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February 21, 2003

Chicken Feed How much does

Chicken Feed

How much does it take to buy a politician? Less than you'd think. In Georgia, you can buy the political favors of Representative Nathan Deal for only $5000. That's how much Fieldale Farms contributed to his 2002 campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Now this is the U.S., so I know what the first question on your lips is. Did Fieldale Farms get any value for its money, or was buying Rep. Deal a relative waste of money?

Well, at the behest of Rep. Deal, and with no public notification or discussion, the Republican leadership added a clause to the $397 billion dollar spending bill congress passed last week that will allow Fieldale Farms to label their chickens as organic even though they were raised on conventional feed, feed that could contain pesticide and fertilizer residue.

Rep. Deal had tried this before in more open circumstances, and found himself not only opposed by the USDA, but by the entire organic produce industry, as well as non-organic industry giants like Tyson Foods. When that attempt failed, as indeed it should have, Nathan Deal took the more secretive route.

No matter what one might think of the average consumer of organic products, the fact is that organic farming is a $10 billion dollar industry, one that Rep. Deal was perfectly happy to undermine for a measly five thousand dollars.

Five thousand dollars is....nothing. That's not even the price of a new car, yet it will buy you a Republican House member. I don't know whether to be pissed off because he could be bought, or because he could be bought for so little. I also shudder to think what he'll do when insurance industry legislation comes to the floor. He jumped through all sorts of hoops for Fieldale's five thousand; think what he'll do for the ten grand AFLAC gave him.

If you'd like to contact Rep. Deal about renting or leasing him, you could once e-mail him from here, but's it's been taken down, surprise.

Try calling, (202) 225-5211.

If you'd like to contact Fieldale Farms, either to inform them of a boycott, or just to inquire how one goes about buying a member of Congress, try some of these addresses;

Regional Sale Manager - jeffpaschall AT fieldale.com
Senior Sales Manager - donclick AT fieldale.com
Export Manager - bocoursey AT fieldale.com

Fieldale markets its chicken under the Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms brands, so if you're an organic consumer, it might be best to avoid them entirely. Their main outlets are Tops Friendly Markets, Stop & Shop, and Giant chain stores. Apparently they sell to Denny's, as well. If you'd like to ask Denny's to stop using their chicken, use this e-mail address; tell_us AT dennys.com.

Here's what I sent them.

Hello,

According to this website, http://www.ams.usda.gov/tmd/FSMIP/FY2001/IA0333%20.pdf, Denny's receives some of its chicken from a company, Fieldale Farms, producer of Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms chicken.

Fieldale Farms recently attempted to water down strict federal regulations regarding the levels of pesticide and fertilizer residue in organic chicken feed, regulations that I depend on when choosing the food I feed my family.

Thanks to underhanded and undemocratic manipulation of a congressional spending bill on the part of Rep. Nathan Deal (R. GA), this attempt was successful.

I realize that Denny's had no part in this effort, but until the watered down regulations are repealed, or I receive assurances from Denny's that Fieldale Farms is no longer a supplier of your chicken, my family and I can no longer patronize your establishment.

Thank you, and have a good day.

Feel free to use it yourself. I CC'd the fieldale.com addresses, as well. I know from our experience with the Portland Airport that a couple of e-mails has a far greater impact than one would think, so cut and past that sucker if you've the slightest inclination.

Other outlets of Fieldale Farm products, and their contact information

Acme Markets acme-feedback AT eds.com
Supermercados Amigo lomejor AT amigo.com
Bozzuto's mikeb AT bozzutos.com
Giant Foods Contact Form and Phone Number
Ingles Contact Form and Phone Number
Jungle Jim's Contact Form and Phone Number
Publix Supermarkets lee.brunson AT publix.com
Stop & Shop Supermarket kcarroll AT stopandshop.com
Tops Markets info AT topsmarkets.com
Ukrop's helpline AT ukrops.com

Here's the letter I sent Ingles, which is the only store near me. Note that if you copy it, you'll need to replace the store name with the one you are writing.

Hello,

According to this website, http://www.springermountainfarms.com/links.html, your stores receive some of chicken they sell from a company, Fieldale Farms, producer of Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms chicken.

Fieldale Farms recently attempted to water down strict federal regulations regarding the levels of pesticide and fertilizer residue in organic chicken feed, regulations that I depend on when choosing the food I feed my family.

Thanks to underhanded and undemocratic manipulation of a congressional spending bill on the part of Rep. Nathan Deal (R. GA), this attempt was successful.

I realize that Ingles had no part in this effort, but until the watered down regulations are repealed, I will not buy chicken produced by this company, and probably not afterwards, either. As I do prefer to shop at your stores, I would ask that you make an effort to replace chicken produced by this company, to allow me the widest possible choice of a safe food product when I next patronize your store.

Thank you, and have a good day.

The obvious question here is "Why do I care? "Why go to the trouble of finding all the information above, not to mention writing the letters?"

Well, Fieldale Farms just tried to steal my government. What do you think I should have done? Let them?

Posted by Bigwig at February 21, 2003 02:49 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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