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Second Anniversary... And Beyond PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Friday, 10 November 2006
AFF Sentinel Vol.3 #32

Dear AFF Sentinel Reader & Member of the Beef Industry:

Most of you have been reading the Sentinel for exactly two years tomorrow, Nov. 11, Veteran's Day. You are very aware of serious efforts, including lawsuits, Congressional legislation and planned Farm Bill assaults, to dismantle the consumer-focused path of today's beef industry. Indeed, outlawing many industry business trends and marketing tools is the goal of some folks with the ear of U.S. Senators and Congressmen, the partnership of D.C. consumer activists and the dollars to hire lawyers. Consumer activist groups who wish to "reform" or eliminate animal agriculture would be challenge enough, without the cooperation and credibility given them by radical agricultural groups.

The Agribusiness Freedom Foundation (AFF) was founded by beef industry people who believe that segments of the food production chain must be able to work together to improve our product for the consumer. They believe that all options for business organization, contracts and grids, alliances, branded programs and free trade should be preserved for everyone. Making innovation and cooperative competition illegal is a sure way to hasten an industry's decline in a fast-moving world. Through alliances alone, many cattlemen are reporting premiums of up to $60/head, worth tens of thousands of dollars to even small operations.

Your state and national cattlemen's groups are your first line of offense and defense in this war for the future of the industry. But as your representatives in legislatures, before Congress, at federal agencies and in industry meetings and conferences, the sensibilities of minority members and of sponsors requires a certain level of diplomacy to preserve effectiveness at the negotiating table. But just as talk radio and print columnists are effective in the American political arena in laying out the cold hard facts, the hidden agendas and selfish motivations that parties cannot address head on, there is a need within the beef industry for truth telling, myth busting and long-term thinking to counter short-sighted emotionalism. Cattlemen need the whole picture to make up their mind. Politicians must not be allowed to think that the radical populists of agriculture's far left represent the thinking of all America's cattlemen.

That is where the AFF comes in. Thousands of beef industry people have gotten information, explanations and "I never thought of that" moments over the last two years from the AFF Sentinel, convention presentations, media stories or radio interviews. Over 350,000 newsletter impressions and 35,000 website hits have spread the word. Google us and you'll see over 1,700 references to our name. Those messages have blunted some of the radicals' demagoguery. But the beef industry people with AFF's vision, who have been providing its financial support for two years, need your help. If AFF is to continue its job of truth telling, of running interference for the mainstream groups you trust, we need your support. Mainstream agricultural groups need AFF to say things they cannot come out and say.

We need your check today or your visit to our website where you can use a credit card to make your contribution during our Fall AFF Second Anniversary & Beyond Fund Drive. If you prefer, send your check, made out to Agribusiness Freedom Foundation, to your state affiliate office. We are heading into a Farm Bill debate which could shape the future of cattle and beef marketing, industry structure and world trade for decades. Please join with us and help make sure our independent voice is there to assist.

To everyone who contributes the suggested minimum amount, as a "thank you" gift, AFF will send a copy of Riding for the Brand, a terrific novel that paints the picture of what the beef industry could be like in 25 years - or sooner if we get our act together quicker. Author Jim Whitt has made it easy - in a short, entertaining book - to envision how real cowboys could get there.

Please go to and click on the "Make a Contribution" button to make a contribution. You may also review issues of the Sentinel. Contributor's identities are kept confidential. Contributions may be a business deduction - consult your tax professional. Contributions are not deductible as a charitable contribution.

The recent elections have made the road ahead more challenging than ever. Please help us preserve the freedom for you to innovate and adapt to the 21st century consumer. Thank you.

Jan Lyons
AFF Chairman

Steve Dittmer
AFF Executive Vice President

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Last Updated ( Friday, 15 December 2006 )
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