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About Agribusiness Freedom Foundation

Learn about AFF's initiatives, mission, and goals in the agriculture and beef industries.

AFF Guiding Principle

AFF Guiding Principle: Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson: "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups." (Taken from p. 5 "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt, Copyright 1962, 1979. Laissez Faire Books, San Francisco.)

Our Philosophy

The Agribusiness Freedom Foundation (AFF) is a communications and educational initiative that is intellectually honest and sound, promoting long-term, fact-based decision and policy approaches to food chain issues.  The AFF views the food production chain as a pyramid, with the ultimate consumer at the top and all the various industry sectors arrayed below.

We believe that keeping consumer interests always foremost and allowing members of the production chain to cooperate and compete in combinations as they see fit to best serve the consumer, with limited government intervention, is the proper business mode of American agriculture.  This method produces the world's safest, most diverse, highest quality and most innovative food supply in the world.

Free market approaches, including free trade, free business structure options, free alliances, free competition, free marketing options and free scientific innovation best serve the food production chain, the country and the consumer.  The limited economic and governmental restrictions on business set in place by our Founding Fathers has served America well.  We wish to see that traditional constitutional framework continued, unfettered by short-term "fixes" or capitulations to narrow interests.

We oppose efforts to put limits on businesses to ally or cooperate with each other.  We oppose limits on the abilities of agricultural operators or other food chain participants to utilize the business structures they choose.  We oppose limits on individuals or businesses to operate in multiple segments of the food chain.  We oppose efforts to undermine the abilities of government agencies to serve and protect the public and agriculture by removing industry expertise and scientific tools from the process. 


We oppose destructive  attacks on consumer confidence in the food supply.  We oppose the isolationist, protectionist views of world trade that would condemn American agriculture to a dead-end, no growth future in a world with staggering food needs.

We oppose destructive  attacks on consumer confidence in the food supply.  We oppose the isolationist, protectionist views of world trade that would condemn American agriculture to a dead-end, no growth future in a world with staggering food needs.

We believe the principles and traits of American agricultural producers, processors and marketers that have made the American food chain the envy of the world should be encouraged.  We stimulate in producers thoughts and actions that are honest, principled, optimistic, adaptive, inclusive, innovative and forward-thinking.

Our goal is to provide the majority in agriculture the intellectual ammunition to bolster their inner belief that it is possible to value the traditions and heritage of the past, while embracing the future and the changes it brings.  But free market believers must defend those principles against other groups active in moving to curtail the freedom American agriculture requires to adapt and progress.  We need a movement for agribusiness freedom, freedom to operate and innovate to prosper in the future.

Our overriding goal will be to provide information and analysis for food chain participants to use in propelling their businesses into the future.
More specifically:

  • To provide the reasonable, rational approaches?based on fact, science and free-market principles?that agricultural people need to eliminate damaging industry turf battles

  • To explain pertinent economic principles to the industry and the public in a common-sense fashion that illustrates the most efficient way of producing the best quality food in the safest system.

  • To seek out existing and/or commission the research or data necessary to provide solid solutions to food industry problems.

  • To explain the legitimate economic forces behind the concentration and globalization of the world economy and the consequences of ignoring those forces.

  • To provide information to those working for fewer government restrictions and involvement in the food chain.

  • To provide support to government agencies and functions necessary to safeguard the integrity of the food supply, the health of the U.S. herd and the minimum regulations needed to provide a fair and free-flowing market system.

  • To promote the concept that each segment of the food chain has responsibilities to all other segments of the food chain, as well as the ultimate consumer.

  • To explain the contributions of free market capitalism and advanced technology to the world food supply and its importance in increasing food availability not only to all Americans, but to poor populations in the developing world.

Image by Lucas Ludwig

About Steve Dittmer

Now executive vice president of the Agribusiness Freedom Foundation, Steve Dittmer has over 45 years of experience in management, marketing, and communications in the beef industry.  He co-published CALF News magazine for nearly 20 years. His column, "Ruminatin,'" garnered a national following for gathering facts, analyzing situations, and laying out implications and options for readers to digest.


He emphasized the benefits of other industry sectors as partners rather than enemies and evaluation of everything in terms of the ultimate customer. Also co-owned a contract publishing company.  Past experience included beef council CEO, association communications director, and small-time rancher.

In the 1980s, he was a member of Beef Industry Council Advertising Committee that developed the first-ever beef industry national television ad campaign and industry's first Long Range Planning Committee.


Education - B.S. with distinction in Animal Science, Specialty in journalism, Ohio State University.

Image by mana5280
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