Saturday, August 23, 2014

The End Game

Recently after a speaking engagement I was asked a simple question. What is the end game for those who oppose modern agriculture? I have spent a good portion of my life advocating for agriculture, telling our story and trying to dispel some of the misinformation dogging modern food and fiber production. All the while, I never put a lot of thought into why anyone would try to tear apart the very farms and ranches trying to produce the food the world desperately needs.
I formulated an answer and I know it was the best I could do at the time but it was not nearly adequate. Since then I have had many hours of dashboard time to put a more thoughtful response together. What is the end game of those who would oppose modern agriculture? Ultimately I am not exactly sure. One thing I am sure of is that is not a simple or an easy answer.
Most of the people opposing modern agriculture probably have the best of intentions. They are our friends and neighbors responding to misinformation that is readily available. We can go into the ills and the evils of social media, the internet and instant information, but we will save that for another day. This misinformation can transform the most well-meaning person into an “expert” very rapidly. They really don’t have any training on the topic or understand the science but have latched on to rumors, myths or outright lies that seem to be propagated on the internet. They proceed to spread this misinformation to their friends much like a virus in an elementary school.
So what is their end game? Really I think they are just concerned and worried about their health, their family’s health and the environment around them. This concern is heightened and whipped into frenzy by so called, mostly self-proclaimed “experts” who really have no better grasp on the truth than the people reading or listening to them. They have a theory or an idea and they utilize whatever means available to them to share it with anyone willing to listen.
What is the end game for these “experts”? In many cases it is money. They are selling a diet, a book, have a TV show or trying to make money off of their unproven theories. Others probably are in it for the notoriety and fame. They like having people hold them up as experts and live for the attention. In either case they really don’t care what damage they do or who they hurt as long as they fulfill their need for money and fame. But where do they get their information and ideas?
We can all name a few of the large organizations who pose the biggest threat to agriculture. It is these organizations that I struggle with and especially in the context of the question. What exactly is the end game for these massive anti-agriculture groups? I believe some of their end game is exactly the same as those who peddle their ideas and knowledge. The people at the very top of these organizations are quite wealthy and famous, I am sure they are motivated by that to a certain extent.
But I fear that their motivation and their ultimate desired ending goes well beyond fame and fortune.
They want to change our world in ways that many of us cannot imagine and I hope cannot tolerate. Anyone should be able to recognize that without modern agriculture and the advances in technology that we cannot even begin to feed a growing world population and the implications of not being able to feed everyone is scary.
I am not entirely sure of what the desired end game is for the really hard core anti-agriculture activists, I am not sure I want to understand. What I do understand is my goal and the goals of my fellow farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists. We are driven by the need to produce the food and fiber needed by our ever-growing world population to survive. We desire to produce a healthy, wholesome, abundant food supply while protecting our valuable natural resources. Yes, we farm and ranch to make a living, but I truly think most of us are spurred on by the basic need for what we do.
I also am sure that if we take just a little time to share our love and our passion for what we do and mix it in with the science and facts of why we do what we do. We will win over much of the opposition. What is their end game? I am not sure, but I know my ultimate end game is to be a proud producer of the food we all need.

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