“Waste not, want not” and “Leave no neighbor behind.”

The first saying was from my Scotch-English grandmother when cleaning up leftovers from a meal, and the second is the Christian way of life. Both of these struck me when I saw the article in Missouri Farmer Today, “Producers eye carcass disposal,” in the May 16 issue.

I live in northeast Iowa and many of my farm neighbors raise cattle and pigs, and having gone through the downturn in the hog market in 1998 with resulting bankruptcies, this will be a disaster both financially and environmentally. We must get the meat processing plants operating efficiently.

I was a working manager all of my life and was responsible for warehousing, scrap and dock operations and finally distribution manager for a major salt producer, shipping salt from two mines nationwide via barge on the inland waterways and self-unloading ships on the Great Lakes . My responsibility was NEVER shut down the Louisiana and Goderich mines because of transportation bottlenecks PERIOD.

Today we see images of hundreds of cars lined up at food banks, of people out of work unable to buy food for their families. Perhaps some of these people would work for a time in meat processing? Offer money, benefits, appeal to helping society and offer hope for the future.

How can we avoid killing animals ready for sale and crank up processing? A working manager’s job is to solve problems and earn a profit.

1. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” — Hire out-of-work people part-time to clean between shifts or in some cases during shift work

2. Most people know how to cut and can use a knife; however, fear of disease must be mitigated so they feel safe in their working environment

3. Examine all means of production and identify systems that can speed the lines (perhaps concentrate on a particular cut of meat that requires less processing).

We are smart, hard- working people and know how to solve problems. Let’s remember to “leave no neighbor behind” and “waste not, want not.”

John Nikolai

Elkader, Iowa