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September 26, 2000


An Oklahoma farmer's perspective


As a farmer and feed lot operator I have watched the handling of grain
from the seed dealer to the farm from the farm to the elevator and from
the elevator to the feed lot.

Our current facilities cannot assure the segregation of crops. They are
handled on a bulk basis and to maintain even a 5% tolerance is not
possible with our present system. The system we use has a number of weak
points. Starting at the seed cleaner the wrong load can be cleaned. After
it is cleaned it can be tagged wrong or a pallet of the wrong seed put in
the wrong place. When it is loaded, the wrong seed can be loaded. Planting
equipment is not usually cleaned between fields unless they are seed plots.

At harvest the combine may get in the wrong field or cut two spirited
fields as one. The truck driver may not tell the elevator about anything.
He may have the wrong owner of the seed or the wrong field. This is a
daily occurrence during harvest.

Once in the elevator the belts, pits and elevators are not cleaned between
bins and most of the folks that work in elevators are not very bright folk
or they would get a better job. The mix bins dump truckloads in the wrong
pit and so on. Again this is a daily occurrence.

We can improve this a lot, but the only way to have grain you can identify
is to put it in bins on the farm under the farmers' supervision and ship
it in sealed containers. Bulk carriers won't keep the purity the Eco
freaks are trying to demand and they know it. Their purpose is not GM
labeling, it is trade protectionism. The EU's defiance of hormone treated
beef shows that. They would rather take a chance on getting BSE than let
competing beef in the country and give the consumer a choice of US or
Canadian beef that is BSE free.

Food safety is not the issue, it is protectionism. They are turning people
against safe, plentiful food with the exact same methods Hitler gained
support for his methods -- from the best educated population in the world.
If you tell the same distortions of truth long enough people will believe
them. We aren't doing much better than his enemies did. We talk among
ourselves but we won't mount a unified public campaign against these
thugs. The law will not prosecute them and we don't call them to task for
that. If we just complain among ourselves we are sure to lose.

Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com
Stillwater, OK www.couger.com/gcouger
405 624-2855