Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Causes Affect Farming
American Farm Bureau ^ | April 2002 | Bob Stallman

Posted on 04/26/2002 7:56:46 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer

Bob Stallman
American Farm Bureau
By Bob Stallman
President, American Farm Bureau

Low commodity prices, rising input costs and productivity-sapping government paperwork challenge us to run our operations as efficiently and professionally as possible. We do. We produce abundant, affordable and healthy food and fiber. The vast majority of consumers in this country respect our efforts, when they ever think about it. Most of the time, they do not have to because the shelves are full, the price is right-for them.

A vocal few, though, are having more of an impact on agriculture than any other time I can think of. Increasingly, how we farm, what we raise, and where we produce are being criticized by a small number of people who hold a specific philosophy or follow a single-purpose agenda. Some of the varied goals include eliminating animal agriculture, preventing the use of ag chemicals, halting the production of commodities enhanced through biotechnology, introducing new animal species to an area or stopping land management.

Swimming Against the Mainstream

Unable to sway public opinion or to influence enough legislators to force mandates on the majority, such groups are pressuring food retailers to adopt their narrow goals and issue arbitrary restrictions and regulations that affect our farms. The zealots are relentless, writing letters to corporate headquarters or handing out leaflets to consumers at local outlets. They may buy a share of a corporation's stock so they can introduce proposals at the annual stockholders' meeting to further their limited interests without regard to the company's responsibility, first of all, to be profitable. They file lawsuits or engage in photogenic publicity stunts.

A few corporations choose to grease the squeaky wheel to avoid product defamation by imposing management practices on us, their suppliers. Such was the case when a noted snack food company excluded biotech corn several years ago. They would rather switch than fight for what is right. That attitude is changing because Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations are working diligently to explain our best management practices as well as any governmental oversight that applies. We have help this time around from noted public and private sector scientists, behaviorists, nutritionists and numerous other specialists. So far, many corporations and the food industry as a whole have been attentive and receptive to our input. Every one of us should thank them for that.

Inventing Fears to Fight Facts

We know we have sound science behind today's agricultural production methods. Overzealous cause supporters have to create fear if they are to promote their alternative agendas. They do this by twisting the facts or even making them up in the first place. There have been a number of incidents recently that have surfaced examples of shoddy science being used to promote a viewpoint unsupported by the majority.

For examples, wildlife specialists submitted hair samples from captive lynx as evidence of their presence in Washington and Oregon forests. Their activities and motives are now under investigation by federal law enforcers. A Louisiana scientist claimed his experiments proved that pesticides disrupted human hormone production, a claim that led to expensive and expansive ag chemical restrictions. Other scientists could not duplicate the experiments and it was later revealed the data was doctored but the law is still in place. The National Academy of Sciences recently slapped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for preventing Pacific Northwest farmers from irrigating so water levels would rise to enhance fish habitat. The Academy said the agencies had "no sound scientific basis" for the prohibition.

The abuse does not stop there. Some non-profit charitable corporations threaten boycotts and then ask for and get grants from targeted companies. Though prohibited from lobbying, these specially chartered and tax-privileged entities lobby their causes. Government agencies give grants and contracts to special interest groups and then meet them in court when the agency's regulations do not go as far as desired. Most despicable, some groups condone and are suspected of actually funneling money to terrorist cells of their cause.

Where could all this lead? Look to Europe where the "Wall Street Journal" reported a German state agricultural minister issued "temporary" rules for raising hogs. They specify pen size, type of bedding complete with rubber lounging mat, chewy toys to play with, eight hours of daylight or the use of lamps in winter's shorter days and the farmer must devote 20 seconds each day looking at each pig and then file the paperwork to prove it. The official hopes his rules will serve as a model for countrywide standards. Farm Bureau will continue to work with other productive sectors in America's economy to keep our focus on results, not process. That is truly a just cause.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: agriculture; enviralmentalists; farming; grangelist; ngos; socialism
In Germany the farmer must devote 20 seconds each day looking at each pig and then file the paperwork to prove it.


