Farm Aid Fraud
 
March 25, 2004
 
By Trent Loos
 
 

During a speech in Michigan I pointed out that groups like Farm Aid and Willie Nelson are doing more to get rid of farmers than to benefit them.

Farm Aid funds are siphoned into groups that are filing lawsuits against family farms.

Nearly a dozen lawsuits have been filed against families in Iowa.

In Minnesota, I personally know three families with lawsuits against them for operating a livestock facility or hoping to build one.

As I continue to do more research into Farm Aid, I am amazed at the extent of the ties between Farm Aid and the movement that wants to completely rid animal agriculture from the U.S.

Farm Aid has acquired millions of dollars because the term "family farm" has tremendous sentimental value with the American public. Consumers have been willing to financially contribute to this cause. This is a HUGE problem because it appears the goal of Farm Aid is return food production to the 1920s.

If you log onto their website (www.FarmAid.org), the home page tells you where they stand. A big red sign urges you to purchase a shirt that says "Stop Factory Farms." "The Meatrix," possibly the single most damaging piece of recent work against agriculture, is featured. There is a campaign called "Say NO to irradiated meat". They urge you to "tell USDA we don't need genetically engineered crops."

Farm Aid's website includes photos and statements from Farm Sanctuary, a group that promotes a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. Farm Sanctuary put the only two swine farmers in Florida out of business by promoting a law that bans individual animal housing units for sows. They are currently supporting legislation in New Jersey and California to put more family farms out of business.

Farm Aid funds support Concerned Citizens of Iowa (CCI) who brag on their website "At the local level, CCI helped pass factory farm moratoriums in four counties and passed ordinances in four other counties."

Farm Aid funds go to Illinois for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. ISA's purpose is to: Establish and enforce regulations necessary to protect the health and well-being of rural communities from the negative results of livestock production facilities. Educate the public as to the undesirable consequences of livestock production facilities on rural economic, environmental and social systems.

The Campaign for Family Farms, a group that talks about family farmers but doesn't really know any, spearheaded litigation against the Pork Checkoff. They teamed up with the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a group that led the charge against the Beef Checkoff.

There are many more groups that benefit from Farm Aid funds and use them against family farms: The Dakota Resource Council, Northern Plains Resource Council, and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) filed a petition March 11 with the U. S. Department of Agriculture for a full Environmental Impact Statement to "address the economic, social, and environmental consequences of introducing genetically-modified (GM) wheat."

Let's not forget The National Family Farm Coalition who "has been one of the leading farmer advocacy voices that has raised concerns about the potential effects this new technology (GMO's) will have on farmers."

To top it off, Country Music Television (CMT) recently ran a Farm Aid documentary.

Listed in the credits was none other than "Voice for Animals," an animal rights group who's main goal is animal liberation.

The more research I do on this subject, the worse it gets.

We in agriculture have allowed the opposition to define a "factory farm" in comparison to their idealistic "family farm."

"Factory farms" do not exist. We spend countless hours trying to educate the public about what really happens in food production. Meanwhile, the opposition has stolen our best marketing tool by designing their own image of a "family farm" and using it against us. They are convincing the American public that we need to roll back the clock on food production, let our pigs roll in the dirt and leave our combines in the shed.

What they don't seem to realize is that fewer farmers are feeding millions more people today than we did in 1920 and it is predicted that we will have even more mouths to feed in the very near future.

How is foregoing technology going to help us achieve an end to world hunger?

If farmers need to return to the "American Gothic" way of life, then shouldn't everyone else get to join us? Throw out your computers, color televisions, DVDs and cell phones.

Willie, you should forget about selling CDs that rack in millions of dollars for your Valentine Road Corporation. You need to be selling LPs again like you did in the "good old days." And for the record Mr. Nelson, I have always liked your songs.

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Trent Loos is a sixth generation farmer who wants to bridge the gap from agriculture producers and consumers. In addition to this column, he can be heard daily on his radio program by the same name. Trent can be reached via his website at www.loostales.com or e-mail at trent@loostales.com