Friday, November 16, 2007

What's the Story With Country Natural Beef?

By Brian Rohter

Some of you may have heard about the recent dispute between the United Farm Workers and Beef Northwest Feeders. New Seasons Market is not a party in the dispute. We have a great deal of respect for both the United Farm Workers and Beef Northwest Feeders.

Beef Northwest Feeders provides the gathering lot services for several area cattle ranches including Country Natural Beef, the co-op of Eastern Oregon ranch families who supply our stores with some of the beef we sell. The cattle spend about 90 days at a gathering feed lot where they are fed a vegetarian ration of cooked potatoes, alfalfa and corn. Other cows that are not a part of the Country Natural Beef program come to this lot as well, however Country Natural Beef cows are strictly segregated from other cattle.

If a Country Natural Beef animal needs to receive medication, it is removed from the Country Natural Beef program. John Wilson, the managing partner of Beef Northwest Feeders is also a long time member of Country Natural Beef. We’ve known John for many years and have found him to be an honest and honorable man. The folks at Country Natural Beef (also called Oregon Country Beef) have unequivocally assured us that none of the animals in their care were a part of recent FDA findings associated with Beef Northwest Feeders – please visit the Country Natural Beef website for information about this issue. The United Farms Workers mission is to “provide farm workers and other working people with the inspiration and tools to share in society's bounty.” They were founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez and are the nation's first successful and largest farm workers union. Over the past 40 years the efforts of the United Farm Workers have made a significant improvement in the lives of many of the families of our nation’s agricultural workers. In regard to employee relations, the United Farm Workers and Beef Northwest Feeders have different perspectives about what is taking place. We have no way of knowing who is right or wrong and expect that, as is usually the case, there are probably some grades of gray in the argument. We are hopeful that these two fine organizations will resolve their differences quickly and fairly. For more information please contact Beef Northwest Feeders or the United Farm Workers.