which the packer typically takes the cattle based upon a formula understanding over a long period of time.  Hence, these cattle are effectively committed to a packer because no other packers bid.

Captive supplies “concentrate” the traditional problems of horizontal concentration at the present, or post-acquisition level.  The remaining buyer market power can be exerted through a company decision to increase the number of captive supply arrangements offered, with mathematically precise impacts on price.  That math has been shown in the Picket vs. Tyson litigation, in several academic publications, in the offices of packer buyers, and in the February 2007 USDA Research Triangle Institute report.

The USDA price reporting data does not adequately track these true market dynamics.  Packers need not, and do not, report oral arrangements as captive supplies.  But the actual market effect is that fewer cattle are traded on the open market, there is lower trading volume, price volatility increases because the open market cattle prices are buffeted by packer decision making on price, shift shut-downs, and mere market rumors.

In the Pickett v. Tyson case, which went to verdict in Montgomery, Alabama in 2004, it was revealed that Tyson bought less than 35 percent of its cattle on the open market in 2002.  We believe the open market, competitive bid percentage of cattle industry wide is less than 35% today.

Nationwide, the five major packers have the “checkbooks” that are available to buy cattle.  Each company has a similar daily cattle buying method.  Field buyers tour the feedlots to gain information on the cattle volume available for sale that week, and to gain information on other price relevant data.  All field buyers participate in a conference call with the company’s head buyer three to four times per day.  The head buyer makes all decisions about slaughter cattle acquisitions on a daily basis.  Multiple plants do not matter.  One person makes the decisions for the whole company.

Plants other than the top five packers buy cattle, and some have enough size to be periodically meaningful, but they are not market makers.  (Greater Omaha, Nebraska Beef, and Premium Protein in Nebraska, for example.)  This combination will eliminate two of those national buyers and will increase vertical integration because Swift will now control Smithfield’s substantial feeding operations that are proximate to its slaughter houses.  This will drive prices down for all feeders of cattle.

The greatest geographic competitive concern comes in the overlapping procurement areas of JBS and National in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  Today, only the biggest feedlots have three buyers.  Most feedlots are lucky to have one buyer. The number of “active buyers” is the key.  One active buyer will be eliminated in this region.  The Kansas, Nebraska, Texas reported price will go down.  It will not go up and it will not stay the same.

It is not economical for feeders to ship live cattle more than 250 miles. Feedlot producers report that this distance is not exceeded because one market weight animal is required to pay for the trucking 250 miles to a plant.  A larger cost is unrealistic.  Hence the elimination of a major competing buyer in the region will directly affect the prices paid on all sales in the region and will have a ripple effect as those lower prices get factored into formulas and market prices in other regions.

No efficiencies or benefits will arise from this acquisition.  Each of the enterprises is substantially larger than necessary for efficient operation and National is already a leading exporter of beef even though it ranks fourth in volume.   New entry requires extraordinary amounts of cash and liquidity to compete beyond a niche level.  Indeed, the current configuration of the Smithfield beef operation makes it a uniquely positioned potential entrant into direct competition in the Texas, Kansas, Nebraska region (especially in light of its substantial feeding operations in the region) and as a result it may well exercise a “wings” effect on competition in that region as well as being a future actual competitor whether under its current ownership or some other owner.  Beef packing is a mature industry in which competition must be preserved.

Please give credence to these buyer power concerns, scrutinize the acquisition and issue a second request.  Thank you.

Signatory Organizations:

 

National Organizations

1.  Agricultural Missions, Inc.

2.  American Agriculture Movement

3.  American Corn Growers Association

4.  Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform

5.  Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment

6.  Catholic Daughters of the Americas

7.  Center for Rural Affairs

8.  Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association

9.  Food & Water Watch

10. Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy

11. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

12. National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture 

13. National Catholic Rural Life Conference

14. National Contract Poultry Growers Association

15. National Family Farm Coalition

16. Organic Consumers Association

17. Organization for Competitive Markets

18. R-CALF USA 

19. Rural Advancement Foundation International—USA

20. Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

21. Western Organization of Resource Councils

22. State and Local Organizations

23. Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association

24. Appalachian Crafts

25. Buckeye Quality Beef Association, Inc. (Iowa) 

26. Church Women United of Chemung County, NY 

27. Church Women United of New York State

28. Chemung County Council of Churches, NY Court St Joseph #139

29. Corning/Elmira, NY Past Regents' Club of the Diocese of Rochester, NY

30. Cornucopia Institute

31. Dakota Resource Council (ND)

32. Dakota Rural Action (SD)

33. Delta Land and Community

34. Family Farm Defenders (WI)

35. Farm Fresh Rhode Island

36. Horseheads Grange #1118, Horseheads, NY

37. Idaho Resource Council

38. Illinois Stewardship Alliance

39. Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND)

