On September 22, America’s farmers and ranchers – in an effort to lead a conversation and answer those questions – kicked off The Food Dialogues, the launch of a new effort to bring together different viewpoints on farming and ranching and the future of food – the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).
While these industry players may be saying they want to “open their doors up,” it seems only on their terms. Certainly the Food Dialogues yesterday gave a semblance of impartiality: Highly-credentialed journalist Claire Shipman of Good Morning America moderated from a satellite location in D.C. and celebrity chef John Besh hosted the panel in New York City.
But the reality was an orchestrated framing of the message about “modern agricultural production” from the perspective of big business. In the staged kitchen set at the New York City, the questions from the “audience” included only one: a pre-arranged question from the head of the National Pork Board. In D.C., Jay Vroom, from the agrochemical trade association CropLife America, was handpicked to join in the “conversation” and lob a softball question to John Besh about chefs and portion control.
Face it, this is another peremptory move by Big Ag and Big Food – full of the usual propaganda – to win over consumers as they move to prevent new regulations and restrictions ranging from tighter rules on pesticide applications to a potential ban of routine, preventative use of animal antibiotics.
Hmmm, I don’t want overuse of pesticides to cause more superweeds or superbugs and I sure don’t want excessive use of antibiotics (on plants as well as animals, by the way) to encourage multiple-antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Remember the tobacco industry’s efforts to tell us smoking was good for our health?
Probably all one can say is that these are surely going to be interesting times. I admit, if they really could repair the environment that they have despoiled, restore the public health which they have damaged, or even think about sharing the wealth with the workers whom they’ve cheated, I might jump over to their side.
Don’t hold your breath!
So who are the people in the USFRA?
Alabama Farmers Federation
American Egg Board
American Farm Bureau Federation*
American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee
American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers
American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology
American National Cattle Women
American Sheep Industry
American Soybean Association
American Sugar Alliance
Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation
Association of Agriculture Production Executives
California Farm Bureau Federation
Cattlemen’s Beef Board/Beef Checkoff*
Dairy Farmers of America
Federation of State Beef Councils*
Georgia Farm Bureau
Illinois Farm Bureau
Illinois Soybean Association*
Indiana Farm Bureau Federation
Iowa Soybean Association*
Kansas Farm Bureau Federation
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation
Michigan Farm Bureau of Companies
Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council*
Missouri Farmers Care
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association*
National Corn Growers Association*
National Cotton Council
National Milk Producers Federation*
National Pork Board*
National Pork Producers Council*
Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation
Nebraska Soybean Board*
New York Farm Bureau Federation
North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
North Dakota Soybean Council
Ohio Farm Bureau
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
Texas Farm Bureau
United Egg Producers*
United Fresh Produce Association
United Sorghum Checkoff Program
United Soybean Board*
USA Rice Federation
U .S. Grains Council
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association*
U.S. Soybean Federation
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
(* Board Participants)
Premier Partner Advisory Group
Industry Partners Council
The Fertilizer Institute