Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boyda's Atchison Visit Gets Farmers Thinking

Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's recent stop in Atchison, Kansas for one of the many Congress on your Corner meetings she's been holding in the district, garnered a number of questions from local farmers.

Fluctuating prices for American farmers was a concern for several in attendance, to which Rep. Boyda shared her thoughts.

Although prices are currently high, Rep. Boyda reminded the community members that it could change quickly and have a drastic effect on farmers.

"If someone's going to make some money, I'm OK with it being Midwest farmers," Rep. Boyda said.
The conversation then turned to recent developments in beef industry acquisitions that could influence the bottom line for local Kansas ranchers.

Boyda "is concerned about a merger in progress that could make Brazil a powerhouse in the American meat market.

JBS SA, Brazil's leading meat packer, is buying out several companies in America, including National Beef, Smithfield Beef and Five Rivers Ranch Cattle, the largest cattle feeding company in the world.

Totaling $1.7 billion in acquisitions, it will allow JBS SA to slaughter 50 percent more cattle a day than its closest competitor, Tyson.

The Brazilian company is currently facing the Justice Department concerning the merger.

"Someone has to stand up and say, we have to change these things," Rep. Boyda said."
Local attendants were grateful for the opportunity to have questions answered and address concerns with Rep. Boyda and many stayed after for additional inquiries.

"I appreciated the way she responded to questions that were negative without confrontation," said Atchison resident Merry Carroll.

Ms. Carroll was in attendance to listen on matters of bureaucracy and immigration. As a special education teacher in Leavenworth county, Ms. Carroll said she sees the problems immigrants face: families being separated, children being abandoned and no income to support themselves.

She said she was concerned about there being a better way to handle these issues.

"There's so much fear going on, we just need to see the reality," Ms. Carroll said. "You'd be surprised at how hard working most of these people are, they're trying to do their part."

Ms. Carroll was one of several who remained after the open forum to discuss their thoughts in one-on-one sessions with Rep. Boyda.

Community members also spoke to Rep. Boyda individually about veterans' affairs, stem-cell research and Medicare.

Rep. Boyda said she was pleased that so many came to share their thoughts, it would be helpful for her efforts in the district.

"That's why we do this," Rep. Boyda said. "We can discuss it, and go in a positive direction."

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