40. Independent Cattlemen of Iowa

41. Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska

42. Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming (I-COW)

43. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

44. Indiana Farmers Union

45. Iowa Farmers Union

46. Kansas Cattlemen’s Association

47. Ladies of Charity of Chemung County, NY

48. Land Stewardship Project

49. McKenzie County Energy & Taxation Association (MCETA) (ND)

50. Mesa County Cattlemen’s Association (CO)

51. Michigan Farmers Union

52. Mississippi Livestock Markets Association, Inc. 

53. Missouri Farmers Union

54. Missouri Rural Crisis Center

55. Montana Farmers Union

56. Nevada Livestock Association

57. New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association 

58. North Carolina Contract Poultry Growers Association

59. Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)

60. Ohio Farmers Union

61. Oregon Livestock Producers Association

62. Oregon Rural Action

63. Pennsylvania Farmers Union

64. Perkins County Livestock Improvement Assn. (SD)

65. Pomona Grange #1, Chemung County, NY

66. Powder River Basin Resource Council

67. Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Washington, D.C.

68. St John the Baptist Fraternity

69. Secular Franciscan Order, Elmira NY

70. South Dakota Stockgrowers Association

71. Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

72. Tilth Producers of Washington

73. Verley Family, LLC (VA)

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM MONTHLY PARITY REPORT

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 13, 2008

Press Release #9

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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FARMERS STILL SELLING MANY CROPS CLOSE TO HALF OF PARITY OR LESS

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), March 13, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) reports that improving markets have moved wheat prices to 85 percent of Parity*, soybeans to 58 percent Parity, and corn and grain sorghum also exceed 50 percent of Parity.  But the prices farmers received for many crops and livestock are still less than 50 percent of Pa rity, with cotton still cotton only receiving 29 percent of Parity.  Hogs fell to only 33 percent of Parity.

Larry Matlack, President of AAM, stated that a recent contract for some July delivery wheat to a local elevator at $11.90 per bushel made him think perhaps he had equaled in value the sale his dad had made in 1974 at $5.25.  “I checked the CPI for an inflation calculator and found that my contract would need to be $24.51 to equal my dad’s sale. If you look at agriculture’s improved efficiencies in wheat production since 1974 and Parity at $12.40 it would be hard for any rational person to argue Parity does not work and that agriculture is not entitled to its equality.”

 

 AAM PARITY REPORT -- MARCH 2008 

Commodity and Unit

Price

 100% Parity

Percent of Parity

 

Received

Price

Price Received

Barley, per bu.

$     4.06

$     8.46

48%

Beef Cattle (all), per cwt.

$   87.80

$ 234.00

38%

Calves, per cwt.

$ 118.00

$ 340.00

35%

Corn, per bu.

$     4.25

$     7.75

55%

Cotton (upland), per lb.

$   0.607

$     2.12

29%

Dry Edible Beans, per cwt.

$   20.50

$   62.30

47%

Grain Sorghum, per cwt.

$     7.82

$   19.10

58%

Hogs, per cwt.

$   41.90

$ 128.00

33%

Milk (all), per cwt.

$   19.30

$  44.80

44%

Oats, per bu.

$     2.97

$    5.03

59%

Rice, per cwt.

$   12.20

$  29.70

41%

Soybeans, per bu.

$     11.00

$  19.10

58%

Wheat, per bu.

$    10.40

$  12.30

85%

Source: Agricultural Prices, Dec 28, 2007

National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM PRESIDENT APPLAUDS CONGRESSIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY INITIATIVES

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 12, 2008

Press Release #8

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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WASHINGTON (RuralWire), March 12, 2008 – Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has fully endorsed the renewable energy provisions of the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 5351) recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We fully support the long-term extension of the energy production tax credit (PTC) for wind power, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal a nd small irrigation hydropower,” said Matlack.  “As agriculture producers and fuel consumers, we also fully support the bill’s renewable fuels provisions including the new tax credits for cellulosic ethanol and extensions of the biodiesel tax credit.”

