Farmers Fight Back: The Takedown of #NewMacDonaldTue, 17 Mar 2015 16:30:16 CDT
Op Ed from U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) CEO Randy Krotz
Politico Morning Agriculture
March 13, 2015
Only Organic, a group that includes organic and natural food companies, including Earthbound Farm, Organic Valley and Nature's Path, released a new musical ad on YouTube that's started a firestorm on Twitter under the hashtag #NewMacDonald, with dozens of farmers, conventional and organic, slamming the ad as divisive, inaccurate and even delusional propaganda.
Luke Runyon at Harvest Public Media explains: "It starts as innocently as the children's song , but quickly takes a dark turn, showing a staged farm flooded with pesticide spray, genetically engineered corn made of papier mâché and stuffed farm animals in cages. ... The ad is easy to understand and fits into a narrative long in the making: that conventional farmers are irresponsible with chemicals, cruel to animals and flippant about the environment. - But most farmers, organic ones included, hate that narrative and are ready to dismantle it on social media at a moment's notice." The video had more than 900,000 views as of late Thursday night. More from Runyon here:
From USFRA's perspective, I believe it is a tipping point for consumer transparency and truth. Farmers and ranchers have the tools to tell their stories, even in hostile environments. And organic and conventional farmers who respect each other are beginning to work together to make sure that truthful information gets to consumers. Even Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently talked about the destructive practices of different types of ag attacking each other. We agree. Let's stop the attacks.
We are taking this opportunity to reach out to the companies that chose to support this video including well-known brands like Annie's Organic, Organic Valley, Honest Tea and Earthbound Farm to respectfully offer them the opportunity to meet with real farmers and ranchers to talk about the issues raised in the New MacDonald video. If the opportunity arises, we will invite them to visit conventional farms.
But we all need to do more going forward. At USFRA, we are committed to taking farmer and rancher voices to places where tough conversations are happening so consumers can really learn how their food is grown and raised. We do this by telling our stories, committing to answering every question, and always being open to dialogue. Farmers and ranchers have knowledge about food production that consumers are interested in knowing. We aren't the ones at war we are the ones dedicated to real transparency.
CEO, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)
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