OCT. 9, 2002, CropChoice
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.