AAM recommends that the final bill include a provision currently pending in the farm bill to provide additional incentives for ethanol produced through a process using at least 90 percent non-fossil fuels such as biomass for thermal heat,” added Matlack.  “The extra 10 cents per gallon will help make ethanol even more renewable and affordable while reducing our dependence on imported energy and lowering our GHG emissions. The use of crop residues and other forms of biomass readily available to ethanol plants to replace fossil fuel will vastly improve the energy balance of ethanol and will be a key step in the development of an infrastructure for the cellulose ethanol industry.”

Matlack also commended House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for his leadership on advancing the legislation so quickly and so early in this year’s legislative session.  “Chairman Rangel’s guidance and initiative on these critical issues are important to the energy needs of rural America as well as the energy independence of the entire nation.  His work was vital to the overwhelming 236 to 182 vote to pass the act.  We urge the Senate to continue the momentum and pass the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act as soon as possible.  It is just good citizenship to encourage the production and use of American produced and grown renewable energy.”

Matlack stated that he and AAM member Joe Savage have just returned from the International Renewable Energy Conference in Washington, D.C. AAM was one of the non-profit organizations supporting this ministerial level renewable energy conference with more than 2,600 attendees. Matlack encourages other farm organizations to support the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and their efforts on issues that greatly affect the farm role in renewable energy.

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM CAUTIONS AGAINST GRAIN EMBARGO

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2008

Press Release #7

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK DETAILS PROVISIONS TO HELP FARMERS IN THE EVENT OF EXPORT RESTRICTIONS

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), Feb. 25, 2008 –Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has raised concerns on the issue of restricting U.S. grain exports, as called for recently by the American Bakers Association.  “Our country has plenty of wheat and other grains on hand to meet our domestic, export and humanitarian needs,” declared Matlack.  “We fully understand the concerns of the food processing community, but they must fully understand that just because there has been a long overdue price adjustment for American crops, there is no reason to halt or restrict sales to our hard-won, long-term export customers.”

Matlack also explained safeguards established in U.S. law to protect farmers in the event of restrictions or embargos of American grain exports.  “Back in the 1970s, a time when USDA estimated there were 2 million farmers involved in the American Agriculture Movement, we were doing much more than just tractorcading Washington, D.C.  We set out to mitigate the financial devastation perpetuated upon farm families by the grain embargos imposed by President Nixon because of higher prices and by President Carter to punish the Soviets for invading Afghanistan.  We successfully convinced Congress to establish mandatory compensation for farmers in the event of future grain embargos or restrictions.”

U.S. Code Section 5671 authorizes payments to producers in the event of a President or other member of the executive branch of the Federal Government causes the export of any agricultural commodity to any country or area of the world to be suspended or restricted for reasons of national security or foreign policy.  The payment rates would be determined based upon 100-percent of Parity.

Likewise, U.S. Code Section 5677 also authorizes payments to producers in the event of the President or any other member of the executive branch causes exports from the United States to any country to be unilaterally suspended for reasons of national security or foreign policy.  But U.S. Code Section 5677 subsection (h) also establishes criteria to be used in the event of “short supply” embargos and invokes U.S. Code Section 1310 which defines short supply embargos and establishes 90-percent Parity loan rates in the event of such an occurrence.

“Farmers can understand the financial squeeze being experienced by the bakers,” said Matlack.  “But the cost of tractors, combines, fuel, seed, plant nutrients, ethanol plant construction and almost everything else in the agricultural sector have at the very least doubled in the last five years. Until just 18 months ago we were dealing with this hyperinflation on the expense side while selling grain for less than half of what we sold it for 35 years ago.

“AAM opposes any export restrictions unless the bakers and others find a way to reduce the price of oil, fertilizer, equipment, labor and regulatory costs to farmers so they can still make a profit at the lower prices they are demanding,” concluded Matlack.  “But at least AAM did their job in the 1970s to ensure that in the event of an embargo; the federal government must reduce the devastating financial impact imposed upon farm families.”

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM OFFERS ASSISTANCE TO HELP ADVANCE FARM BILL

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2008

Press Release #6

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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MATLACK DETAILS SUPPORT FOR BIOMASS PROVISIONS

WASHINGTON (RuralWire), Feb. 22, 2008 – In a letter to Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), praised their leadership and roles in drafting a farm bill in a most hostile political and fiscal environment.

