The Founding Fathers after the American Revolution wrote the ESTATE TAX into our US Constitution because they did not want landed royalty creating the same extreme wealth capture from generation to generation that existed in Europe for centuries.
IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED TO KEEP REAL ESTATE FREE FROM 1% CAPTURE OPENING EACH GENERATION THE ABILITY FOR ALL CITIZENS TO BUY AND USE REAL ESTATE AS THEY WANTED.
How do the Republicans wanting to return to landed royalty and extreme wealth and control of real estate make voters hate this tax? They called it a death tax and placed the burden of taxation on smaller farmers as BIG AG AND BIG MEAT received so much subsidy as to pay these taxes for them.
That was not how estate taxes were supposed to work-----Republicans and Clinton neo-liberals created the conditions for it to work that way. It was BIG AG states like IOWA and Nebraska that have the strongest Clinton Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal hold because many small farmers have long been put out of business as these global farms sending all that food overseas received enormous subsidy------THAT WAS A REPUBLICAN THING TO DO.
Today we have both working to bring these estate taxes ever lower and bring back the policy of grand estates that stay in a family. The southern states may think old-school plantation but these estates are being bought by the global rich and with them comes the fresh food economy surrounding these estates. These estates will use it to feed their families and will market the rest overseas at top dollar-----nothing to do with building a fresh food economy.
House votes to repeal estate tax
1981By Bernie Becker and Cristina Marcos - 04/16/15 12:12 PM EDT
The House voted Thursday to repeal the estate tax, a longtime priority of Republicans that also spurred Democratic charges that the GOP is in the pockets of the rich.
The 240-179 vote broke down largely on partisan lines, with seven Democrats voting to repeal the estate tax and three Republicans voting against it.
The White House has threatened to veto the measure, and the bill does not appear to have the 60 votes necessary to break a Democratic filibuster and get through the Senate.
GOP leaders pushed ahead with Thursday’s vote, timed to coincide with this week’s tax filing deadline, in part to give their rank and file the opportunity to vote on repeal.
The House last voted to end the estate tax a decade ago — meaning, as Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) put it this week, “the vast majority of our members in the Republican conference have never had the opportunity to stand up for small businesses who are threatened by the death tax everyday.”
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of GOP leadership, has introduced legislation across the Capitol to repeal the estate tax. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn't said when or if that proposal might get a vote.
Fifty-four senators went on record in March as supporting estate tax repeal, as part of a non-binding budget resolution vote. But that also leaves supporters six votes short of the 60 regularly needed to clear legislation.
Separately, the House also voted to permanently extend a deduction for state and local sales taxes that lapsed at the beginning of this year, a $42 billion measure. The White House has threatened to veto that legislation as well.
Taxpayers are generally allowed to deduct either their local sales or income taxes. But the income tax deduction is already permanent, leaving lawmakers from states that don’t charge income taxes — like Texas — wanting to indefinitely extend the sales tax deduction as well.
Killing off the estate tax would increase the deficit by $269 billion over a decade.
The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that the estate tax will hit 5,400 estates in 2015, or roughly 0.2 percent of the 2.6 million deaths expected in the U.S. this year.
Under current law, individuals with estates of under $5.43 million this year, and couples with $10.86 million estates, are exempt from paying the tax. Estates pay a maximum rate of 40 percent on the amount of assets above those levels.
The vote to repeal the estate tax comes as the 2016 presidential campaign is starting to heat up, and as GOP candidates are grappling with how to deal with rising income inequality in the U.S.
Nonetheless, Republicans believe they have a powerful argument for repealing what they believe is an immoral tax that resonates with voters across the economic spectrum.
Republicans argue that people are taxed every step along the way as they accumulate assets, meaning their heirs shouldn’t have to worry about the estate tax once they die. The estate tax, they add, is more likely to hit family farms and small businesses than the ultra-wealthy who can afford complex estate planning.
“Can you imagine working your whole life to build up a family-owned business or a farm, and then upon your death, Uncle Sam swoops in and takes nearly half of what you spent a lifetime building up for your children and grandchildren?” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the bill's sponsor.
Not surprisingly, Democrats don’t see it that way, and saw Thursday’s vote as another way to cast the Republicans as the party of tax cuts for the rich.
“Today's vote to repeal the estate tax is just the Republicans' last attempt to tilt the U.S. tax code in favor of the ultra-wealthy campaign donors,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).
This is where the progressive posing comes to Clinton/Obama Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals PRETENDING to be fighting this Republican push towards returning extreme wealth and royalty to landed gentry.
It is Clinton/Obama Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals who rewrote the Farm Bill so those BIG AG and BIG MEAT subsidies were not only protected but grew. They were the ones creating loopholes allowing more and more acreage be included in exemption IF THESE Mc Mansions and their land were growing crops. So the same pattern has Republicans working as hard as they can for the global corporations and rich this time in controlling real estate-----and the neo-liberals creating the policies that help promote all this as being 'progressive'.....WELL, THESE MC MANSIONS AND THEIR HUGE ACREAGE ARE GROWING FRESH FOOD THEY SAY.
Keep in mind the Democrats had a super-majority through 2009 and could have passed REAL progressive tax law in one session of Congress and did not----because they are working with Republicans to kill all taxation on rich and corporations including BIG AG and BIG MEAT.
Repealing estate tax would reward 0.2%: Our view
The Editorial Board6:59 a.m. EDT April 16, 2015
Critics say it forces heirs to sell farms and businesses to pay the tax. It's not true.
