OCT. 9, 2002,
News: Keith Dittrich, president of the
American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn
farmer from Tilden, Neb., today revealed that the disparities
in CEO compensation, when compared to the incomes of
ordinary American workers, extends well past the financial,
communications and manufacturing sectors.
"It has been reported by several news organizations
the that annual compensation of current CEO of ConAgra
Foods Inc. exceeded $11 million. That is about equal
to the combined average net income from farming operations
for farm households that will be realized by over 3,300
American farmers this year. We are not opposed to anyone
making a decent living, but when the average American
farm household can expect less than $10 a day this year
for their labor, management and investment, we must
ask where are the priorities of this nation?"
According to reports by the Associated Press, ConAgra's
CEO, Bruce Rhode, made four times more in total compensation
this year than last. ConAgra's profits reportedly increased
by 23 percent over the same period. "While at the
same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected
a 21-percent decrease in net farm income this year and
the net income for farm households from on-farm sources
is projected to be $3,274 - or about $8.97 per day."
Citing an economic analysis by Dr. Daryll E. Ray, Institute
of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Dittrich said
that, in constant dollars, 2002 would be the third worst
year for the farm economy in 68 years. "Only twice
since 1934 has net farm income been this bad, and that
is just the forecast. I predict the situation could be
much worse, especially for farmers and ranchers facing
natural disasters for the second year in a row."
"This is why we need Congress to pass, and President
Bush to enact, disaster relief for America's farm families
prior to the Congressional election recess," said
Dittrich. "We urge swift action on HR 5383, the 'Emergency
Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2002.' This important
legislative initiative would provide for emergency assistance
for crop losses incurred due to drought and other natural
disasters during both the 2001 and 2002 crop years, including
devastating quality losses such as aflatoxin in this year's
corn in multiple geographic locations."
The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000
members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org.