Ag Blogs -
Thursday, 05 April 2012 15:09
now, I'm sure most of you have heard the term "pink slime" and how it
is (was) a part of your ground beef. Maybe, by now, most of you have
heard that Lean, Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) aka pink slime, has gotten a
bum steer from the media, in particular ABC News and Jamie Oliver's
Food Revolution. If you haven't, here's a Fox News article, blowing the whistle on ABC and their inaccurate reporting.
LFTB is the latest to fall to consumers who are effectively exercising
their rights, just like Verizon and it's bill paying fees, Bank of
America and it's debit card fees, even the U.S. Congress and the SOPA
bill, the consumer's have spoken and many end users (grocery stores and
restaurants) of ground beef have said they will no longer purchase
ground beef with LFTB. The difference is, most of the consumers
demanding the exclusion of LFTB have been misinformed at best. I'm not
trying to discount consumers feelings or wants on this issue, but I'm
assuming for most, just looking at the picture above is enough to say
enough, then, when they here about the process in which LFTB is
produced, that's strike two. Having the media sensationalize it, we're
at strike 3, and there is hardly any time to counter the emotions of the
issue. All the more reason for the beef industry to be a heavy hitter
on this issue, right? Wrong.
After a quick scan of the NCBA, the KLA, and the Kansas Beef Council's
websites, I could only find snippets of the recent events in regards to
the attacks on LFTB. At best, there were links to links on the Kansas
Beef Council's facebook and a mention in the March 23rd KLA release the
KBC was sending out fact sheets to all of the school districts in
Kansas. NCBA addressed the USDA's decision to let school districts
choose on March 15th. Just tidbits you had to search for, nothing
more. Maybe they are doing more behind the scenes and the failure is
in informing the members. Really, there could be a plethora of reason
why they aren't addressing the issue more aggressively. I ask, why not?
The beef industry is what NCBA is representing, in the end, beef comes
from livestock, and the beef council is not only a product of the first
two through the checkoff, but is supposed to showcase beef itself. Are
we seeing another example of the industry burying it's head instead of
taking these activists attacks head on? I think so. These thoughts
have simmered in my mind all week after listening to this interview by Trent Loos of two Kansans who'd visited the D.C. headquarters of the NCBA and HSUS in the same day.
I agree with Mandy and Randall's conclusion. Not only do we need to
counter activists attacks in the media more aggressively, we need to
negate them all together by more ardently communicating our message. My
goodness, John Stewart on The Daily Show
(its the first segment) has now weighed in on the issue. We have to
stop being so lackadaisical and be proactive or before long, there won't
be much to agvocate for.
The beef industry needs to seriously look at the effectiveness of Beef
Products, Inc.'s employees. I consider them collateral damage in this
pink slime debacle. 236 families have temporarily lost at least
one income at just the Garden City, KS plant alone. More in Amarillo
and Sioux City. In an effort to save their jobs they have started a
grassroots effort in advocating for their company, their jobs, their
livelihood. Check out their website. Their facebook page, People for the Truth, now
has over 16,000 members, over 10,000 new this week. They are welcoming
all positive points of view, both agreeing and dissenting, and are
asking for end users to give consumers a choice in purchasing their
ground beef. Sounds a lot like the agvocating I've seen on social media
lately. In fact, seasoned agvocates Mike Haley and Ryan Goodman
have offered their expertise to make these employees voices heard more
effectively. Wow! It seems their efforts are starting to pay off as
Hy-Vee has now back tracked and is going to offer consumers a choice in
their ground beef, with LFTB and without. It's amazing what a group of
organized individuals can accomplish when their message is
consistent, inclusive and cohesive. Something, in my opinion, the beef
industry struggles to accomplish.
|The slogan BPI employees are using to send their message.|
A huge kudos to the employees of BPI for effectively changing a bad
situation into a better one. With Hy-Vee on board and a delegation of
area governors deployed to tour BPI you are well on your way to a
successful mission. I wish I could hand the beef association groups a
microscope to study this, and other successful agvocate's endeavors.
Not to say many people haven't been agvocating for LFTB, and their
efforts haven't added to the success we've seen. But, all too often we
see an inconsistent message that excludes a part of the industry
and shows discontinuity between areas of the industry. If we, as an
industry, don't start taking a more intense stance and lose our
reactionary approach, I'm afraid of 'Where the Beef' might end up...
Lori Borthwick-Deyoe graduated with a BS in Agricultural Economics with minors in Animal
Science and Women's Studies. She worked as a grain originator for a local
coop and now is am a full-time mother two. Her husband, Matt, is a proprietor of a grower yard near Ulysses.
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