1.They're working for Monsanto
2.More on the Farm Bureau
1.They're working for Monsanto
Record Bee, 23 Aug 2005
Got a good chuckle out of the Farm Bureau response to the proposed regulation of Roundup ready Alfalfa in Lake County. It was truly classic! Instead of attempting to refute the multitude of reasons put forth to justify the proposed ordinance, the main tactic employed was to change the subject to the much broader issue of all biotechnology.
They can't say this new alfalfa won't mean more poison being used here, because it will. They can't say that contamination of other growers' crops isn't a real problem because Monsanto's own studies show it is. They can't say that the increase in herbicide use won't lead to poison-resistant weeds sooner because they know it will. They can't say that the main active ingredient in Roundup is safe because there are piles of evidence to the contrary.
The Farm Bureau does say that "not a single person or animal has gotten sick from eating biotech food or feeds," though recently revealed studies done by Monsanto show that rats fed their genetically modified corn had liver and thyroid cancer, along with blood cell abnormalities.
The Farm Bureau is also quoted in the Record-Bee as saying, "This is just a technological way to increase production using less pesticides," an absurd statement that turns reality on its head. Of course our local Farm Bureau is against regulation of a genetically modified crop, since their positions are handed down from the state Farm Bureau where support of the biotech companies is automatic due to their financial interdependence.
That's why our own Farm Bureau urges us to support an Assembly bill that would take control away from Lake County and give it to Sacramento when it comes to genetically modified crops. Another case of them working for Monsanto, while local growers and environmentalists work for Lake County.
2.More on the Farm Bureau
(for links to sources)
With nearly five million members the AFBF is the nation's largest farm organization and is said to be among the most powerful special interest groups in Washington, DC. But many, if not most, of its members are not farmers at all, having become members simply by buying its products, such as insurance, via a Farm Bureau company.
It was founded originally in the early 1900s by the New York Chamber of Commerce. Today, while posing as a nonprofit organization whose tax-subsidised activities are intended to improve the lot of American Farmers, the Farm Bureau is a gigantic agribusiness and insurance conglomerate. It has a stock portfolio that includes such agribusiness giants as Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra, Monsanto, Phillip Morris, Dupont, Novartis and Dow. (Rightwing business in farm overalls)
The Farm Bureau's massive financial interests are said to help it promote a self-serving and extreme political agenda. In 1968 Representative Joseph Resnick of New York, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development, famously described the Farm Bureau in this way: 'What might once have been a conservative, business-oriented organization is now considerably more. By my calculations, the Farm Bureau is the most efficient conduit now in existence for the dissemination of right-wing propaganda.' Resnick also declared the Bureau to be 'a perfect sewer-line for transporting right-wing ideology, particularly to our young people.'
The Farm Bureau has passed resolutions opposing, amongst other things, the Voting Rights Act - the cornerstone of US civil rights protection, the Equal Rights Amendment, gun control and an increase in the minimum wage. The anti-civil rights resolution was approved while Dean Kleckner was AFBF President (Farm Bureau is a Front). Kleckner went on to head the GM-promoting Truth about Trade and Technology lobby group.
In recent years Farm Bureau leaders have expressed increasing antagonism towards environmentalism. Some Farm Bureaus have been notable amongst those who have formed alliances with the so-called Wise Use movement to lobby against environmental regulations. (The war against the greens)
In 2000 the Farm Bureau leadership, including Kleckner who then headed the organisation after heading the Farm Bureau in Iowa, was the subject of an investigative 'Sixty Minutes' report by CBS news. Among the issues CBS investigated were some of the Iowa Farm Bureau agribusiness financial ties, including $3.5 billion in FBL Financial Services - a Farm Bureau related company that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. FBL Financial Group has given thousands of stock options to its directors, including the presidents of 14 state Farm Bureaus. According to the CBS report, Ed Wiederstein, when president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, received a 'couple of hundred thousand bucks from stock options' that he cashed in in 1998, a year of severe economic hardship for Iowa farmers.
According to farmers quoted in the CBS programme, the Farm Bureau's investments have placed them in the pocket of corporate America. 'All [the Farm Bureau's] decisions are made for corporate America because they own part of it," Iowa farmer Linus Solberg told CBS.
According to Mississippi Farm Bureau farmer, Fred Stokes, 'Farm Bureau has the same relationship to its members as Sears and Roebuck does to its customers'. When it was discovered that American Farm Bureau's Washington lobbyists had sent a letter opposing a moratorium on agribusiness mergers to all Congressional members, the Mississippi Farm Bureau passed a resolution 'rebuking' the Farm Bureau's national leadership for 'conflicts of interests.'
According to Stokes, 'The national Farm Bureau policy book is full of statements expressing concern about concentration of market power and monopoly in agribusiness. Yet AFBF president Dean Kleckner and the national staff consistently sell out their members and jump in bed with agribusiness.' (Lords of the Land)
According to John Hansen, when president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, 'I've been working on farming concerns for 30 years and I can't think of a major issue where the Farm Bureau didn't have the same position as the grain and meat processors. It's impossible to represent the interests of food producers (farmers) as well as food processors like ConAgra, IBP and ADM. The two groups' economic interests are almost always at odds.'
This kind of dissatisfaction within AFBF's membership, along with the worsening farming crisis, is said to have resulted in Dean Kleckner being removed as AFBF president. Kleckner subsequently developed his role as Chairman of Truth about Trade.