The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 15, 1971, Page PAGE 5, Image 5

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    (Dip
Dear editor,
The comments in the Dec. 9
issue of The Daily Nebraskan
by James G. Kendrick,
professor of of agricultural
economics, suggest that some of
the remarks attributed to me
recently in a story (The Daily
Nebraskan, Dec. 3) need
clarification.
Among other things, I
attempted to stress that the
farmer typically operates in
markets dominated by large
corporations, both with respect
to the things he buys and the
sale of his products.
Some data from the
Subcommittee on Antitrust
and Monopoly of the U.S.
Senate show, for example, that
in the manufacture of
breakfast cereals the eight
largest firms accounted for 96
per cent of the industry
output; in flour milling 50 per
cent of output is concentrated
in the eight largest firms; and
in the manufacture of farm
machinery and equipment the
eight largest firms are
responsibile for 59 per cent of
output.
Food processing, like other
sectors of the economy, has
. been caught up in the most
extensive merger movement in
our history, a development
fraught with grave danger both
for political democracy and the
free market system.
The matter of corporate
farming is more complicated.
As an agriculturali economist I
trust Mr. Kendrick is not so
jninformed that he does not
understand that most farmers
and farm organizations use the
term "corporate farming" to
mean the takeover of farming
by giant "agribusiness"
corporations. If he doesn't, I
suggest that he talk with a few
Nebraska farmers.
The issue is not the use of
the corporate form of business
organization for a small
family-owned operation. No
one, obviously, sees this facet
of the corporation in
agriculture as the major
problem. Though Mr. Kendrick
no doubt views "agribusiness"
in benign fashion, to the
farmer.it frequently appears as
a threatening combination of
highly organized national food
chains, corporate giants in the
food processing industry, and
conglomerates seeking new
fields to conquer.
The tenor of Mr. Kendrick's
response tells us a great deal
about why the ordinary
farmer's distrust of the USDA
and many agricultural
economists has become almost
total. Instead of addressing
himself to the farmer's genuine
unease about the corporate
threat, Mr. Kendrick cites an
array of statistics-from USDA
of course -to show that all is
really well in Nebraska and the
great plains. The farmer's fear
does not stem from the current
proportion of agricultural
output under corporate
control, but what the future
portends.
What they see on the
horizon is the threat of a
totally integrated
land-to-market production of
food by the agribusiness giants
in the food processing
industry. What Ralston Purina
and others have already done
in owning, feeding, and
processing poultry for sale to
supermarkets can easily be
duplicated for other types of
agricultural production. The
farmer knows he is being
crushed and forced into a
sharecropper's role in which his
main function is to supply
cheap raw mateials for the
giant processors.
In other parts of the nation
the threat of a corporate
takeover is real. Sen. Adlai
Stevenson II, Chairman of the
Senate Subcommittee on
Migratory Labor, recently
stated, "In California. . .3.7
million acres of farmland are
now owned by 45 corporate
farms; one corporation,
Tenneco, controls more than a
million acres in California.
Nearly half the agricultural
land in that state is owned by a
tiny fraction of the population.
. .More than half the land area
of the state of Maine is owned
by about 12 corporations. . ."
Perhaps Mr. Kendrick will
dismiss Sen. Stevenson's
concerns as "political
emotionalism" unrelated to the
real needs of a modern
agriculture. If he would listen a
bit, he would also learn that
rural Nebraska is rife with
rumors and reports about land
acquisition in the state by large
owners, corporate and
otherwise. Some hard research
on this issue would be of more '
social value than continuing to
tell farmers they would be
better off if they did
something else.
And this brings me to the
real issue of agricultural policy
today. And that, simply, is
whether the trends of the last
few decades shall be allowed to
continue until all of rural
America becomes an empty
wasteland, drained of most
people farmers, small
businessess, and small towns.
Much of the bitter reaction to
the Butz appointment came
from the belief that he belongs
to that genre of agricultural
economist who never sees the
problem in terms of human
beings with their hopes and
fears, but simply one of
"resource use" and market
forces to which the farmer
ought to adjust. Well, Nebraska
farmers and small businessmen
are bitterly resentful of being
the sacrificial goat on the alter
of impersonal economic
efficiency. A modern
agricultural policy demands
that first and foremost there be
a commitment to halting these
trends, rather than simply a
rationalization for them. If this
is political emotionalism, so be
it.
Wallace C. Peterson
Dear editor,
The one thing that seems so
clear to Gary Seacrest (The
Daily Nebraskan, Dec. 9) is not
so clear to others. The Board
of Regents took their action
concerning student fees in light
of 'a pending legal suit filed
against them. This suit, filed by
students, challenges the
concept of mandatory student
fees.
These mandatory fees,
whether controlled by the
Regents or the "student
- Brevity in letters is requested and the
Daily Nebraska reserves the right to
condense letters. All letters must be
accompanied by writer's true name but
may be submitted for publication under
a pen name or initials. However, letters
will be printed under a pen name or
initials at the editor's discretion.
establishment," are a
tremendous setback to the
concept of self-determination.
If programs do, in fact, benefit
students, they will be
voluntarily supported. We
don't need the Regents or the
Union clique telling us what's
good for us.
