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.

Photo Credit:

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

About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Agriculture and Food Production, Business, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Consumer Affairs, Environment, Indiana, Industrial farms, Mitch Daniels, NAFTA, Republican Party. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Phil Marx says:


    This doesn’t relate to your current post, but I thought you might enjoy this vegetarian blog.

    Also, I came across your Woodshop Woman blog recently. It looked like a good concept. I guess there’s not enough time to do that and cover the world of politics too.

  2. Phil:

    Thanks for the link.

    As to my efforts with Woodshop Woman, you are absolutely right. I started the blog last summer when I had my 10-day vacation break. I obviously thought I had enough time to work on more than one blog. Sadly, I have found that my main blog takes most of my time.

    Woodshop Woman has been kind of sitting out there, lonesome and forlorn. But since you have found it, I will need to get back in gear and work on it. I do almost all the work I can on my home, and I have learned a lot over years of home ownership. I just thought it would be helpful to pass that along to anyone who needs some help and inspiration.

    My current major project is remodeling my kitchen. I kept the top cabinets and tore out the bottom ones. I put down a sub-floor and put in new bottom cabinets. Those were a bear to do. I just got my cork flooring last week, and it is beautiful.

    Maybe this weekend I can get back to Woodshop Woman.

  3. jeanne says:

    Here’s a CAFO items from a recent Truthout post: from “Top Scientists Want Research Free From Politics” by Adrianne Appel/Inter Press Service 14 Feb,08

    ” ‘In another example, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture was prevented 11 times from publicizing his research about the dangers of bacteria in the air near massive pig farms in Iowa and Missouri – a big business that supplies America’s pork. His research found that the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. But his supervisor refused to allow him to discuss his results, saying in one memo to him: “politically sensitive and controversial issues require discretion.'”

  4. Paul says:

    The item Jeanne quotes hints at another problem with CAFOs, or for that matter much of contemporary farming industry, which is that the use of antibiotics in the “care and feeding” given the animals is accelerating the evolution of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. This problem is well known to scientists, but less widely discussed in the general public.

    The following appeared in an FDA publication, “The Rise of Anti-Biotic Resistant Infections”:
    “Another much-publicized concern is use of antibiotics in livestock, where the drugs are used in well animals to prevent disease, and the animals are later slaughtered for food. “If an animal gets a bacterial infection, growth is slowed and it doesn’t put on weight as fast,” says Joe Madden, Ph.D., strategic manager of microbiology at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. In addition, antibiotics are sometimes administered at low levels in feed for long durations to increase the rate of weight gain and improve the efficiency of converting animal feed to units of animal production.” (

    It was easy to go down this path years ago given the argument that good nutrition would promote a healthy human population and good nutrition would be promoted by cheapening the making of food, but the long term costs seem to be coming home now.

  5. Tom says:

    Apparantly, this state would be better off if we led Skillman and “Not My Man” Mitch out of Indiana.
    We had a CAFO expansion in Madison County. I’m all for the farmers making a living. But I’m against corporate farms coming in and damaging our environment.
    I attended the hearing for their expansion. One BZA member said that he didn’t think it would damage any wells. At this point of time, it was a known fact that it had damaged a well. These farmers acted like it was a joke.
    When asked about total water usage, the number that they gave averaged out to only one ounce of water a day per cow (less than 0.1% of what it should have been). The commissioners are always asking this question and should have known that it was bogus information. When I went to address some of this information to one of the commissioners, she immediately and rudely cut me off.
    At least two people emailed Indiana’s Lt. Governor and she came to Madison County (just to drive past the people who were worried about their wells and property value). She instead went to the CAFO’s ground breaking ceremony.
    The Governor, Lt. Governor and commissioners need to ask themselves a question. Which is: “Would they have done this if a CAFO was planted in their back yard?” My bet is that Mitch Daniels would no longer have that corny smile on his face.

    Obviously they support people who could care less about our environment, people who give bogus information.

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