(Photo: Andrew Burton, Getty Images)
Q. What is the Republican-led House poised to do Thursday to help the estimated 150 million American taxpayers who struggled with the nation's absurdly complicated tax code to file their returns by Wednesday's deadline?
A. Vote to repeal the estate tax, which affects an estimated 5,400 well-off Americans every year.
OPPOSING VIEW: 'Death tax' punishes success
We say "well off" because you need to leave your heirs at least $5.4 million ($10.8 million for a couple) to have to pay any federal estate taxes at all.
Of the nearly 3 million Americans who die every year, only about two-tenths of 1% have enough assets to qualify. It's a rather exclusive group.
This isn't to disparage people who worked hard enough (or, in some cases, were lucky enough) to have estates that big. It's just that, at a time when income inequality is one of the nation's most vexing problems, the 0.2% hardly need extra help from Congress.
The House and Senate haven't made a serious move since 1986 to simplify the insanely complex tax code. But both chambers are finding time to vote on repealing the estate tax, a cause championed by a small but wealthy group of people who've showered lawmakers with campaign contributions.
If repeal makes it to President Obama's desk, he's expected to veto it, as well he should.
Despite all the rhetoric about the "death tax," dead people don't pay taxes. They are dead. Repealing the tax would be a huge windfall for their heirs. The average tax break per estate would be an estimated $3 million in 2016, and the 318 largest estates would get an average tax cut of $20 million.
Critics loudly and repeatedly claim the estate tax forces heirs to sell family-owned farms and businesses to pay the tax. That would be a powerful argument — if it were true. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that in 2013, only about 20 farm and small-business estates owed any estate tax.
The Maryland Assembly and global corporate governors always like to pretend taxes are too high on businesses and individuals but they are too high because Maryland has created loopholes for every instance of taxation for the rich and corporations. Now this is moving to our green real estate that used to be small farms and open green space as I stated with Baltimore's Cylburn Mansion and grounds. If you have a growing amount of land and use it for agriculture then taxation is abated so of course these Mc Mansions and expanding real estate will plant some kind of crop as Cylburn is using grounds to grow fresh food for their plans of handing this public park to an affluent hotel owner. So all our fresh food policy is being contained to yet more and more connections to global corporations and the rich.
Millionaire Estate Tax Supports Maryland Economy; Family Farms Protected
The estate tax is a small but important part of Maryland’s revenue system. It raised $182 million in Fiscal Year 2013.[i] The money goes toward schools, hospitals, safe communities, and many essential services across the state that help create jobs and build a strong economy.
The estate tax helps make sure the very wealthiest Marylanders pay their fair share. However, in 2014 lawmakers phased in a considerably weaker estate tax over the next five years. While Maryland used to ask the top 3 percent of estates to pay the tax, now only estates with assets greater than $2 million pay the 16 percent estate tax, eventually rising to $6 million in 2019. Once fully implemented, just 0.6 percent of estates will pay the Maryland estate tax. [ii]
Unfortunately, the estate tax is again under attack in Annapolis and there continue to be many misconceptions floating around about who pays. Here are the facts:
- No money or property a surviving spouse inherits is subject to Maryland estate tax.
- Estates can receive a credit against the estate tax for any inheritance tax paid. Note that the inheritance tax of 10 percent does not apply to property transferred to lineal heirs (parents, children, etc.), siblings, or domestic partners.
- Estates that include farms benefit from several aspects of current law. First, agricultural property receives a larger exemption, up to $5 million. Second, agricultural property pays a much lower rate than other property—five percent. Third, qualified heirs can defer paying the estate tax on property for three years so long as it remains in agricultural use. There are no verifiable cases of family farms lost due to the estate tax.
- Maryland has the highest median income in the country.[v]
- Maryland has the most millionaires of any state on a per household basis. In fact, the share of millionaire households has been growing, to 7.7 percent in 2013 from 6.2 percent in 2006 (note that the share of estates paying the estate tax is much lower than this, as high net worth households use the intricacies of the tax code to their advantage).[vi]
- Maryland has a high concentration of ultra-high net worth individuals (those worth more than $30 million). The state ranked 12th in number of ultra-high net worth individuals in 2013, even though it only ranks 19th in total population.[vii]
- Families and individuals appreciate the benefits of living in Maryland, such as our excellent schools, hospitals, and recreational opportunities. These factors weigh much more heavily in location decisions than taxes. Furthermore, when households do leave the state, often after retirement in search of warmer climates, they frequently return to the state as members age to be closer to family and take advantage of Maryland’s excellent health care.
- There were fewer millionaire tax returns in recent years—because high-income households are more dependent on investment income, which declined during the recession. High-income households did not flee the state. They merely experienced a decline in income due to larger economic conditions. While there were 11.4 percent fewer millionaire Maryland tax returns in 2011 (the most recent data available) compared to their peak in 2007, nationally millionaire tax returns declined 23 percent over the same period.[viii] [ix]Millionaires in Maryland were actually better off than the national average. The S&P 500 has rebounded more than 40 percent since 2011; high-income households likely fared similarly.
[i] Board of Revenue Estimates. December 2013. p. 25. Available from: http://finances.marylandtaxes.com/static_files/revenue/BRE_reports/FY_2014/2013_BRE_December_Report.pdf
[ii] Maryland Department of Legislative Services, “Fiscal and Policy Note for House Bill 739, Maryland General Assembly 2014 Legislative Session, http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/fnotes/bil_0009/hb0739.pdf
[iii] Conway and Rork. (June 2012). “No Country for Old Men (or Women): Do State Tax Policies Drive Away the Elderly?” National Tax Journal. pp 313-356.