“AAM, a leading advocate of renewable energy, supports the inclusion of the renewable energy provisions contained in the “Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act” (4 H Bill) in the Senate bill,” wrote Matlack.  “AAM has always supported the advancement of ethanol and also focuses on the expansion of biomass production and utilization.  AAM also supports the credit for the production of cellulosic biofuel, the extension of small ethanol producer credit, the ethanol tariff extension, the extension and modification of credit for biodiesel used as fuel and the extension of alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit.”

Matlack pointed out that AAM’s highest priorities in the 4 H Bill are the incentives for producing ethanol without utilizing any fossil fuels.  Matlack sees this key provision as the best way to expand the utilization of biomass, expand rural employment opportunities, improve the environment and reduce our nation’s dependence on imported energy.  AAM suggests making the provision work even better for smaller and older ethanol plants by allowing the purchase of renewable (green tag) electricity for the smaller and/or older facilities.  Retrofitting plants to produce their electric generation needs from biomass will be too expensive for these smaller plants.

“AAM is also extremely pleased with the retention and expansion of the Energy Title of the bill, especially the inclusion of incentives for farmers to produce biomass as contained in both the House and Senate farm bills,” Matlack stated. “AAM fully supports both the House and Senate initiatives, but would much prefer the program contained in the Senate bill.  AAM feels that the Biomass Crop Transition Assistance (BCTA) is the better overall program.”

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

CATTLE PRODUCERS OPPOSE DOUBLING OF BEEF TAX

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2008

Press Release #5

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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AAM - "BEEF CHECKOFF SHOULD NOT BE INCREASED UNTIL THEY ARE MADE VOLUNTARY"

SCENIC, S.D. (RuralWire), Feb. 14, 2008 – Joyce Jobgen, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), expressed her organization’s opposition to a 100-percent increase, or any increase, in the Beef Checkoff Program until the program is amended to allow producers the right of refund. 

“This past week leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association again discussed a 100-percent increase in the federally mandated $1-per head beef assessment,” stated Jobgen.  “As a family cattle producer and a fiscal conservative, I oppose the increase because it is a 100-percent tax increase on everyone that sells beef in the United States.  It is a tax because it is mandated to be paid at every point of sale for every animal, beef and dairy, and there are no provisions to allow producers the right to refund.”   

Explaining the reasons why AAM considers the beef checkoff a tax, Jobgen explained, “You would think that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would protect cattle producers from being forced to pay the checkoff, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the checkoff is ‘government speech’ and not private speech.  It walks, talks and acts like a tax, so of course it is a beef tax.” 

“Instead of the increase in the beef tax, we need legislation passed and enacted to allow producers the right to a refund of the beef checkoff as well as all commodity checkoffs,” added Jobgen.  “Until the programs allow refunds, and are therefore voluntary, they cannot be considered as anything other than a tax.  There is also a desperate need for renewed and heightened oversight of all commodity checkoff programs by Congress to ensure that not one red cent of these funds are being used for lobbying, especially to advance the self-interest of the processors and packers that do not pay the beef tax – that is unless they are a captive supplier, which is a separate issue that should be addressed in the pending new farm bill.” 

“AAM does not oppose research and promotion checkoff programs,” concluded Jobgen.  “But we do demand they be voluntary and acceptable to those paying them.  Before any consideration of increasing the beef tax, we demand Congressional oversight hearings and the right of refund.”

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

COTTON FARMERS SUPPORT REINSTATEMENT OF PERMANENT LAW

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2008

Press Release #4

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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COTTON FARMERS SUPPORT REINSTATEMENT OF PERMANENT LAW
AAM SUPPORTS CHAIRMAN PETERSON'S RECOMMENDATIONS IN ABSENCE OF TIMELY CONCLUSION TO FARM BILL

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. (RuralWire), Jan. 24, 2008 – John Willis, a Haywood County, Tenn., cotton farmer and Vice President of Political Action for the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), sees the veto threat to the farm bill from President Bush as a potential way to achieve the best possible farm policy for cotton farmers.

“We have to agree with Chairman Collin Peterson of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in his recent assertion that reverting to permanent farm law is the best option in the event Congress fails to craft a compromise farm bill that President Bush will not veto,” said Willis. “Given the fact that the nonrecourse loan rate for upland cotton will be $1.36 per pound under permanent law, with no quota restrictions for 2008, cash flow projections would be very positive for cotton farmers currently under siege from drastically higher energy and other productions costs. I see it as the best option.”

