The $30 Million Propaganda War Begins

Written by Max Goldberg on August 19, 2011. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

Get ready America.

Starting this fall, you are about to see a massive propaganda war hitting all forms of multimedia.

The Financial Times reported (free registration may be required) that a new organization called the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance will be spending $30M a year to “clarify perceptions about how industrial farmers treat animals and and the impact of hormones and antibiotics on the food that they eat.”

In the article, Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that “consumers are confused. There is a huge knowledge gap out there and we want people to know that farmers and ranchers are committed to providing healthy choices.”

Unfortunately, the only huge knowledge gap is that more of America does not know about the incredible abuse going on at the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Animals are treated in the worst imaginable conditions and are given antibiotics because farm (factory) owners know that the animals will get sick by walking around in their own feces all day.

Movies such as Food, Inc. and Farmageddon have exposed the real truth as to what is going on with industrial agriculture in the U.S. and how the USDA is complicit in serving Americans the most food unhealthy food possible.

As such, many states are trying to enact laws that would prohibit the videotaping of animals at farms. If Big Ag were so confident about its farming practices, then why would it need to push for laws such as these?

Answer: They wouldn’t.

Big Ag has a lot to hide (horrible treatment of animals, genetically-modified food, animals pumped with artificial hormones and antibiotics) and the organic movement is making some in-roads with American consumers.

We have a long, long way to go but the fact that the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is funding such a big propaganda campaign means that we are making some headway, creating problems for Big Ag and exposing the truth to all of America.

TWO QUESTIONS

This announcement by the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance brings up two important questions.

Q: Why isn’t the organic food industry doing its own branding or media campaign?

A: When I was at the Deepak Chopra GMO Event in NYC several months ago, I asked Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield, this exact question. His response was to “hold on.  You’ll be seeing something in a few weeks.”

I have yet to see anything but am really hoping that it is coming sometime soon.

Q: How can organic consumers band together to combat the propaganda by the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance?

A: We can do many things.

First, be ready for this campaign and get educated as to what is really going on in this country. Here are a few good resources.

The Center for Food Safety

Organic Consumers Association

Institute for Responsible Technology

Second, make sure you see the movies Food, Inc., Farmageddon and The Future of Food.

Third, participate in the upcoming Right2Know March.

Fourth, and most importantly, get involved. We need every single person’s help. Thank you for reading this post and for spreading the word about the importance of organic food.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m sorry that you have such a war mentality when it comes to farming. Being a farmer and part of the USFRA I have to say that there isn’t a war between organic vs. commercial. We are actually trying to work together to further educate the public and to demystify animal ag. I just attended a great session with USFRA and I met both organic farmers and fellow commercial farmers. The truth is we need all types of farming to be successful and maintain the freedom of choice. There are concerns out there but we are trying to address those concerns and show the people how farming has improved over the years and how it continues to improve. There are several resources on my blog to learn more about farming from farmers. If you have specific concerns please feel free to contact me and I will answer your questions best I can or put you in contact with farmers that can answer your questions. I look forward to hearing from anyone who has concerns about modern farming practices.

    Written by Jo Windmann on July 27, 2012 @ 8:59 am
  2. Hi Jo,

    I don’t believe there is a war between conventional farmers and organic farmers. None at all. I believe the issue is with the organizations that supply seeds and chemicals to conventional and GMO-farmers.

    When you look at the board of USFRA, it is all conventional, pro-GMO organizations – Monsanto, DuPont, Pfizer, Soybean Associations (nearly all of the soy in the U.S. is GMO-soy). Where is the representation of organic farms or farmers?

    Based on their lobbying in Washington DC to hijack the regulatory process of GMO crops and their actions in California with trying to defeat the GMO labeling ballot initiative, these pro-GMO organizations are fighting tooth and nail to kill organic. GMO crops contaminate organic crops, which means these farms will lose their organic certification.

    When you stand on the organic side of the fence, the picture is very, very clear.

    Thanks for your comment and input.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 28, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
  3. I think you are right in the fact that the USFRA needs representation from every side of farming. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about organic farming organizations but if you do know some I would ask that you please put them in contact with USFRA or give me their info so I can pass it along. I realize that many of the sponsors are the “big names” because they have the funds to be sponsors but USFRA is not opposed to organic representation. In fact, they had several organic farmers at the recent session we had and they want more representation from both sides. I also can see both pros and cons to GMO crops. For example, I have a fellow farmer friend—Mike—that raises both GMO and non-GMO crops in south Missouri. He began using GMO corn because he was having a problem with a certain bug that ate the inside of the stalks and also carried a fungus. These bugs were causing his stalks to break in high winds and the fungus was contaminating his corn. Because of this he was using considerable amounts of pesticides and fungicides, which gets expensive not to mention the environmental impact. He planted GMO corn specifically made to fight this bug and the fungus it brings; in turn, Mike uses less chemicals but raises a healthier plant. While I don’t think that GMO is the end-all-be-all of farming I do believe it has a place in farming. We all just need to farm responsibly. Great convo and thanks for responding.

    Written by Jo Windmann on July 29, 2012 @ 11:44 am
  4. Hi Jo,

    You can contact the Organic Research Farming Association or the Organic Consumers Association. Expect a very skeptical response, however.

    I also don’t think that GMO-crops fall under farming responsibly, and I feel very badly for the farmers who live in the Midwest. Why? Because of all of the chemicals that they spray on the land, the water supply that they drink from and bathe with is very, very toxic. Unfortunately, my guess is that this information is not too widely known or dispersed in the farming community.

    Atrazine is the main culprit and is banned in Europe (where the company who owns it is based) but allowed to be sold in the U.S.

    Here are a few posts for you to look at:

    http://livingmaxwell.com/water-supply-in-the-midwest-atrazine

    http://livingmaxwell.com/publi-water-supply

    http://livingmaxwell.com/flow-water-movie

    http://livingmaxwell.com/cbs-morning-show-agent-orange-corn-24d-corn

    http://livingmaxwell.com/bitter-seeds-documentary

    I am very happy to engage and correspond with you because the 1.2 billion pounds of chemicals that we spray on our land in the U.S. must come down.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 30, 2012 @ 7:40 pm
  5. Why do you think farmers raise GMO crops? If a corn plant is resistant to certain fungi or pest, the farmer would put less chemicals on those plants creating a healthier plant with a hopefully better yield. Your logic is emotional and not factual. You post on your food page to buy the organic products so you can get a kick back off them and bash the US farm and ranch alliance that is made of small ranchers and producers using the money made from their buying of seed, equipment, and fertilizer. Take this to heart, if we grow unhealthy food and all of the people die we wouldn’t need to raise food anymore. If you want to go organic fine, that is your choice. I choose to farm more efficiently and effectively with the least amout of chemical and fertilizer. I hope there never comes a day when we are hungry because we stop another farming practice based on emotion, because I don’t believe only organic farming can feed the world.

    Written by Gene on December 10, 2012 @ 9:57 am
  6. Hi Gene,

    My logic is factual, not emotional. Since GMOs have been introduced, we have used 537 million pounds more of chemicals. GMOs were supposed to decrease chemical use. The promise of a significant increase in yields was a false one. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html

    We have tens of millions of acres of superweeds, thanks to GMOs http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Furthermore, the chemicals sprayed on GMOs have caused huge damage to the quality of our water supply. According to USDA data, we have 59 pesticide residues in our water, including neurotoxins and carcinogens. http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=WR

    The reality is this. It is utter and pure propaganda that GMOs are the only way to feed the world.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 11, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

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