[iv] Rork, J. (2 October 2012).The myth of Measure 84: Searching for sunshine by eliminating the estate tax. The Oregonian. Available from: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/10/the_myth_of_measure_84_searchi.html
[v] U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2012. Table B19013
[vi] Phoenix Marketing International. 2013. “Ranking of U.S. States By Millionaires Per Capita” Global Wealth Monitor: Affluent Market Intelligence. Available from: http://w3.phoenixmi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Phoenix-GWM-U.S.-Ranking-States-By-Millioinaires-Per-Capita-2006-13.pdf
[vii] Wealth-X. 2013. World Ultra Wealth Report. Available from: http://www.wealthx.com/wealthxubswealthreport/#wealthreport
[viii] Comptroller. Personal Income Tax Statistics of Income. Table 1. Available from: http://finances.marylandtaxes.com/Where_the_Money_Comes_From/General_Revenue_Reports/Statistics_of_Income_Reports/Personal_Statistics_of_Income_Reports.shtml
[ix] Internal Revenue Service. Statistics of Income. Available from: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income
For those not knowing the decade of Bush saw dairy farming and organic farming under attack as Republicans and Clinton neo-liberals created BIG DAIRY-----INDUSTRIALIZED MILK.
Each time they do this they pretend it is taxes or some social policy making it too hard for small farmers and small dairy farms but it is BIG DAIRY that pushed tons of American dairy farmers out and their cows into the industrial milk industry.
Trans Pacific Trade Pact required these changes made by Congress from that of direct subsidy to BIG AG AND BIG MEAT in the FARM BILL to tying it more tightly to Wall Street and the Commodities Market. This is what makes US food prices so high and this last decade has seen this soar.
Gentlemen Farm Estates are increasing----so too are industrial farms----not so much our family-owned farmers especially in the State of Maryland.
Gentleman Farms Estates Delaware Pennsylvania Maryland for Sale
'Most farmers are not yet feeling the pinch, as most provisions of the expired Farm Bill remain in place until 2013. But a key Farm Bill program for small dairy farmers expired on Sept. 30, leaving them at the mercy of the volatile milk market'.
Below you see the talk of falling milk prices ----this is a glut created by industrial dairy to bush small dairy out of business because they cannot produce at such a low cost.....it is like having a WalMart in your community driving out small businesses with their ability to lower prices.
With No Farm Bill, Maryland Dairy Farmers Lose Safety Net
Business Politics Top News — 01 November 2012
By David Gutman
Capital News Service
2COLLEGE PARK – “You can’t turn these cows on and off,” said Bill Kilby, whose family has owned a dairy farm in Cecil County since 1961. “You cannot stop feeding the cows, you’ve got to take care of them.”
That’s the simple rationale for why the federal government has continuously, since the Great Depression, passed some sort of agricultural support legislation.
Farmers, unlike say computer companies or automakers, can’t ramp up production when demand spikes and they can’t easily decrease their expenses when prices for their products drop. The crops need to be planted and tended to, the animals need to be fed, regardless of what the market is currently paying for their goods.
The U.S. is currently without a Farm Bill, a massive legislative package that includes financial support programs for farmers. The last one expired on Sept. 30, and has not been renewed by Congress.
Most farmers are not yet feeling the pinch, as most provisions of the expired Farm Bill remain in place until 2013. But a key Farm Bill program for small dairy farmers expired on Sept. 30, leaving them at the mercy of the volatile milk market.
The Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC, conveniently) program guaranteed small farmers a minimum price for their milk, no matter how low wholesale prices dropped. That program has expired and has not been replaced.
The program established a target price for milk, by taking into account things like the cost of feed for cows. If wholesale prices fell below that target price, the program reimbursed farmers a fraction of the difference.
A farm could collect payments only on its first 3 million pounds of milk produced each year (the approximate amount produced by 150 cows), so small farms, as opposed to large agribusinesses, were reaping most of the benefits.
Because his farm has 500 cows, Kilby was only eligible for MILC benefits a few months out of the year, but he still called the program “extremely valuable.” Kilby said that MILC functioned as an insurance blanket for farmers in case prices dropped unsustainably low.
“Speculators have gotten into the milk business, milk was the most speculated commodity last year,” Kilby said. “We have to take out insurance because we’re not eligible for MILC. Last year it cost us $40,000 to basically buy insurance for low milk prices. We feel we need to do that to protect our investment.”
“So it,” Kilby said, sighing dejectedly, “it seems like one thing after another.”
The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill contained a provision that limited speculation on 28 commodities, including milk, but the provision was thrown out in September after a court challenge by a group representing Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other banks.
For smaller farmers, the end of MILC poses an even bigger burden.
Jason Myers owns Windsor Manor Farm in New Windsor, Md. where he has a herd of 36 Holstein cows.
“It helped us a lot, being a small producer, we were able to use it on all our production,” Myers said. “If there’s no new Farm Bill to give us any help as far as pricing, especially with the high corn prices, we’ll just be at the mercy of hoping that the price of milk goes up.”
The expiration of MILC comes at an especially inopportune time, just as feed prices are near historic highs.
In 2011, feed costs accounted for 80 percent of the operating costs of dairy farms, according to USDA data.