"Permanent law is what will happen if nothing gets done. And, if I had to bet on the outcome, given how things work around here, if we get into a stalemate, the likelihood is, we have permanent law," said Peterson in a recent news conference. “…if nothing is on the books by mid-March, farm policy will go back to 1949 price standards, which are known as ‘permanent law’.”

In its most recent analysis on prices paid to farmers, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that cotton farmers only received 57 cents per pound, or 27 percent of Parity*, in December. That statistic compares to 84 percent of Parity for wheat farmers and 61 percent of Parity for barley farmers.

“Permanent farm law’s nonrecourse loan will not provide Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), Marketing Loan Gains (MLGs), Fixed Payments or Counter-Cyclical Payments,” cautioned Willis. “But with a $1.36 floor price cotton farmers will fair much better and the taxpayers will not be burdened with paying farm subsidies. Chairman Peterson is correct. Permanent farm law is the best option.”

According to a recent report by the Congressional Research service, most of the long-standing USDA conservation programs are permanently authorized as are domestic food and nutrition programs administered by the USDA.

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM RECOMMENDS RENEWABLE ENERGY INCENTIVES AS CRITICAL COMPONENT TO STIMULUS PACKAGE

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2008

Press Release #3

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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AAM RECOMMENDS RENEWABLE ENERGY INCENTIVES AS CRITICAL COMPONENT TO STIMULUS PACKAGE
BIOMASS CREATES LOCAL JOBS FOR RURAL ECONOMIES


WASHINGTON (RuralWire), Jan. 23, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) has recommended that President Bush and the U.S. Congress include renewable energy incentives as part of the economic stimulus package being crafted this week in Washington. Specifically, AAM wants an extension and expansion of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for biomass as part of the final package.

Larry Matlack, President of AAM, who sits on the Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), has stated in a message to Washington that, “As Congress and the Administration consider an accelerated extension of the PTC for biomass as part of the stimulation package, it is vitally important to clarify the types of "open-loop" biomass feedstocks eligible for the PTC. This is essential in meeting established and announced goals for sustainable healthy forests and to combat forest fires, diversify our nation's electricity and thermal fuels supplies, reduce energy imports, and offset emissions, both regulated and non-regulated such as mercury and greenhouse gases.”

“It is critically important to provide incentives to use underbrush, tree thinnings and trees whose removal will contribute to the health of the forest and wood lots,” added Matlack.  “These biomass resources, along with all under-utilized crop residues and energy crops, should be included in the biomass PTC. The production of thermal energy from biomass should also be included in the PTC extension. These provisions will make major contributions to the restoration of forests, reduce forest fires, boost the availability of biomass feedstocks, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and revitalize rural economies.”

“Biomass production and utilization is one of the best ways to create jobs and expand the economies of rural communities,” concluded Matlack. “But production and utilization of biomass also helps the nation become more energy independent and will keep U.S. dollars here at home instead of sending them overseas to O.P.E.C. nations.

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM CONVENTION FOCUSED UPON A VERY POSITIVE 2007 FOR AMERICA'S FARM FAMILIES

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2008

Press Release #2

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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AAM CONVENTION FOCUSED UPON A VERY POSITIVE 2007 FOR AMERICA'S FARM FAMILIES
FEDERAL AGRICULTURAL AND ENERGY LEGISLATION MOST BENEFICIAL IN DECADES

OKLAHOMA CITY (RuralWire), Jan. 7, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) completed its 29th Annual Convention in Oklahoma City where the organization focused upon many positive developments for the nation’s farm families and rural communities.  “Farmers received much better crop prices last year which helps bring a positive attitude to our convention,” exclaimed AAM President Larry Matlack.  “But the positive attitude was significantly reinforced with a new federal energy plan which will rely more on farm-produced renewable energy with its 36 billion gallon per year Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The pending farm bill which will also most likely provide additional opportunities for advanced renewable energy production on our farms.”

“We fell short of achieving everything we worked for in the farm bill, but what was achieved in both the House and Senate bills will result in programs that will provide better opportunities for farmers,” added Matlack.  “Our objective is to retain the additional incentives for cellulosic ethanol production, non-fossil fuel ethanol production, small wind development, biodiesel production and biomass production and utilization.”

“While there is plenty of credit to go around for all of the farm and energy organizations that helped advance these federal renewable energy programs, AAM was the industry leader,” explained Matlack.  We would not wish to discount the work done by any of these groups, but it was AAM members that in 1978 set up an ethanol still on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. that provided the beginnings of what was called gasohol in those days.  We did so to provide alternative marketing opportunities for grain farmers following the bust after the boom of the great Soviet grain sales.  Our early work is now paying off by providing farmers not only additional marketing opportunities, but also the opportunity to allow farmers to climb a few rungs of the vertical integration ladder by owning their own ethanol production facilities.  Just over half of current ethanol production is done by farmer-owned plants.

