MORRISON: Farm Aid or Farm Enemy

 

May 5, 2004

 

By Joyce Morrison 
 
 
 
To submit a Letter to the Editor: letters@illinoisleader.com

Opinion - Exposing environmental programs usually brings an attack from the green direction. Their usual tactic is to intimidate and belittle the writer. Greens hate for the general public to know their real agenda -- which is to control all property -- on land and water.

Henry Lamb of Environmental Conservation Organization (Eco-logic), nationally known for his knowledge and expertise about the United Nations and their use of the environmental movement, gets his share of attacks. For example:

"Henry -- please don't write any more articles that concern the environment -- you just don't get it!. You need to develop a spiritual perspective towards nature before you write about it. How is it that people like you are actually listened to?" Bill.

Lamb's response was:

"Are you referring to the 'spiritual perspective' in which God gives dominion over the earth to man, or are you among those whose 'spiritual perspective' arises from the gaia theolosophy which believes that the earth is the origin of life? I will continue to write, and try to persuade others that the architect of all that is must be amused at the stupidity of people who think they know best how to manage his handiwork."

Trent Loos of Faces of Agriculture, doesn't let the environmentalists stop him, he says "bring 'em on." Loos exposes PETA, Sierra Club and other environmental organizations and how they affect agriculture. In a recent article by Loos, he spoke about organizations who use Farm Aid money to sue farmers.

"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 pig 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," reported Loos.

Farm Aid funds go to the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, said Loos. Their 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."

"Illinois Stewardship Alliance." That one rang a bell.

Working as a stress counselor following the flood of 1993, we were told that Willie Nelson's Farm Aid money was given to that organization to help flooded farmers.

The ADOPT a Farm Family/Rural Restoration organization headquartered in Sikeston, MO, received funds to distribute to flooded farmers with the help of farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson. Samuelson made a plea for donations, and farmers and agriculture across the nation responded very generously to help their distressed "brothers." ADOPT contacted the Farm Resource Center where I worked, saying they had money to distribute to farm families as a boost for them at Christmas. They needed our help to locate farmers who had suffered from the flood.

During the flood recovery, farmers were having cash flow problems. They had too many assets because they owned farm equipment. On paper, their assets took them above the limits to get low interest loans and other help.

In the meantime, they still had payments, insurance, food, clothing, health care - but no cash.

Naturally, we thought Illinois Stewardship Alliance would help farmers since they had received Farm Aid money. After all, there was a lot of hype about the Willie Nelson concert to help flooded farmers. When we asked them for aid for farmers who were hurting financially, we were turned down. In fact, they asked our organization, which operates on meager contributions, to contribute to them.

I began to wonder at that time what they really did with their money. . . . it certainly wasn't used to "help" farmers. I was right. Their organization is not about helping farmers.

Loos says "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 locks are not crumbling," said Mark Beorkrem of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance in an Associated Press news release that reached papers all across the nation. "The corps has been lying to the public about that, and we're tired of it."

Beorkrem's statement was in response to the announcement of the proposed updating of the locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers by the U.S. Corps of Engineers..

Studies have been going on for years by the U.S. Corps of Engineers but every time they have attempted to update the locks, environmental groups have screamed and pulled a stop to any progress. They use Associated Press releases nationwide, as well as Environmental Media Services, to spread their message. They frantically lobby our legislators.

They are well known for using junk science in place of facts, pulling the Endangered Species card or anything they can to stop updates to the rivers.

Once again, Illinois Stewardship Alliance is working against the family farmer.

In a recent article, I wrote about the need for the updated locks and dams along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers and what this updating means to the economy. Economically, our river system goes far beyond the "farmer."

Depending on whether or not barges can run efficiently effects the cost of almost everything in your home from your corn flakes to your electric bill.

Other groups who oppose the updating of the river system are Environmental Defense, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, American Rivers, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (that is a misleading title if there ever was one), Mississippi River Basin Alliance, National WIldlife Federation, Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Some of the green propaganda says "river traffic is declining." This might appear to be the case since the barges are continuously being shut down.

The river system was built for the Model A era and the barges are shut down for days when they have to wait for repairs on the old locks or they are waiting for water to be released so the channel is deep enough to travel.

Barges spend days just "waiting" trying to get up and down the rivers taking hours at each lock to get through.

The environmentalists over all agenda is to close down "working rivers" and return them to free, meandering rivers. This would take the rivers back to the days of Lewis and Clark and before. While this may sound like a good idea, think about the days of Lewis and Clark and then decide if you want to do without insect spray, showers, hot water, microwaves, air-conditioning and all the conveniences that Lewis and Clark could not possibly envision.

These luxuries did not come from "going back" in time.

Trent Loos says "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," said Loos.

Copyright 2004 IllinoisLeader.com.

 

Joyce Morrison lives in southern Illinois. She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America and she and her husband, Gary, represent the local Citizens for Private Property Rights. Joyce is Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston.

She has become a nationally-recognized advocate for property rights.