It’s time to speak up

Hey Organic Farmer Friends- I’m Calling You Out

I just viewed a recent marketing video that is circulating the internet, put out by Only Organic, whose members include Stonyfield, Organic Valley, Earthbound Farm and Annie’s Homegrown just to name a few.

The curtain rises to show a stage full of elementary students dancing and singing to the tune of Old MacDonald as they act out a very dramatic, inaccurate portrayal of modern farming. I can scarcely describe the sick feeling in my stomach as I watch this hateful propaganda and fear-based agenda that exploits children. It ends as the farm turns into an organic New MacDonald.

American farmers today are outnumbered 99 to 1. Is it necessary to attack any? Do we have any to spare? We talk about great advancements in science and the many tools and technologies available today that farmers can choose to use. It appears to me that conventional farmers are much more accepting of other’s practices and methods, whereas the organic industry continually uses fear-marketing and shameful tactics like this video to sell their products. As a mom and a consumer, I have simply had enough.

This campaign is truly hate speech for profit.

But WHAT IF the role is reversed? What if I gather a group of children to sing a similar song…

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-o

And in his farm, he invested less, ee-i-ee-i-o

So his a-ni-mals, didn’t do as well,

Thought his farm he’d have to sell,

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-o

 And over time, he let things slide, ee-i-ee-i-o

So his soil wasn’t great and his crops didn’t grow,

He had to figure out a way to bring in more dough,

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-o

 But organic marketing saved his day, ee-i-ee-i-o

Now crappy farmers had a new way, ee-i-ee-i-o

To get paid more for producing less,

By using fear and lies to make a big mess…

 (slow down – dramatic ending!!!…)

 Now organic MacDonald makes a lot of money on his farm…



It’s great, huh?? Something I should be proud of? Truth? No, no and no. But it’s a similar tone and as truthful as the Only Organic campaign. This brings back memories of my grandpa, who always told us “never play in the mud with pigs because you’ll just get dirty and the only one who likes it is the pig.”

I hope all farmers that supply products to the group of companies in the Only Organic brand take a long hard look in the mirror, because they are supporting hate speech and unacceptable propaganda. I am ashamed of Only Organic and am completely embarrassed that they represent any part of agriculture today. You should be too.

To all organic farmers, I challenge you to call out this campaign for what it is. You provide a safe, high quality product, so why would you allow a company like this to represent you?

Connect with consumers based on facts and share your “why” Market the reasons why you farm and why you choose the practices you do. There are many similarities between organic and conventional farming. You share many of the same practices, just using different products when it comes to things like pesticides and fertilizers. You too take pride in your everyday work and provide safe food. All farmers, no matter what production method they use, care for the land and animals in a way that provides safe, nutritious food for families everywhere. All farmers share this passion and all farmers have a livelihood to be proud of. You too have a business to sustain and need to make a profit and have a marketplace to do so in.

As a mom and a consumer, I would love to see you launch your own positive and respectful campaign that truly represents who you are and what you stand for, without misinformation and hateful propaganda.

I know you are not Only Organic – you are much more than that. You deserve better.

Farming Like Grandpa Did is Not Sustainable

“Sustainable”… I hear this word thrown out all the time when people talk about agriculture. We to even have an advisory committee, comprised of 14 independent experts, using the term throughout an entire Carpet section of the newly proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines. In the 500+ page document, there is a new emphasis on sustainability. And it is quite apparent how this group of experts feels about the sustainability of meat production.

Could this easy-to-use buzzword of “sustainability” outweigh the nutritional benefits of eating meat in the new DIETARY guidelines? Meat provides protein- one of the most satisfying nutrients. Beef alone is packed with 10 essential nutrients and it takes more than twice the calories to get 25 grams of protein from beans, nuts and grains compared to beef.

So when did farmers become so removed from sustainability that we now need a new government advisory committee to define it and tell us what to eat based on what they think about farming? I wonder if any of the experts on the committee have ever actually visited a farm.

A recent study[i] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looks at the huge variation in how we farm around the world. It is not surprising the highest total of livestock related greenhouse gas emissions comes from the developing world, where agriculture practices are less advanced. These other countries account for 75% of the global emissions from cattle. How are these worldwide studies even relevant to our country’s guidelines when it’s our farmers leading the way on improvements in agriculture?

Advancements in science and technology continue to help farmers reduce stress on their animals and land and allow them to make more food with less resources. It now takes 1/3 of an acre to feed one person compared to over 5 acres when my grandpa was just a boy.

Today, we grow five times as much corn per acre as my grandpa did and twice what my dad did. According to Field to Market, since 1980, the energy used to grow a bushel of corn has fallen 43%. That same bushel today also requires 30% less land and 54% less irrigation. We have cut soil erosion more than in half. According to the American Farm Bureau, we grow over 262% more food using 2% fewer inputs than grandpa did. Since 1950, we also make 60% more milk with 16.4 million less dairy cows, using 78% less feed, 65% less water and 90% less land. Biotechnology has helped our farmers reduce CO2 emissions by 39+ billion pounds – the same as removing over 8 million cars from the road in a year. According to Jude Capper and her research[ii] published in the Journal of Animal Science, the carbon footprint of beef production has decreased 16.3% since 1977. According to the National Chicken Council, U.S. chicken farmers use 2 ½ times less land, water, fuel and feed to produce enough chicken to feed 200 million more people than grandpa did.

The list of continued improvements in sustainability in agriculture in the United States could go on and on, and is something we should truly be celebrating.

It seems to me that perhaps sustainability should be left to the real experts –

our very own American farmers.


 [i] Herrero, M., P. Havlik, H. Valin, A. Notenbaert, M.C. Rufino, P.K. Thornton, M. Blummel, F. Weiss, D. Grace, M viagra 24h lieferung. Obersteiner. 2015. Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems. PNAS. 110:20888-20893

[ii] Capper, J.L., 2011. The environmental impact of beef production in the United States: 1977 compared with 2007. J. Anim. Sci. 89:4249-4261