Sunday, June 28, 2009


Via Kevin Stoda in Germany from Rady Ananda in the USA

American Farmers and German Farmer Supporters need to Read this!!! Deutschland, Lies bitte und Tun was Recht ist, den Herrn Schumacher in Suddakota gegen Tyson zu Hilfen!!!!!em>

I was asked to post this to German (and American) Readers by Rady Ananda. Auf Deutche--Deutschland lies bitte und tun was Recht ist den bauern Herrn Schumacher in Suddakota gegen Tyson.The news in COALITION OF THE OBVIOUS from Rady Amanda notes.


Directed by court order obtained by Tyson, the U.S. Marshals Service on June 11, 2009, posted a No Trespassing sign and Warning on the front door of the home of South Dakota rancher and cattle feeder Herman Schumacher. Tyson obtained a judgment against Schumacher because he tried to protect his fellow cattle producers by stopping Tyson from violating the Packers and Stockyards Act. A federal jury unanimously sided with Schumacher, but then a three-judge panel for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the jury’s decision. So, in a bizarre twist, Schumacher must now pay Tyson $15,881.38 or Tyson will seize his home.

The Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA) was established to protect family farmers and ranchers against unfair and deceptive practices by the highly concentrated meatpackers. In 2006, both the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that USDA had failed for nearly a decade to properly enforce the PSA. As a result, anticompetitive practices and anti-trust actions by the concentrated meatpackers have gone unrestrained, causing hundreds of thousands of cattle producers to exit the industry.

During the prolonged non-enforcement of the PSA, USDA implemented a new price reporting requirement, but made a horrendous mistake. Over a six-week period, from April 2, 2001, to May 11, 2001, USDA miscalculated beef values and underreported those values to the public. It was widely believed that Tyson and the other two largest meatpackers – Cargill Meat Solutions, d/b/a Excel Corporation (Excel), and Swift & Co. (Swift), now JBS Swift – knew that beef values were being underreported and were purposely underbidding the actual value of cattle. Prices paid for Schumacher’s and other cattle feeders’ cattle were forced lower during this period, causing producers to lose millions of dollars in income. USDA refused to take any action to correct this injustice.

But Schumacher and two other cattle feeders, Mike Callicrate and Roger Koch, stepped to the plate in 2002 to do what USDA refused to do – they filed a lawsuit to enforce producers’ rights under the PSA. They did this as a class action case to ensure that every U.S. producer harmed by the packers could recover their lost income. And they won! The federal judge in the case stated in 2006:

“The jury carefully found that defendants (Tyson, Excel, and Swift) knew of the USDA reporting errors on April 24, 2001, and took advantage of such knowledge thereafter…There is no dispute that the jury found defendants liable for damages for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.”

The jury awarded $9.25 million to the class of cattle producers harmed by the packers. Schumacher estimated that he and the other cattle feeders in the class would each receive about $40 for each head of cattle sold while the packers were driving cattle prices lower.

On Friday, Schumacher held a press conference at his home:
Yesterday, R-CALF released a statement asking the nation’s largest meatpacker to behave morally and rescind seizure of Schumacher’s home:

Billings, Mont. – On the day R-CALF USA conducted its June 26, 2009 news conference before a crowd of about 150 in the small town of Herreid, S.D., to highlight Tyson Fresh Meat’s seizure of the home of Herreid, S.D., rancher and cattle feeder Herman Schumacher, Tyson faxed R-CALF USA a complaint letter.

Tyson Senior Group Vice President for Fresh Meats James Lochner complained that R-CALF USA had “twisted the facts in its recent press announcements on the boxed beef pricing litigation that occurred in South Dakota.” Lochner’s letter also informs R-CALF USA that Tyson intends to proceed in its action to seize Schumacher’s home, and Tyson attempts to justify its action on the basis that Schumacher would do the same to Tyson if the outcome of the price manipulation case had turned out differently.
R-CALF USA fired a letter back to Tyson informing Lochner that he has erroneously cited an 18-month-old news release from the group, which was not a part of any of R-CALF USA’s announcements for the news conference held to highlight Tyson’s current action of retaliation against Schumacher. R-CALF USA’s letter explains that Lochner’s error demonstrates that Tyson and R-CALF USA have long had “different views regarding what constitutes a competitive cattle market.”

But, R-CALF USA’s letter is hardly a defense against Tyson’s criticisms. Instead, it is an appeal to Tyson to attain a higher moral standard. The group’s letter states in part:

R-CALF USA does not contest Tyson’s right to seize and sell Schumacher’s home. However, R-CALF USA believes there is a higher, moral imperative that should govern the outcome of this controversy. It is fundamentally wrong for Tyson to seize the modest home of Herman Schumacher after Tyson’s actions were found to have financially harmed Schumacher and other cattle producers in the amount of $9.25 million. The fact that an appellate court shielded Tyson from any obligation to make Schumacher and other cattle producers whole even after it was found to have engaged in conduct prohibited by the Packers and Stockyards Act does not absolve Tyson of this higher, moral responsibility.

The letter further states, “R-CALF USA respectfully requests that Tyson immediately withdraw its judgment against Herman Schumacher and its ongoing legal action to seize Schumacher’s home.”

R-CALF USA also asks Lochner to let the organization know whether Tyson will agree to the requested withdrawal by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, June 29, 2009, so that R-CALF USA will know whether it needs to begin preparing for the forced sale of Schumacher’s home, which is expected to occur on or after July 1, 2009.

Originally posted at Food Freedom, with editorial contributions by Rady Ananda.



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