Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Save Family Farms

Take Action!
A message from CREDO Action:

Unfair and discriminatory practices by meat industry giants have been squeezing independent farmers and ranchers out of business at an alarming rate.
But after decades of failure to enforce antitrust legislation against Big Meat, the 2008 Farm bill required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enact and enforce Fair Farm Rules.
Now, the rules have been written, but the USDA has yet to finalize them. And the meat industry has been putting enormous pressure on Secretary Vilsack and the Obama Administration to weaken these rules that would, for the first time, provide fair market protections for small and midsize farmers.
The dominance and consolidation of large meat processing companies has led to a situation in which independent farmers are essentially powerless to fight the unfair deals and prices they are offered by the large companies.
Most poultry producers operate under take it or leave it contracts that can require expensive, unnecessary equipment upgrades. The farmers are forced to take the contract, because there is only one local processing company, and many companies have retaliated against farmers that complain. 1
Meat packers also commonly pay higher prices to large producers, simply because they are large. Paying an independent farmer a price of five or six cents less per pound makes a huge difference — $56,000 a year less at market for a family farmer with 150 sows.2
The Fair Farm Rules would stop these discriminatory practices. They prevent meat packers from giving undue preference to large producers and factory farms, protect farmers who make expensive investments in upgraded equipment, and prohibit retaliation against farmers who speak out.
The survival of small and midsize family farms is essential for our access to more healthy, sustainable and local meat.
But, the failure to provide fair market livestock rules has resulted in hundreds of thousands of independent farmers being driven out of business, including nearly 160,000 independent cattle producers in the past 15 years3 — while exploitative rules give a huge advantage to factory farms which practice environmentally damaging practices, animal cruelty, and the overuse of antibiotics.
Secretary Vilsack and President Obama have already been given the power to end this system that rewards factory farmed mass meat and allows for discrimination against smaller farms. It's time for them to use it.
Thank you for fighting for safe and healthy food.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Corporate Farming: A Reasonable Hope of Fairness," Center for Rural Affairs, August, 2010
2. "Fair Farm Rules: Enact the GIPSA Rules," Food and Water Watch
3. "Save a Farmer Today, Tell Obama to Create Fair Contracts for Family Farmers," Food Democracy Now, June 19, 2011

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