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Dear Friends:

Last night I went to my own grocery store in Abilene, Kansas. West's IGA. I went to the meat counter and asked the lady placing cuts of meat on the counter where it came from. She looked at me like I was crazy. Then, I asked her if the beef and chicken was from Tyson Foods. She said some was, some was from other packing companies. Then she called the owner/manager of the store, who came back to talk to me. We traded conversation and I was told some of the beef was from Tyson, some from Excel (this was all Fresh cuts) and the chicken they had was from Tecumseh, Nebraska. (There aren't many chickens, to my knowledge even grown in that area).

I asked how they priced their meat, to which he replied, "We mark try to mark our product up 25%. To which I replied, I wished I could guarantee myself a 25% return on all the livestock I used to produce. He laughed. I didn't. I asked him how much he paid his help. $6.00 an hour was the answer. Then he said maybe I had better leave.

Well, folks, I have traded at his store for over 25 years....and I only asked a couple of questions about how his store obtained the product they sell, where it came from, and how prices were figured. To be treated like I was treated, last night, has me so hoppin ticked off, I am about to blow my stack.

In fact, when I think about the 25% mark-up over-and-above AWG's invoices he receives (AWG is the wholesale co-op for nearly all the grocers in this part of central U.S), and to think of how many times this money is turned over in the course of a least ten times for fresh meat, and that may be's no wonder a livestock producer, trying to feed a pen of cattle or raise some hogs has such low income. A producer just can't do that, like a retailer can. My grocer asked me to leave, and I did.

But this isn't over, yet.

Burkie in Kansas

P.S. He couldn't tell me where any of his meat actually CAME FROM!!!!!!!