As a veteran of 55 years associated with the great U.S meat industry, I commend The National Provisioner for its efforts to cover the 125th Anniversary of the magazine by highlighting historical activities of the industry. It is a worthy and challenging assignment!
In my early years in the 1960s, the magazine was known as the poor company’s trade association, because it arrived every week, on time, by U.S. mail and informed its readers what was going on in plants and in Washington. It was also linked with The Yellow Sheet, which was the source of price information that larger companies got on the Teletype machine and smaller companies got in the U.S. mail. Betty Stevens, editor-in-chief of The National Provisioner during that time, had her ear to the ground in Washington and reported in a very timely way the rulemaking that occurred after the passage of the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967 — rulemaking that was not completed until publication in the Federal Register on Oct. 3, 1970. I still have my working copy!
As my responsibilities at Pacific Coast Meat Jobbers Association grew, I was something of an expert about the collective bargaining between the small jobbers and sausage makers and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, and I remember being invited by Dick Lyng to participate in a panel at the AMI Convention in Chicago in the later 1970s, and Betty invited me to stay in her home, since we did not have much of a travel budget. Ten years later, I remember being joined by Gary Waldman and Dave Wood to meet with Lester Norton in the offices at 15 W. Huron Street to discuss how The Yellow Sheet might be improved. I remember a very crusty gentleman, who had a soft spot for me if I was wearing a hat — which I often did in those days. And when questioned how they went about it, Lester pulled out a photograph of the women and their old bulky typewriters of long ago and he told us nothing had changed!
The jewel in the crown was then-editor Barbara Young’s Salute to Industry Stewardship in August 2008, which was an edition all about me, beginning with me on the cover! I treasure the few copies I still have. It sure inflated my ego!
Huge change has rocked this great industry over the past 125 years, and we have been blessed to have great visionary leaders, some of whose names are still household words on meat brands. I have many good memories and am thrilled to cooperate with NP as it celebrates 125 years of outstanding information and publicity about the great American meat industry. NP