Know Your Farmer

Just Say NO to Chicken from China

TN DENIED 1_Flattened

There’s something awesome about being on the frontier of globalization – with the opportunity to see trade increase amongst individuals all over the world while improving the standard of living and quality of life of millions of people who have struggles much worse that most of us in America.

And then there is something horrifying about globalization, where the United States has decided it’s a good idea to ship chickens to be processed in China, which then return home to consumers here in the U.S.  There is something extremely wrong with this – and although I don’t have an economic model for why this is so, I think I have my suspicions.

First of all, markets are manipulated using currency exchanges, tariffs, rules and regulations, and international treaties – so that there is really no such thing as “free trade”.  Even here in my own little valley of the world – if I, Tisha, want to bake cookies and sell them to willing buyers on the street corner in Aspen – there’s a host of rules I am supposed to follow (and licenses I am to procure) before I would ever think of doing such a thing.  If trade were free – I could go and do this.  But there is no such thing as free trade – here – or in most parts of the world where an American wants to do business.

Beyond not having “free markets”, our country has a federal government that subsidizes and penalizes industries.  Subsidies to corn growers helped create the near-poison: high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS – most likely genetically modified?).  And since HFCS was so cheap (thanks to subsidies), more food manufactures used this in place of cane sugar.  This helped bring about a storm of childhood obesity, among other health problems, for millions of people.  This is the type of spaghetti-laced bureaucratic decision making that is made at the federal level of government, that can have drastic and painful effects on individual consumers – not to mention small farmers and ranchers that are trying to compete.

Lastly, and in the case of the chicken-swap happening with the U.S. and China – this is completely and totally “politics”.  It has no economic or health benefit – it is merely a quid pro quo – a gift from the U.S. government to the Chinese government – to show good will (to “help” China get access to the chicken market in the U.S.). And I promise you, this will do absolutely nothing for consumers, taxpayers, and the future generation of Americans.

So now, we have chicken meat being shipped to us from China for human consumption (have you heard about the many cases of very bad events with food processing in China?).  I have ‘beef’ with our own USDA certification process for meat , who knows what is actually happening half a world a way.  There is so little oversight from any bureaucratic agency, that it should frighten the most adamant believer in government intervention.

What should we do?  Scream in horror to our federal representative Scott Tipton – who has basically zero ability to stop this?  No – we should investigate locally who we can purchase our meat from.  Vote with your dollar.  Right now!  At this very moment you can make a conscious decision to purchase your meat from a Colorado producer – who you can trust, who you can visit, and who you can personally thank for protecting your life and limb with meat products that aren’t tainted and are full of the nutrition your body needs.

Resource: The Curious Case of the Chinese Chicken Import-Export Business by Joe Klock – Newsweek (September 28, 2014)

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