“Feed that we get for our cows used to be $6,700 a load, it’s now $13,000 a load, and that’s every two weeks,” Kilby said.
From 1970 to 2005, feed corn prices averaged $2.27 per bushel. In 2012, they have averaged $7.90 per bushel, driven upwards by the emergence of the ethanol industry, and more recently, by the severe drought that hit the Midwest.
“I’m not quite sure whether the federal government has come to terms with this drought situation in the Midwest,” Kilby said. “It’s really going to cause a lot of misery for everyone.”
While feed prices have been soaring, milk prices have gone in the other direction. Average wholesale milk prices were two dollars less per hundredweight (a hundred pounds of milk) in September than they were one year ago, according to USDA data.
Bob Miller owns 45 Holsteins and operates Nice Farms Creamery in American Corner, Md. He sees the same problems as Kilby, but isn’t sure that MILC was a good solution.
“You’ve got farmers that are being paid prices for a hundredweight that just aren’t sustainable with feed and these things. The last time the dairy business was profitable was in the 70s and 80s,” Miller said. “We don’t need legislation, we just need fair prices. The actual problem (with MILC) is that it’s just pennies.”
Feed prices have slowly come down and milk prices have crept up since the depths of the summer drought. Whether that will be enough for small farmers without the help of MILC is in doubt.
“Farmers have been pretty much underwater since the beginning of 2012,” said Andrew Novakovic, a professor of agricultural economics at Cornell. “They hit their low point in July, and since July they’ve been moving up, but they’re actually still below water.”
The situation may remain difficult, however, for Maryland dairy farmers with less acreage who are forced to buy a lot of feed.
“If you’re in the Northeast or Northern Wisconsin you’re probably doing alright,” Novakovic said. “You’ve got a corn crop that you can harvest, you’ve got hay that you can cut, the price of milk is getting better, so you’re not in too bad shape. But if you’re in the part of the country where there was a bad drought or if you buy all your feed, you’re going into this fall in pretty rough shape.”
The irony is that if Congress does nothing, things will get much, much better for dairy farmers on Jan. 1. If there’s no Farm Bill legislation by then, agriculture policy will revert to an obscure 1949 law that sets prices for basic commodities at “parity” levels.
Prices for milk, wheat, and rice would double.
“It’s hard to imagine Congress would let something like that happen because it would just not be a good thing, but you know, who knows, maybe they will,” Novakovic said.
Pending versions of the Farm Bill contain two new programs that would replace MILC. One would attempt to limit the supply of milk on the market when prices get too low, and the other would function like crop insurance, providing payments to farmers when profit margins are unsustainably low.
But no one is quite sure when Congress may pass a Farm Bill or what programs will end up in the final version.
Matt Hoff owns Coldsprings Farm in Windsor, Md., where he has 800 cows. Because he has a fairly large farm, he only relied on MILC for a month or two every year. But he still worries about the void created by its absence.
“I just hope they get something in place before milk prices go back down,” Hoff said. “Congress has got to do some kind of Farm Bill by Jan. 1 or they go back to parity pricing which means we would get a huge amount of money for our milk, but then everything else would go through the roof too.”
Just as Maryland has allowed the global BIG MEAT like Perdue make subcontractors of all chicken farmers to their great impoverishment-----just as small agriculture in Maryland has been taken to global BIG AG with small farmers now basically sharecroppers-----so too is going our dairy farms to this same subservient status with GLOBAL BIG FOOD deciding all of where, when, how, and how much are food will be sold and even more of it is heading overseas to the rich of the world because they get more profit from it.
This is very serious stuff as we now worry about the same use of hormones and anti-biotics reaching our milk -----they say----NO, DON'T WORRY-----we say OH, REALLY??????????
‘America’s Industrial Dairy Wasteland’
By Door County Pulse, Peninsula Pulse – June 10th, 2015
Scott Dye, a Missouri farmer who works as a field coordinator for the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, said America’s Dairyland may soon have a new motto: America’s Industrial Dairy Wasteland.
Speaking at a press conference in Green Bay on June 10, Dye and Kewaunee Cares co-founder Lynn Utesch outlined ways in which state leaders and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have let its citizens down by allowing industrial-sized dairies – which go by the euphemism of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs – to pollute Kewaunee County and Lake Michigan by not regulating and enforcing CAFO operations.
“We should not mince words about this. This is nothing short of a public health emergency,” Dye said, adding that with 80,000 cows in the county, there are four cows to every resident of Kewaunee County, making it the densest cow concentration in the state. He added that with 16 CAFOs, Kewaunee County is second only to Brown County for the number of permitted industrial operations, but in Kewaunee County they are located on the fractured bedrock of the region, which has led to the contamination of a third of the county’s wells.
The press conference was held for the release of a 140-page report called “The Rap Sheets: Industrial Dairies of Kewaunee County – The Regulatory Failure of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, A Threat to Public Health and the Environment.”
Dye explained that the report represents more than a year of research.
“They are not our opinions,” Dye said of the contents. “They are verbatim copy from official DNR and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) documents” that show “a repeated pattern of an industry that has simply spiraled out of control and a state agency that has done nothing other than take occasional notes while raw manure continues to pour out of the CAFOs.”
Dye said the CAFO problem began in 2004 with the livestock siting law that gutted local control.
“This disastrous law must be repealed immediately,” he said.
