Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman – aka Outsourcing Annie – will lead a 26-member delegation of Indiana food and agribusiness leaders to Mexico. Indiana Agriculture Director Andy Miller will join the traveling party. The group will visit a pork processing plant and the largest dairy operation in Latin America as well as meet with representatives from grain and biotechnology industries.
See a trend here – anyone? Anyone? Daniels and Skillman unleashed the Possibilities Unbound Plan in 2005 which triggered the filing and approval of hundreds of CAFO permits to operate confined operations to meet the goal of doubling hog production within a few years. The visits to the pork processing plant operation will no doubt be to work out agreements for processing the pork product or to open the possibility to contract for raising hogs in Mexico. But why would outsourcing processing even be needed?
Wasn’t one of the Guv’s goals in doubling pork production to increase economic benefit to Indiana? The next excuse we will hear from the Guv and Skillman is that we just don’t have the capacity to handle all the processing.
In addition to
outsourcing possibilities visiting pork and dairy locations, one of the foremost topics appears to be “rural development.” This is code for “rural exploitation” of Mexican agricultural areas; obviously we are not discussing rural development here in Indiana. Much of the country is too arid or too mountainous for crops or grazing, and it is estimated that no more than one-fifth of the land is potentially arable. However, Mexico’s burgeoning population has made it a net importer of grains.
Add to this mix the fact that NAFTA, which was implemented 14 years ago, required the lifting of tariffs on corn and beans by early 2008, and it looks like the Guv and Skillman will be some of the first to exploit the elimination of the tariffs by shipping Indiana grain to Mexico.
Again, more exploitation of the Mexican people and land. Note that Emily Otto-Tice of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Corn Alliance is one of the 26-members making the trip.
With much of the land too arid or too mountainous for grazing, it also raises the prospect that Mexico would be an excellent experiment in building and running CAFOs since CAFOs do not require a large number of acres to operate. Build CAFOs in Mexico, ship Indiana grain to Mexico to supply the necessary feed, and ship the finished product to the growing middle classes in countries such as China. With states and local communities becoming ever more wary of the environmental dangers of CAFOs, why not use Mexico with its less stringent environmental standards.
Skillman has previously led separate missions to Taiwan and Vietnam and to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. All countries which produce all those lovely, cheap products competing for the American consumers’ attention. So, while Indiana’s economy is not faring so well and the United States appears headed into a recession, the Guv sends his right-hand woman on another field trip with 26 cohorts at the expense of the taxpayers.
The following are those individuals who owe us thanks for their memories in Mexico since I assume the Hoosier taxpayer is again paying for the privilege of losing jobs. I have underlined and bolded those names connected with agriculture. Notice that two areas are predominantly represented: grains and pork. Connect the dots: Mexican rural development – exporting crops and outsourcing meat production and processing.
- Lt. Governor Becky Skillman
- Andy Miller, Director, Indiana State Department of Agriculture
- Juana Watson, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Hispanic Affairs
- Steve Akard, Director of International Development, Indiana Economic Development Corporation
- Angela Coats, Press Secretary, Office of the Lt. Governor
- Bart Lomont, Special Assistant to the Lt. Governor of Indiana
- Matt Harrod, Assistant Director of Policy and Research, Indiana State Department of Agriculture
- Lesley Taulman, International Trade Program Manager, Indiana State Department of Agriculture
- Dale Whittaker, Associate Dean for Academic Program, Purdue University College of Agriculture
- Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco, Dean, College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University
- Susan Sutton, Associate Vice Chancellor of International Affairs and Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology, IUPUI
- Dr. David A. Bathe, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Lafayette
- Don Villwock, President, Indiana Farm Bureau
- Mike Platt, State Executive Indiana Pork Producers Association
- Terry Vanlaningham, Indiana Pork
- Emily Otto-Tice, Director of Grain Marketing, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn
- Fayte Brewer, Indiana Grain Producer
- Jim Eichhorst, Manager, State Government Relations, Midwest Region, Biotechnology Industry Organization
- Ted McKinney, Leader, U.S. Food Chain and States Affairs, Dow AgroSciences
- Andres Felix, Legal and Government Affairs Lead, Latin and North America, Monsanto
- Angel Saavedra, Regulatory and Government Affairs Manager, Dow AgroSciences, Mexico
- Mike Murphy, President, Murphy Partners, LLC
- Beth Bechdol, Director of Agribusiness Strategies, Ice Miller LLP
- Terry Anker, Chairman, The Anker Consulting Group
- Steve Churchill, President and CEO, PreferredPartners