Animal Food Checkoff Programs and the Economics of Meat Production

Animal Food Checkoff Programs and the Economics of Meat Production – Politics – Utne Reader.

Here is an interesting article from Utne Reader on the new book by David Robinson Simon: “Meatonomics”.

This exert from the book is mainly about the food “checkoff” programs. Those are programs where the federal government takes a certain percentage of every product sold, say every pound of beef or pork, or a dozen eggs, or a gallon of milk. They then use that money to “promote” those products. In other words, to manipulate the public through advertising to buy more of those products.

Milk- it does a body good.

Pork, the other white meat.

What’s for dinner? Beef.

The incredible, edible egg.

I’m sure you’ve seen these ads, they’ve been around for years. According to the article, they’ve been VERY effective. For instance, the dairy producers report they’ve increased per capita milk consumption 12% to 620 pounds since their program started in 1983. More than 7 billion extra pounds of milk sold!

I don’t really have a problem with food producers trying to promote the sale of their products. If they all just got together voluntarily and threw their money in a pool to spend on advertising that they all agreed on, then fine.

Where I have an issue is that this program is mandatory. The federal government does not allow anyone to opt out and it forces ALL producers to pay for whatever it is that the government decides to say. We’re talking $557 million yearly, that’s a lot of advertising.

Why in the world do we even need the federal government to promote ANY product? Is this in ANY way consistent with the LIMITED government we are supposed to have according to our Constitution? It IS still the supreme law of the land, no matter how many ‘laws’ have been written into the books to subvert it.

Looks like nobody really cares. There’s already been a case where some beef producers disagreed with an ad campaign (Johannes v. Livestock Marketing Association) that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Basically, the court ruled that the statements (ads) were being produced by the government, NOT the beef producers and so they had no standing to object (I’m not a lawyer but that’s my take on it).

Tough titties in other words 🙁

It looks like a book worth reading if you’re at all interested in our increasingly corporate food system. The more I learn, the more I DON’T like what I’m finding out. There has to be a better way.

Comments appreciated here