1 posted on 04/26/2002 7:56:46 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: I_Had_Enough;sarcasm; farmfriend; smarticus; Willie Green; *grange_list
The American Farm Bureau gets it.
2 posted on 04/26/2002 8:03:04 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SR71A
3 posted on 04/27/2002 10:18:43 AM PDT by farmfriend
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: hedgetrimmer
Fraud Or Bad Science? ESA Listings Get More Scrutiny

by J.D. Hartz

Headlined stories from The New York Times, The Oregonian, Seattle Post Intelligence, and The Washington Times, are for once in agreement - fraud has been committed on the public in making scientific studies for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. We reported on some of them in the last issue.

The latest stories to come to light include the listing of the Spotted Owl, which had become the very symbol of the “green” movement. In the battle for who controls the land, it appears fact has become arbitrary and truth an option.

(Question: is labeling each other “green” or “environmental wacko” really productive? Is not a farmer, who uses science as well as knowledge gained from working his land, and whose very livelihood depends on the health and well being of his land and animals, even more of an “environmentalist” than the person who chains themselves to a tree based on emotion and “feel good” rhetoric?)

Timber organizations are demanding that the federal government consider withdrawing ESA protection for the northern spotted owl or face a lawsuit. The American Forest Resource Council issued a similar threat to the Department of the Interior this past January regarding the marbled murrelet, a lesser-known bird that has halted logging on hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land, just as the owl has affected millions of acres of public forest.

In both cases, the timber group argues on procedural grounds that the federal government has failed to follow the Endangered Species Act requirement to review the status every five years, and on scientific grounds that new evidence shows the birds are not in as much trouble as originally thought.

The threat of suit follows a judges decision in early March which agreed with the Bush administration who, facing a flurry of developers’ lawsuits, asked to vacate the protection for thousands of acres of land considered critical to an imperiled shrimp and a small bird in a four-county area of Southern California. Judge Lawrence Margolis called the Forest Service action “arbitrary, capricious and without rational basis.” He also found that the officials knew their findings were faulty when they ordered the sale canceled.

The Washington Times reported that the Forest Service knowingly used faulty data of spotted owl habitat to block logging in the California forest. This revelation of bad science comes on the heels of other questionable actions taken by federal officials in the name of protecting endangered species.

The “research” that led to the Klamath Basin fiasco last year may have actually harmed the very fish it was supposed to protect. The National Academy of Science studied the same data used by the agencies but drew very different conclusions. Not only did the data not show a clear connection between water levels in Upper Klamath Lake and conditions that are adverse to the welfare of suckers, it noted that the best year ever recorded for sucker survival was a low-water year. In addition, the academy also took issue with the Marine Fisheries Service’s effort to increase river flows, saying that such action could make conditions even more “lethal” for salmon by increasing water temperatures.

A new catch phrase has hit Washington, D.C., “junk science,” and the Grange played a very large part in bringing public awareness to this problem. Leo Bergeron, prior to becoming Master of the California State Grange, spent over four years fighting bureaucracy and trying to educate both Congress and the people on the fraud being perpetrated by certain special interest groups.

In speaking of his efforts, Bergeron cautions that “the Grange is not anti-environmentalist. But true environmentalists want what is best for the environment. And to know what is best for the environment, we must use sound, verifiable science, not pick and choose the facts that may support our emotional feelings.”

Bergeron cautions that the war is not yet won. The courts are beginning to listen to reason. The Government is trying to rectify matters through legislation such as HR 2829 (see Legibits column this issue). But we have a long fight ahead of us.

The Grange was in the forefront of getting the water turned back on in the Klamath Basin. The Grange is in the forefront of the battle to get Congress to reform the ESA to the point it depends on sound, verifiable science.

That is not to say that he does not recognize and appreciate the efforts put forth by such organizations as the Farm Bureau, People for the USA, and others. But it was the grass-roots action of Greenhorn Grange that got the ball rolling. That, says Bergeron, is what the Grange is all about.

Bergeron’s goal is to have all Granges responsive to and supporting the needs of the community they serve. “Political action is what made the Grange great. If we are to survive, we must return to our roots,” says Bergeron.

4 posted on 04/27/2002 10:29:46 AM PDT by farmfriend
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson