Posted on

Executive & Investor Compensation in the Food Chain

Tyson_Trailer

Touch the Soil News #820 (Feature photo – F. Bowen – CCA SA 4.0 International) Recently, Tyson Foods issued a press release that is worthy of noting. Tyson Foods is the world’s second largest meat processor just behind JBS SA. As we have mentioned in earlier stories, JBS SA is selling off assets to pay for its prolific use of bribing public officials. Tyson may soon be #1. Tyson announced that in order to stay “financially fit” it must continue to streamline operations and, among other things, eliminate 450 more jobs. Over the past three years (2014, 2015, 2016), Tyson’s top five executives received total compensation of $105 million dollars…

Read more

Posted on

Disposable Jobs & Unsafe Food?

Female_Burger_King_employee_Suvarnabhumi_Airport_Thailand

Touch the Soil News #750 (feature photo – A Fast Food Employee – CC SA 3.0) As we’ve always said, the food chain is ripe with insights about ourselves and the economy. The restaurant business is considered part of the larger “hospitality” industry that includes lodging and resorts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that annual employee turnover rates in the restaurants and accommodations sector peaked in 2007 at a whopping 80.7 percent. It is hard to imagine the training and learning challenges of an industry in which almost 81 employees out of a 100 at the beginning of the year will leave for a number of reasons. The…

Read more

Posted on

What Will $1 Billion Buy?

pricechopperbridlewoodmall

Touch the Soil News #559 For starters, it might buy you a grocery chain of 134 stores with 24,000 employees (The Price Chopper grocery chain in New York). Albertson’s grocery stores (2,205 locations and 164,000 employees) recently said it has been in advanced talks with the owners of Price Chopper to buy the whole chain for about $1 billion. Price Chopper is owned by the Golub Corporation – a family enterprise that got into the grocery business in 1932. Different from other grocery stores, Price Chopper phased out the sale of tobacco products in all of its stores some two years ago. The store has also been trying to become…

Read more

Posted on

Seeds of a Different Economic Order?

257px-tulsaoklahomaseal_svg

Touch the Soil News #537 Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews has a problem. His small voter district( #11 in northern Tulsa, Oklahoma) is mostly a food desert. Many of his constituents have limited or no access to fresh produce and meats. Ditto for 32 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Kevin Matthews’ district #11 – an area of approximately 70,000 people – has financial and economic shortcomings – affordability and ready access to food have been compromised. Matthews is exploring the possibility of creating an urban farming system that bypasses the grocery stores that financially cannot come into the area. He has raised the topic in the State Senate and is now…

Read more

Posted on

The Food Chain Is Flirting With a Not-For-Profit Landscape

800px-Michelle_Obama_breaks_ground_on_White_House_Kitchen_Garden_3-20-09_1

Touch the Soil News #385 Hundreds of NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) around the world continue attacking the industrial “for-profit” food chain. And it doesn’t look like they are going to stop anytime soon. The indiscriminations arising out of for-profit corporate models – span everything from cost, environmental exploitation, toxicity, loss of diversity and failure to deliver health. The issues are not going away. Now national governments are singing similar tunes. In a recent Kelp4Less news piece #376 (posted 5/9/2016), the nation of Brazil has rang the alarm bell about farming with toxic chemicals and how GMOs drive that problem. Brazil has the highest per-capita use of pesticides in the world.…

Read more

Posted on

The Food Chain – A Landscape of Power Struggles (Part 2 of 2)

NYSE

Touch the Soil News #365 While it is not common knowledge, many of the struggles hitting the media headlines over food and food employees are also agitating within corporate structures. It is not uncommon for stockholders to express social justice changes to the board of directors – Tyson Foods not being spared the internal controversy. What is interesting are the types of shareholder proposals that come up in a company like Tyson Foods. Called the “Proxy Statement,” public companies use this document to communicate company issues and items stockholders need to vote on. In the most recent Tyson Foods “2015 Proxy Statement” several shareholder proposals came up. In each of…

Read more

Posted on

The Food Chain – A Landscape of Power Struggles (Part 1 of 2)

NYSE

Touch the Soil News #364 We perceive the 2016 Presidential Election to be important – because we believe whoever is President will have great power over our future. However, is it possible there are powers as strong as political power? Powers that – in addition to control over food – exert influence on the political system. Is there evidence of this power? Consider what happens when consumers want something better out of the food chain. To get change, people must employ protests, boycotts, letters and smoozing politicians – which can take years even decades to get action. The opposition to positive change is tremendously powerful. Consider how long folks have…

Read more

Posted on

The Financialization of the Food Chain

Fight

Touch the Soil News #338 Years ago, there was a time when most people had a hand in raising their food. Now, with steady migrations towards cities and mega-metropolis’, food has become a virtual reflection of the financial system. Access to food is essentially the story of access to dollars. The triumphs and failures of the financial system – which to a large degree determines the volume and placement of dollars – are reflected in the food chain. Back in 2012, a group of fast food workers congregated to tell their stories and woes: 1) Taking the subway to work only to be sent home before a shift started. 2)…

Read more

Posted on

Sysco – What Is the Food Chain For?

2008-07-24_International_truck_docked_at_Duke_Hospital_South_2

Touch the Soil News #330 Most of us have seen the Sysco trucks as they supply the restaurants we go to. But what is the rationale or mindset behind Sysco being the world’s largest food-service distributor with a global supply chain spanning 40 countries. Is it a productive mindset? In a letter to stockholders from Sysco’s 2015 Annual Report, Bill Delaney (CEO) and Jackie Ward (Chairman of the Board) explain why Sysco exists. Following are a few excerpts of that letter: “We see significant potential to improve our productivity and reduce costs throughout our supply chain organization and in the administrative areas of our business.” “…. invest in our business…

Read more

Posted on

Economies are Complicated – But Raising Your Own Food Cannot Happen Overnight

coat_of_arms_of_venezuela_1954-2006_svg_

Touch the Soil News #317 The economics of food are quite simple. You have to have something to sell (your labor or a product) so you can translate what you have into dollars. Once you have the dollars, you can then buy food. This plan, however, is fraught with danger. Financial shenanigans, currency speculation, currency devaluations and commodity speculation can turn a simple plan into a national nightmare. There is no nation that isn’t at some level of economic danger due to an inability to adequately incorporate its citizenry into the economy and in a stable way. In the spotlight is Venezuela – a nation of 31 million people who…

Read more