“We are also pleased about new provisions to provide Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for most of the nation’s food supply,” concluded Matlack.  “Once again it was AAM that first took the issue to Washington decision makers three decades ago.  COOL is one of the five points of AAM’s original mission statement adopted upon our organization’s founding.  We cannot take full credit for final passage of COOL, but we must take credit for being the first organization to identify the critical need for COOL and for advancing it for the past three decades.”

AAM also acknowledged several other positive developments in the farm bill development process including a standing disaster trust fund, extension of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), establishment of a Biomass Energy Reserve, extension and expansion of the bill’s energy title, expanded and mandatory spending for the McGovern-Dole International Child Nutrition Program, additional resources for many other nutrition programs, improvements to most conservation programs, approval of interstate shipment of state-inspected meat, improved legal rights for contract livestock producers, and provisions to allow school lunch programs to buy locally produced foods.

AAM used over half of its convention agenda to educate, advocate and plan for the future of renewable energy opportunities for farm families.  Workshops focused on ethanol, biodiesel, wind, biomass and other renewable energy developments.  AAM also paid tribute to David Senter, an AAM founder and the organization’s first Executive Director.  Senter, a former crop and dairy farmer from Texas was also an organizer and/or founder of Farm Aid, the American Corn Growers Association and the National Family Farm Coalition.  Senter now serves as Chairman of the Board & Chief Operating Officer of KSCW, a Washington, D.C. consulting firm.

 

(30)

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

AAM MONTHLY PARITY REPORT

  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2008

Press Release #1

President, AAM, Inc.
Larry Matlack
13118 East Stroud Road
Burrton, KS 67020
larry@stingerltd.com

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FARMERS STILL SELLING MANY CROPS FOR LESS THAN HALF PARITY
--WHEAT PRICES CONTINUE TO IMPROVE, HOG PRICES CONTINUE DOWNWARD--

OKLAHOMA CITY (RuralWire), Jan. 5, 2008 – The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) reports that improving markets have moved wheat prices to 84 percent of Parity*, soybeans exceeds 50 percent Parity, and corn and grain sorghum are approaching 50 percent of Parity.  But the prices farmers received for many crops and livestock are still less than 50 percent of Parity, with cotton still cotton only receiving 27 percent of Parity.  Hogs fell to only 31 percent of Parity.

Speaking at AAM’s national convention in Oklahoma City, President Larry Matlack stated that even though prices have recovered in 2007, when compared to the previous decade, too many farmers and livestock operators are still selling their goods for less than half of the price necessary to put them on an equitable financial level with the balance of the overall U.S. economy.

AAM PARITY REPORT -- December 2007

Commodity and Unit

Price

 100% Parity

Percent of Parity

 

Received

Price

Price Received

Barley, per bu.

$     4.81

$     7.83

61%

Beef Cattle (all), per cwt.

$   89.10

$ 220.00

41%

Calves, per cwt.

$ 119.00

$ 316.00

38%

Corn, per bu.

$     3.88

$     8.31

47%

Cotton (upland), per lb.

$   0.572

$     2.12

27%

Dry Edible Beans, per cwt.

$   27.20

$   58.20

46%

Grain Sorghum, per cwt.

$     6.90

$   14.20

49%

Hogs, per cwt.

$   39.50

$ 126.00

31%

Milk (all), per cwt.

$   21.70

$  41.50

50%

Oats, per bu.

$     2.71

$    4.65

58%

Rice, per cwt.

$   10.90

$  30.30

36%

Soybeans, per bu.

$     10.40

$  18.40

57%

Wheat, per bu.

$     9.41

$  11.20

84%

Source: Agricultural Prices, Dec 28, 2007
National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA

 

 

 

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*AAM stands for food producer and commodity PARITY. Parity is a term that denotes a fair commodity price adjusted for inflation to the commodity prices brought in 1910-1914 when producer-middlemen-consumer had a balanced income. Today, 15 commodities average 35 percent of PARITY. Meanwhile costs of trucks, combines, implements, tractors, and help rose many times. AAM still demands a parity price increase for commodities. Go to AAM's website: http://www.aaminc.org/ for more information.

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