Too often, he said, it is citizen complaints that alert the DNR to CAFO problems, rather than through DNR inspection, and those citizen complaints are “often met with open contempt by agency staff,” Dye said. “Reform must occur.”
He said the DNR must demand the personnel and financial resources to do the job that has been entrusted to the agency, with serious fines and penalties for persistent, repeat offenders. Too often, he said, government uses “all carrot and no stick” in dealing with CAFO operators.
Utesch said DNR leadership is negligent for knowing what is happening in Kewaunee County and not requesting funds or staff to deal with the problem of continued pollution of the aquifer.
“We need our political leaders to care,” he said. “The massive regulatory failure results in real people suffering with contaminated water. It’s time to start protecting the citizens rather than the polluters of our waters.”
As oversight and accountability was dismantled by Clinton/Bush/Obama in our Department of AG and
FDA---so to went oversight in dairy and milk production. Today we now have far worse problems as US milk is being exported to the rich of the world----and we are importing dairy from developing nations with even more problems in health and safety standards.
Again, this is all far-right Republican neo-liberal policy that has global corporate wealth and power as the goal----Clinton/Obama Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals working with Republicans to create this fresh food DISASTER in the US and it is coming to Maryland these several years.
'Death by Technology
Besides the cows, the milk factory has taken its toll on our nation's dairy farmers. Around 1970 there was an estimated 648,000 dairy farmers. Today they would number about 75,000'.
'For a look at how big agribiz uses its lawyers, money and threats against the media that might be inclined to show what is happening to our diary industry and its products, watch the embedded video below.
It reveals how FOX News was coerced into killing an investigative report into dairy industry that would have portrayed Monsanto in an unfavorable light'.
The Industrial Milk Factory
There is an Alternative
The public face of the modern milk factory is the picture of tranquility with happy cows lazing the day away. Just look at the California "happy cow" ads or check out all the milk posters now adorning every school cafeteria in the country.
Best of all, ask the American Dairy Association. Right, they will tell you how wonderful it is.
Dairy cows have it a lot rougher than beef cattle. They truly are production machinery and have a much longer, more miserable life than beef cattle. Being a dairy cow is no escape from the slaughter house, it just forestalls it until the milk stops flowing.
Come on, these are Milk Cows!
How bad can it be?
Just how bad is it for a dairy cow; say a Holstein-Friesian? Consider that dairy cows used to live somewhere between 17 and 20 years. Now they might live to the ripe old age of 5 if they are lucky then it's off to burgerville.
Why would a perfectly good cow be sent off to slaughter in just five years when they are supposed to live another 15 years? Of course the answer is overwork. Life expectancy in the Siberian gulags wasn't very long either.
Rising demand for milk at the end of the 19th century and into the 1900's caused dairy farmers to start looking for ways to squeeze more milk out of their cows. This was the advent of scientific milk production and the seed of the modern milk factory.
In the mid-1800s, the early Jersey cows weighed about 600 pounds, maybe 700, and produced around 28 quarts of milk a day. That is about 56 pounds.
Around 1975 through the magic of selective breeding and computerized feeding schedules that kept the cows slightly below their normal caloric intake, the Holstein-Friesian weighed in at 1,750 pounds and was putting out over 76 quarts a day.
Anne Mendelson, a free lance writer focusing on food and culinary history, in her article "The Milk of Human Unkindness", wrote that between 1960 and 2008 total U.S. milk production rose from 120 billion pounds to 190 billion pounds while the number of dairy cows shrank from 18 million animals to 8.5 million. So milk factory yield is up 2.5 times what it was 50 years ago.
Sick Cows: Milk Factory Diseases
The predictable result of this unnatural stress and less than optimal feeding was sickness. Ruminal acidosis, mastitis and laminitis are three such diseases inflected on cows by the milk factory.
Ruminal acidosis is ulceration of the rumen or first stomach chamber. As the ulcers penetrate the ruminal walls and infectious bacteria travels to the liver where deadly abscesses form. By-products travel to the interior of the hooves causing a painful inflammation called laminitis.
The huge forced output of milk also causes inflammation of the udders, a condition known as mastitis.
In the absence of visible signs, cows must be continually tested for rising white blood cells in the milk.
The only fix is to keep them pumped full of antibiotics until the condition abates. By law, milk contaminated by white somatic cells must be dumped until all signs of the infection are gone.
If that weren't torture enough, beginning around 1950, farmers began injecting their cows with bovine somatotropin (BST), a bovine growth hormone. Already over-stressed high milk producers were pushed even harder to produce even more. "Milk factory" is too kind a name to describe the modern way milk is brought to our store shelves.
At any rate, now we know why the lifespan of modern factory dairy cows is only five years. Got milk?
Death by Technology
Besides the cows, the milk factory has taken its toll on our nation's dairy farmers. Around 1970 there was an estimated 648,000 dairy farmers. Today they would number about 75,000.
Dairy farming used to be the most labor intensive type of agriculture. Now it is probably the most capital intensive with huge capital investments required to mechanize every step of the process. Upkeep and maintenance is a collateral expense of all that mechanized, computerized technology.
Higher milk production meant lower profit margins so naturally, the farmers thought that larger and larger herds was the answer. Originally small family farms had 8 or 10 milk cows then it went to 50 or 60 and by 1900 it was up to 100 cows per farm.
Technology and the quest for profits pushed the milk factory into the realm of the confined feeding operation or CAFO. Now we see 15,000 to 20,000 cows being milked on a typical California or Colorado dairy factory.
What about the animals? Who cares, they are expendable throwaways; just a cog in the great milk factory. So higher milk production still means higher costs which means lower profit margins, not to mention an unhealthy product.
Without the pasteurization, we would all get sick from drinking the white stuff that sort of resembles milk.
Is this a sustainable system? What do you think?
An Inside Look
The embedded video, courtesy of Farm Sanctuary, shows one side of life in an industrial milk machine. Watch it and then continue reading.
Moving on, if you want to find the Farm Sancturary video on milk factory farms online, it can be found at their website at:
Lobbyists, the Dairy Associations
and the USDA
Without a strong, well funded industry association, the lobbyists they hire to influence laws and regulations and a compliant government agency, the whole modern diary industry would have collapsed under its own weight years ago.
The National School Lunch Program
The National School Lunch Program is a great case study in how
dairy industry lobbyists work to shape well-intentioned government programs to provide a perpetual market for their client's product.
It is also a study in how they subvert the mission of the USDA and FDA and very effectively shut down small family dairy farms and criminalize the more healthy alternative to the milk factory output.
For starters, the school lunch program has no business being under the jurisdiction of the USDA. This agency with regulatory powers does not work for us or the kiddies in the classrooms.
It exists to protect industry, increase exports and make sure that nothing interferes with the interests of the National Dairy Council, National Milk Producers Federation or the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Jonathan Safran Foer, in his book "Eating Animals", suggests that the lunch program should be run by the National Institutes of Health since health is their business.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was born in 1946 under Harry Truman as the National School Lunch Act. It is a federal program to provide meals to qualifying children in both public and private non-profit schools on a cash reimbursement basis to the schools based on the number of meals served.
Ann Cooper Got it RightThere are minimum nutritional requirements to meet but specific food choices are left to the local school food authorities. The video below shows what one very influential school food administrator thinks about the National School Lunch Program.
Ann Cooper has a lot to say and if our national leaders pay attention to her concluding comments, we could probably balance the budget is short order. Watch the video.
Regarding the milk and dairy products in the school lunch program, the USDA has largely turned its policy making responsibilities over to the National Dairy Council and similar industry lobby and marketing organizations.
Most nutritional information disseminated by the USDA comes directly from the industries that run the factory farms and mega-dairies.
According to Erik Marcus in his 2005 book, "Meat Market" (Brio Press, Boston), in 2001 the NSLP paid $518 million for cheese, beef, eggs and poultry while spending only $161 million on fruit and vegetables.
Furthermore, he points out that the NSLP is nothing more than a dumping ground for "animal agriculture's excess capacity". Maybe yes, maybe no, but the appearance is certainly one of influence peddling and the shaping of nutritional policy in the schools based on sales of products rather than true health concerns.
It would seem to be a step in the right direction to move the NSLP to an agency whose charter is the health of the nation and one which could not be swayed by lobbying pressures.
IntimidationFor a look at how big agribiz uses its lawyers, money and threats against the media that might be inclined to show what is happening to our diary industry and its products, watch the embedded video below.
It reveals how FOX News was coerced into killing an investigative report into dairy industry that would have portrayed Monsanto in an unfavorable light.
Care to see what the Life of a Cow is like? It doesn't matter if it's a milk cow, beef steer or veal calf; it's not a pretty picture.
PETA did a brief infographic about the life of a cow in factory farms and factory dairies. Take a look and see if you still want to support this industry. Click on the link below the graphic to see the original at the PETA website.
Here you see back in 2005----during the Bush years as dairy industrialization was soaring----Ben and Jerry's of Vermont was that image of fresh local dairy with quality ingredients that filled our markets in the 1970s and 80s. Vermont and Bernie Sanders have REAL land conservation----real green environmental laws-----and lots of small farmers. Now, as with all local businesses that go national---Ben and Jerry's lost their purity on these issues-----they sold this corporation to someone else who may not be the same on issues of environment but they have remained true to educating on fresh food, organics, and fought for small farmers just as a Willie Nelson does out west.
This is why I feel Bernie Sanders is really connected to building a local fresh food economy and will fight to protect small farmers and push against GLOBAL BIG AG AND BIG MEAT.
October 17, 2005 09:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Ben & Jerry's Sows Fresh Campaign to Help Small-Scale Family Farms; New Ad Aims to Support and Raise Awareness of the Plight of Smaller Family Farms
BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 17, 2005--"Business has a responsibility to the community and the environment" is Ben & Jerry's mantra and the company is putting its money where its mouth is. Ben & Jerry's is debuting a powerful, issue-oriented television ad tackling the issue of the rapid disappearance of America's farms.
Beginning on October 17, the commercial, highlighting the struggles of small-scale family farming in the face of the growth of industrial agriculture, will air on network and cable television during early morning, primetime, late night and access programs. The campaign was created by Amalgamated in New York and shot by Jake Scott, who has directed videos for several bands including REM, U2 and Radiohead. The campaign will air in eight key markets - Boston; Burlington, Vermont; Denver; New York; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Seattle and Washington, DC - though November.
“Business has a responsibility to the community and the environment”
The ad features Mike Eastman, a first-generation Vermont dairy farmer, and communicates the message that America loses 330 farms every week due in large part to the proliferation of industrial agriculture, encroaching urban development and other economic shifts in agriculture.
With this ad, Ben & Jerry's is asking viewers to log on to www.benjerry.com/familyfarms to find timely action steps to take on behalf of small and mid-sized family farms. Consumers can ask Congress to further national farmer-friendly legislation, through vehicles such as the 2007 Farm Bill, to protect small and mid-sized farms while slowing the expansion of industrial farming.
The most immediate step consumers can take is to send a personalized letter to their representatives urging support for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC). This program, which helps dairy farmers survive during lean times, expired on September 30, 2005. Ben & Jerry's and the National Farmers Union have embarked on this collaborative effort to extend the MILC program and are urging both producers and consumers to help send this message to Congress.
"These ads aren't about selling ice cream," said Walt Freese, Ben & Jerry's CEO. "We're trying to initiate public dialogue about the fact that small and mid-size family farms are in danger of disappearing. We think Ben & Jerry's consumers care about this issue as much as we do, so we're using our marketing dollars to encourage them to tell Congress that smaller family farms are important to a diverse food supply."
According to the USDA, the total number of US farms has declined from about 7 million in the 1930s to just over two million in 2003. At the same time, the number of industrial-sized farms continues to grow and government incentives continue to favor them.
"Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield built Ben & Jerry's on the idea that business should play a central role in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally," said Dave Stever, Ben & Jerry's Marketing Director. "Ben & Jerry's is a long-time supporter of small-scale family farms. We're especially proud of our 20-year relationship with the 500 family farmers of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery in Vermont."
Ben & Jerry's uses St. Albans' milk and cream in its ice cream flavors and pays a premium for the farmers' pledge not to treat cows with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a synthetic hormone that increases cows' milk production. While rBGH is commonly used elsewhere in the dairy industry, Ben & Jerry's believes it is a step in the wrong direction toward a synthetic, chemically-intensive food supply.
The company has launched a number of initiatives over the years to support small to mid-size family farms and sustainable practices in the dairy sector, specifically the Vermont Dairy Stewardship Alliance, the Vermont Dairy Farm Sustainability Project and the Caring Dairy Program in Europe, all of which focus on sustainable agriculture and the support of small-scale farms.
"The introduction of our line of organic ice cream and our commitment to natural ingredients speaks to our engagement with the cause of sustainable agriculture. We also recently switched the coffee extract in all our coffee flavors to Fair Trade Certified, adding an extra layer of assurance that we're supporting smaller family farms in developing countries by guaranteeing a fair wage," said Yola Carlough, Ben & Jerry's Social Mission Director. "These efforts alone won't save small-scale family farms, but they are an important way to put our values into action."
Ben & Jerry's has engaged with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) as its content partner to develop this campaign and enrich its understanding of small-scale farming and sustainable agriculture. UCS is a nonprofit partnership of scientists and citizens making great strides in the way humanity perceives its role as steward of the earth and investigating topics related to protecting and improving the health of our environment.
For more information about Ben & Jerry's initiative to help small to mid-size family farms, visit www.benjerry.com/familyfarms.
About Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using dairy products from a Vermont dairy cooperative and high-quality ingredients. The company is committed to using milk and cream from cows that have not been treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH, and states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry's products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues.
Ben & Jerry's, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part mission statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry's contributes a minimum of $1.1 million annually through corporate philanthropy that is primarily employee led. Contributions made via the Ben & Jerry's Foundation in 2004 totaled over $1.2 million. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits both in Vermont and across the nation. The purpose of Ben & Jerry's philanthropy is to support the founding values of the company: economic and social justice, environmental restoration and peace through understanding, and to support our Vermont communities. For the full scoop on all Ben & Jerry's fabulous flavors, visit www.benjerry.com.
Now, this is when you have really failed in economic and development policy and this is all of what Wall Street Baltimore Development and a very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Baltimore as an International Economic Zone with global corporate campuses is about. As you see these neighbors---which unlike underserved communities usually being killed by this global corporate development are affluent Baltimore citizens and they are shouting----THERE GOES THE GREENBELT---and guess what? Want to bet Plank is going to use all that acreage as a GENTLEMAN FARMER with his own fresh food crops and don't think he would build anything useful in Baltimore as regards fresh food. Food Exports for sure.
'“It’s having a huge impact on par with the construction of the Baltimore Beltway,” said Doug Carroll, who lives on Greenspring Valley Road near the Plank construction site, of the caravan of large dump trucks that have driven up and down the winding two-lane road for hours each day. The trucks are carting what Carroll estimates to be 65,000 square feet of soil off the property to clear way for the estate'.
HOTEL CYLBURN TO THE RIGHT OF US AND PLANK TO THE LEFT AND THESE NEIGHBORS ARE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE ------I see serfs toiling in this area soon----wait----that is where they are moving affordable housing under the guise they are integrating low-income housing in wealthy communities!
See why only the establishment candidates are allowed in major election venues and media tied to Baltimore Development and its International Economic Zone Master Plan----they all love Plank and UnderArmour!
Neighbors Wary of Kevin Plank’s Plans to Build a Colossal Estate2 Written by: The Eds. | Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015 2:16pm
The Baltimore Business Journal today posted a story on Kevin Plank’s plans to build a new mansion on 65 acres in the Green Spring Valley. The piece was written by Melody Simmons, and Baltimore Fishbowl Editor Susan Dunn contributed to the report. The piece is excerpted below.
This fall, as the last brittle leaves rattle off trees in Brooklandville, some who live there say the pristine vista is being marred by a shocking sight.
Under Armour Inc. CEO Kevin Plank has started construction on an uber-mansion that will span 34,523 square feet on 65 acres at the gateway to Baltimore County’s rural and historic Green Spring Valley.
The structure will have a footprint the size of a football field, a detached four-car garage and a 10-foot retaining wall out front, according to county records filed under Three Diamond Land LLC, a private corporation formed in 2010 based at Under Armour’s headquarters in Locust Point.
Also included in the plans for the sprawling, eight-bedroom house — soon be among the largest in Maryland: A mega basement with a wet bar, elevator shaft, a two-floor open deck, an indoor pool and four fireplaces. It will be designed by Ike Kligerman Barkley, a New York-based architectural firm.
“The house is being designed to blend tastefully with the landscape and the character of the valley,” said Tom Geddes, managing partner of Plank Industries, in an email. Plank Industries is the holding company for Plank’s growing interests outside of Under Armour (NYSE: UA).
Some would consider Plank’s budding estate a dream house, part of a national trend where the hyper-rich are building colossal mansions that make a statement. The founder of the Baltimore-based sportswear company has legally and correctly filed for and been granted demolition and construction permits, county officials say, and all of his plans are in order.
But not to his neighbors.
To them, the project is already overpowering the surrounding community, with about 500 acres nearby held in easement to preserve the rural character in the county.
“It’s having a huge impact on par with the construction of the Baltimore Beltway,” said Doug Carroll, who lives on Greenspring Valley Road near the Plank construction site, of the caravan of large dump trucks that have driven up and down the winding two-lane road for hours each day. The trucks are carting what Carroll estimates to be 65,000 square feet of soil off the property to clear way for the estate.
“It’s absolutely legal — but the questions is, should it be legal? This is a new way of being impacted.”
Carroll and his wife, Deirdre Smith, have been activists for land and historic preservation in the Green Spring Valley for years.
Their property totals 100 acres and is near Meadowood Regional Park just off of Interstate 695. Much of it is preserved under an easement with the Maryland Environmental Trust, permanently freezing its rural vista from development.
Hundreds of other property owners — including local developer David Cordish — have also taken an easement on their properties in the valley as well, and are proud to say that the landscape there looks like it did 100 years ago.
Carroll said this week that Plank — a self-made billionaire — is getting the benefits of the work they had done over the past three decades to save the landscape.
“We have done a lot to save the land for people like Kevin who may want to live here,” he said. “He has an obligation to the area. His view from his new house will all be land we’ve saved. He’s taking advantage of the view — and creating a reverse impact.”
Geddes said Plank is in the process of placing a conservation easement on the entire 65-acre site “to preserve the rural land and water quality, air quality, land and soil stability and productivity and wildlife.” He said the mansion is for the sole use of the Plank family, and that no Under Armour or other company entertaining or client lodging will occur there.
Plank’s project, Carroll added, is “the talk of the valley” because of its size, scope and potential stormwater runoff problem because of the vast space of land now being cleared for the mansion.
One community member recently hired a drone operator to fly over the site to take photographs so residents could get a first glimpse of the construction site that they had only been aware of by the noise and traffic congestion. The photos revealed a huge swath of land surrounded by trees, cleared and already being graded for the estate.
The Plank project is zoned RC-2, which is one of the most restrictive zoning designations in the U.S. It specifies one house built per 50 acres and has been used for years in the valley and northern parts of the county to retain a rural and pristine landscape. Efforts about a decade ago to try to restrict the size of residential building to 10,000 square feet in the RC-2 zone failed to pass through the County Council, Carroll said.
“For the same money he’s spending on that house, he could have bought several houses around here and preserved them,” Carroll said.
In fact, Plank demolished a historic house on the property on his way to clearing the land for his estate.
The house, known locally as Knollwood and the “Bunting House,” was an elegant three-story valley mansion built in 1887. It was razed under a permit this past year, county records show.
Geddes said Plank donated some of the Knollwood scraps to Second Chance, a Baltimore nonprofit.
“Kevin’s acquisition of this land has ensured that it will remain open and rural forever, and the house will occupy only a small percentage of the site and will be largely out of view, thanks to the many trees on the property to which they have added a good number,” Geddes said.
It is not Plank’s only recent foray into real estate.
This year, Plank revealed that he had spent millions to buy close to 200 acres along the city’s waterfront in Port Covington for a new campus for Under Armour, which is currently landlocked in Locust Point. He also broke ground recently on a large rye whiskey distillery in Port Covington.
Plank also owns and has restored the 530-acre Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, about 10 miles away from the Brooklandville site. The farm is used for breeding thoroughbred race horses. The land, formerly owned by Alfred G. Vanderbilt III, was placed in a conservation easement prior to Plank’s purchase of it in 2007.
Plank also has supported land preservation efforts in Baltimore County — recently allowing a fundraiser to be held at Sagamore Farm to benefit the Valleys Planning Council, a nonprofit conservation group based in Towson.
Nevertheless, the size and scope of the area’s newest estate has Smith wondering about conservation and its carbon footprint impact.
“This house is blurring the line between commercial and residential,” she said.
Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, who represents the 2nd District where the Plank mansion is to be located, said she has heard complaints from constituents about the Plank mansion project and its scope for months.
“I understand the complaints of the neighbors, but basically, the bottom line is he has the right to do what he’s doing there,” Almond said. “And as long as his permits are in order, I think we just need to welcome him to the neighborhood.
“I can’t imagine he’s not going to be a good neighbor.”