Remember that kid on the playground, not the bully, but his smaller, weaker spokesman; that big-mouth side-kick that did most of the talking? Well some of these little rascals grow up, but never shut up. Some get paid for their lip bumping; others just talk because they love to hear the sound of their voice. Either way, they talk and talk and talk because they’re afraid to walk the walk.
Steve Dittmer is one of those talkers. He has attended many summer conferences of the Organization for Competitive Markets over the last 15 years to record what’s said and done. Later he can almost always be counted on to misrepresent and deride the proceedings. Despite his distorted reporting, we’ve never failed to welcome Mr. Dittmer to our meetings. I remember one year he came in disguise, with dyed hair and sunglasses; when I greeted him, he didn’t even know his own name! Regardless, we continue hoping that someday he might come to understand why OCM fights so hard for honest, open and competitive markets.
Since Mr. Dittmer is a better talker than listener or sleuth, maybe we can once again help him out by giving him a picture of what’s been happening while he’s been yammering:
- since Mr. Dittmer was at CALF News, per capita beef consumption has declined by nearly a third while chicken has more than doubled;
- the U.S. has lost nearly half of its cattlemen, over 90% of its hog farmers, and over 85% of its dairy farmers;
- beef cattle numbers are the lowest since 1951, a train wreck for the entire cattle and meat industry from the ranch to the feeding sector to retail;
- the biggest companies in all three major meat categories are now foreign owned and fighting for increased foreign access to our U.S. markets to displace even more domestic production;
- the U.S., once proclaiming to be the grocery store to the world, now is a net food importer on a value basis; and
- poultry and hog producers are mostly serfs on their own farms under the control of corporate lords while cattlemen are well on their way to suffering the same fate.
OCM stands against abusive market power and for family farmers and ranchers. We support fair, open and competitive markets, prosperous rural communities, good food, and humane treatment of livestock and the people who care for them.
Mr. Dittmer and his AgribusinessFreedom.org stands for the “freedom” of big ag biz bullies to continue their unrestrained plundering and pillaging of our farms and ranches at the expense of every working American farmer and rancher.
The honest debate about what kind of agriculture and food system best serves people, animals and the planet is long over. Are OCM and our like-minded friends really that serious a threat to the domination of Mr. Dittmer’s corporate thugs that he must misrepresent us, our beliefs and our goals?
I hope so.
– Mike Callicrate