"Greater control of student
fees by students. . .", means
control by a certain group and
it makes little difference which
group that is, they're all
equally obnoxious. The present
system has failed so miserably
that it has forced some
students to go out and raise
money for legal action.
ASUN? No, Virginia there is
no ASUN! The only question,
with regard to that group that
claims it represents the
Associated Students of the
University of Nebraska, is
whether it will collapse
internally before external
actions being conducted in the
courts cause its demise.
To defend the World in
Revolution Conference on the
grounds that "any attempt to
squelch the World in
Revolution Conference would
be a violation of the rights of
freedom of speech and
assembly as well as the
principle . of academic
freedom," shows that Mr.
Seacrest is ignorant of the basis
for the- law suits. The essence
of these suits is that madatory
student fees are a violation of
the rights of freedom of speech
and assembly. Those that think
academic freedom has been
violated had better find out
what academic freedom is.
It will be a dangerous
precedent if the Regents decide
what information and speakers
the students will be allowed to
hear. It was a dangerous
precedent when they allowed a
situation whereby a small
group of students could decide
what information and speakers ,
we would be allowed to hear.
Bob Vlasak
Dear editor,
The critics of the Young
Republican registration drive
are starting to sound a little
hoarse. Some try, very hard, to
blame the non-success of the
League of Young Voters' drive
solely on the failure of the
Young Republicans (20-some
members at the time) to
endorse it.
Individuals in YR were
encouraged to work on the
drive, and did--a fact that
critics ignore. We also decided
to make the additional,
separate effort, to register
Republicans.
We grant Roy Baldwin the
right to support Muskie. May
we have the same right to work
for the GOP?
Unlike some workers for
Democratic candidates, we did
not attempt to interject
partisan campaigns into the
drive. We, at least, respected its
expressed desire to remain
non-partisan, so that we've
been somewhat surprised to
find it contradicting itself, and
firing at us for messing it up!
And as for the implications
that we wanted to hamper
young voter registration
because "everyone knows
young people are Democrats,"
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
the latest figures (from
Democratic State Party
Headquarters, even) show 54.7
per cent of 18-20 year-olds
registered Democrat, 45.3 per
cent Republican-ahead of the
national average for all ages.
Also, the very early returns
from the dorm survey show the
Republicans leading a little bit.
Hindering registration is the
last thing we want to do) But
we do choose to work in the
GOP, to help it be more
effective, and we demand
freedom to do so.
Matt Bosley
Mary Cannon
John Vihstadt
Dear editor,
In the article "Foriegn
Morality" (The Daily
Nebraskan, Dec. 9), Tom
Braden, commenting on the
Nixon Administration's role in
the India-Pakistan war, asks
why "we should back a
dictator in Pakistan against the
only democracy in the East ?"
He also asks why "should we
back a dictator who is certain
to lose?"
As for the "only democracy
in the East," Mr. Nixon should
know that it is only a matter of
time when she will become an
even bigger democracy. In
1947 she made Junagarh a part
of her democracy, in 1948
Hyderabad and Kashmir were
made democratic and then in
1961 Goa was made
Democratic. The last in the
series looks like East Pakistan.
Because India is the "only
democracy in the East," does
she have the right to change all
other nondemocratic nations
into democratic ones,
particularly when she has the
power of Russia behind her?
Malik M. Ahmad
Dear editor,
I read with great interest
your recent articles concerning
'199 courses and the proposed
American Studies major. It
should be pointed out,
however, that a program that
allows a student to design his
or her own major has been in
existence in the College of Arts
and Sciences for two years-the
Integrated Studies option.
The variety of
undergraduate programs
possible under Integrated
Studies far exceeds that
possible under the proposed
American Studies major. A
great strength of the American
Studies proposal, however, is
that it may open an Integrated
Studies type opportunity in
other colleges of the
University.
In practice, students
regularly use the 199 numbers
to do original research or study
for the purpose of tying their
formal Integrated Studies
coursework together in a
manner meaningful to them.
The policy of virtually
college-wide independent
study, even for freshmen,
under an easily-recognized
number such as 199, is, like
Integrated Studies, an Arts and
Sciences first.
You are to be commended
for your fine coverage of the
academic aspects of University
life, including the series on
reform. We would appreciate
it, however, if you would also
remember to remind your
readers that the College of Arts
and Sciences is already years
ahead of them in many ways,
in the area of academic reform,
and that the College of Arts
and Sciences will continue to
be the source of major
curricular directions, regardless
of the activities of other groups
on campus.
John Janovy, Jr.
Assistant Dean of
Arts and Sciences
Dear editor,
Ron Kurtenbach, in his
guest opinion column
published in the Dec. 9 issue of
The Daily Nebraskan, wrote a
paper very well-fitting a
student working in English.
However, in one aspect his
article is definitely lacking,
that of word choice. He used
obscenities where they were
completely unneeded. This use
of obscenities shows one of
two things: (1) he does not
have sufficient vocabulary to
avoid the use of profanity, or
(2) he uses obscenity to add
force to his arguments, much
as a six-year-old might.
Wayne Stuenkel
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1971
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