business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got a number of emails yesterday regarding the possibility that Belgian beer manufacturer InBev could launch an acquisition bid for Anheuser-Busch.

MNB user Ted File wrote:

How sad it would be to see a huge conglomerate take over a company we in the industry trust, revere, and admire. The contributions that the Busch family alone has made to the city, state, and the world will never be totally recognized as many of those contributions have been anonymous. Look at the people who have spent their working career at A-B and their willingness to roll up their sleeves working at retail. I can attest to the fact that if all CPG companies had the same attitudes and willingness to contribute to the retailer’s success it would be a much better industry.

MNB user Carl Finfrock wrote:

If they could sell the Cardinals, what next? The horses?

Think the unthinkable.

The Clydesdales, which originated in Scotland, get replaced by the Belgian Draft Horse.

Horrors!

(Though at least they’re draft horses…)




Regarding the impact of high fuel costs, MNB user Keith Domalewski wrote:

While $5 a gallon gas would certainly cause major pain for Americans, it could end up being ultimately viewed as “cheap” in the long-run. I think the prediction is a bit on the alarmist side, but an energy analyst whoa appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” earlier this month is saying that prices will rise to $12-$15 a gallon in the not-too distant future. If the guy turns out to be correct, then the economies of the world are all in for a crisis not seen since the days of the great depression. Can you imagine the costs involved in transporting people and goods at $15 a gallon gas? Just the thought of a world with $15 a gallon gas should be enough motivation to spur the creation of some sort of energy “Manhattan Project” as it clearly represents a serious threat to national security, not to mention our way of life!

Agreed.




Got the following email from MNB user Chris Chinn:

I recently read your article “Extolling the Virtues of Pasture-Based Farms” on your website. I appreciate your efforts to support agriculture and promote healthy and safe food products produced by American Farmers. I am a fifth-generation family farmer who raises hogs, alfalfa (hay) and wheat with my husband, his parents, and my brother-in-law. Farmers today are faced with the challenge of producing twice as much food as farmers did fifty years ago, and we do this on fewer acres while protecting our environment. However there are many misconceptions being spread about agriculture and the safety of food.

As a consumer, it is important for me to purchase healthy products for my family. As a farmer I know how hard farmers work to guarantee they produce healthy food from healthy animals. To ensure our food is produced by AMERICAN farmers, farmers have made improvements to their farms using sound science. These improvements help provide healthy and safe food to feed our growing nation while protecting the environment. Many farmers have nutritionists who design their animal’s diet to ensure a healthy product for consumers.

My family used to raise hogs outside on pastures but now we choose to raise our animals indoors where we can protect our hogs from diseases, being attacked by predators and from the harsh elements of the weather. By housing our hogs indoors, we have protected their environment and prevented them from many diseases hogs raised outdoors are exposed to. Our animals have air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. We monitor their daily feed and water intake, as well as their health. Each animal on our farm is recorded in a computer database system which allows us to keep detailed health and feed records on all animals. We care for our animals 7 days a week, 365 days a year. By housing our animals indoors we know immediately if an animal is not feeling well, and we are able to give them the hands on care they deserve. If our hogs were outdoors in open lots, it would be extremely difficult to give our hogs the care they deserve in a timely manner.

We do not give hormones to our hogs, nor does anyone in the pork industry - it is against the rules and regulations set by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). We only use antibiotics when necessary to improve the life of our animal. Antibiotics are expensive so we can not afford to misuse them, nor can any family farmer. If a hog receives medication, it is recorded on their health history record card and we follow the withdrawal period on all medications before allowing these animals to leave our farm. The withdrawal periods are set by FDA based on sound science and research and all farmers are required to follow them, my family meticulously follows these regulations. We eat the same food you do; we wouldn’t feed our families something that isn’t healthy.

We know that a healthy animal means healthy, nutritious food. A nutritionist designs the diets for our hogs to ensure they have quality and healthy feed which is made of corn and soybeans and processed in a clean environment at our family feed mill. We work with local family farmers to purchase the corn we feed our hogs, we know the corn is raised by a farmer who cares.

Farmers care about their animals, which is why they provide housing to protect them. When Asia had the “Avian Influenza” epidemic, American Farmers were not concerned because their animals were housed indoors where they were not exposed to this threat.

I appreciate your efforts to keep your readers informed about the safety of the food they consume. I encourage you to continue researching this topic by contacting groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation. The American Farm Bureau Federation is an excellent resource for exposing misconceptions about agriculture and they can provide you with the facts. Thanks for supporting American Farmers!





Responding to yesterday’s story about women’s attitudes toward health and fitness, one MNB user wrote:

There is a ton of denial going on. If 72% of moms' claim that their kids are not eating junk in front of them then who? Their friend's mom, but she probably makes the same claim? Maybe in front of their father, which may indicate then that mom isn't around a whole lot? Hmmmmmm........

In addition my mom and sister both are teachers. Their school has had the "healthy" style implemented for 2 full years now, and when I visited the school for a career day I did a walk through the cafeteria. What the kids pulled from their brown bags was absolute junk. I saw lunchables, candy bars, white bread slathered in mayo (maybe it was light mayo), chips, lots and lots of bags of potato chips, just JUNK! These kids
didn't buy this at school, it came right from home, pack with tender, loving, care of good ole healthy mom. It's about time parents open their eyes and take on some responsibility for their overweight children. Teachers have enough to do.


Agreed. Schools have a role. But it starts at home.




On the continuing subject of reusable shopping bags, one MNB user suggested:

Never really could remember to recycle the bags or use the cloth ones, they stay in the car. However, I finally found something that works for me and might for others. It is from Granite Gear and folds up into its self. Doesn’t take much space and stays in my hand bag. Now I always have a bag with me. So far every store has given a discount even though it isn’t the normal cloth bag. Found this one at REI but I’ve recently seen cheaper ones elsewhere.




Responding to yesterday’s Sansolo Speaks, MNB user Jack Allen wrote:

You will not deliver that commencement address to your son’s class; but you should be gratified reflecting on the many class lectures you have delivered to hundreds of college students at universities offering food management programs. I am aware that at some universities you were invited back year after year. I can assure you, your ideas and caring attitude have made a huge and lasting impact. Surely, many students are making their mark in the food industry. This is another opportunity to thank you for the vast support you have provided the Michigan State University program and its students. I have made similar comments to your partner, Kevin Coupe. Each of you deliver great messages--both of you walk your talk.

We both thank you.
KC's View: