The Agvocates are Getting Their Agses Kicked
Over the past year the media has been telling the U.S. consumer to stop eating beef. This month the message peaked with an anti-beef article in every major news outlet imaginable. At what point do agricultural organizations start taking this seriously? At what point will beef industry media members start telling their readers what is really going on?
By Jim Mundorf
For those who don’t know, the agvocate is a cute little name someone came up with for folks that are advocating for agriculture. Now I’m kind of old fashioned and like things spelled out, but if J-Lo and A-Rod can make things work, I guess I’ll give it a shot. Most are small farmers and ranchers and each has their own way of agvocating. The problem most people who work in agriculture have is after the long days they put in, they don’t have a lot of time for agvocating. So most have joined some sort of organization or association that claims to be the voice of the farmer or rancher. These organizations have newsletters and magazines that are supposed to be keeping the agvocates informed. They are the advocate for the agvocates. So the agvocates join up, pay their dues, go to meetings and conventions and assume they are being kept up to speed on the goings on in the industry. The problem is right now the folks agvocating for livestock agriculture are currently getting their agricultural asses (agses) handed to them, and I’m not sure they even realize it.
The Beat Down
Over the past year the number of news stories telling people to eat less meat has been completely overwhelming. Then on January 16 the EAT Lancet Commission report was published and the true the misinformation onslaught began. Here are the headlines from the big boys.
NBC News January 16 2019, Planetary diet: Save the planet and lives by eating less meat, more vegetables
CBS News January 17 2019, Change your diet to help the planet, experts say
ABC News January 22 2019, A plant-based diet benefits not only humans but the Earth, too: Report
Fox News January 17 2019, New diet recommendations say to cut your red meat consumption in half
CNN January 17 2019, New 'planetary health diet' can save lives and the planet, major review suggests
Those are just the biggest names in news. Within one week nearly every major news outlet imaginable published something telling their readers to eat less meat. Now I have never heard of the EAT Lancet commission before and I honestly could care less about who they are and what they say. Like everything else coming out they are obviously biased, as reported in the article, Majority of EAT-Lancet Authors (>80%) Favored Vegan/Vegetarian Diets. This isn’t new. In December CNN did a feature article, The Beef With Beef- “Beef isn't good for the planet. But you probably knew that already.” (Pretty much every single sentence in this entire article is factually incorrect.) CNN’s twitter feed tells their followers to eat less meat constantly. Both Forbes and Fortune magazines are continuously churning out anti- beef articles. Forbes has posted two in the past 10 days. The Economist magazine is a vegan propaganda machine, complete with their own food truck that goes around handing out plant based meat alternatives (they literally have to give it away.) Its not just national outlets either. In October my local Newspaper the Omaha World Herald, the largest newspaper in the 2nd largest beef producing state, told their readers to eat less meat, on the front page. This is happening everywhere.
Its always about the money
Why is this happening? One thing I learned in my short time in Journalism school is that most national journalists are lazy sacks of trash (not all, but most.) They don’t go out looking for stories. They sit at their desks wading through press releases looking for something that they completely agree with or something that could be easily reworded and published to meet a deadline. The cattle is destroying the world press releases are being pushed by fake meat companies, to which there seem to be more of everyday. None of these companies seem to be anywhere close to profitable but they are all flush with cash from investors. This money is obviously being used to hire PR firms and develop marketing campaigns. These companies are shoveling the, cattle are going to kill us all story line, into newsrooms as fast and furiously as they can, and its working.
Around this time last year one of the worlds largest agriculture corporations, Cargill, announced its investment in a company called Puris. In Cargill’s own press release posted on their website, Puris President Tyler Lorenzen said “Cargill is investing in everything PURIS stands for.” This seems pretty news worthy considering what Puris actually stands for goes against everything the vast majority of Cargill’s customers in the agricultural community believe. If you go to Puris’s website you can easily find what they stand for. Here are some screen shots:
So there it is, anti-meat, anti-diary, and anti-GMO. Cargill has completed the trifecta of flipping off every major sector of their customers in agriculture. Cargill is a beef packer, they sell feed to diaries, they buy and sell GMO grain, and offer grain marketing consulting to farmers that raise GMO grains. Now they are helping finance a company that is actively campaigning against all three of those sectors. Does this sound like news? Does this sound like something that farmers and ranchers doing business with Cargill should be made aware of? Does this sound like the perfect chance for the agvocates to do some agvocating and push back against people slandering and lying about them? Seems like it, but as far as I can tell this story was completely ignored by all of the organizations, associations and journalists in the agriculture industry. And its not the first time.
Know Your Enemy
Around about the time Cargill was investing in Puris I was looking into another investment they made in Memphis Meats. Last year I wrote, Tyson Foods Joins Cargill in Turning Their Backs on Farmers and Ranchers it explains their investments in companies who’s stated goal is to end the livestock industry. The two largest beef packers in the world investing in multiple companies that want to end the beef industry was mind blowing news to me. But apparently it wasn’t news, because it was barely mentioned in the Ag industry media. A few articles have been written about the fake meat business since and some even mention the Tyson and Cargill investments, but they do so in passing as if it isn’t a big deal, that the people buying livestock are financing the marketing campaigns against the people they are buying cattle from.
In June Burt Rutherford, the editor for Beef Magazine wrote the article, We have met the enemy and it's fake meat companies. Then in October Alan Newport, Editor of Beef Producer magazine wrote the article, Here’s the ugly truth about fake meat. Both articles take strong stances against fake meat, and are filled with good information. They are right, the enemy is fake meat, and the truth is ugly. What they forget to do is tell their readers who is helping finance the enemy. Neither article mentions one damn thing about the Tyson or Cargill investments. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN! How in the hell can you work for a Beef magazine, write an article about the evils of fake meat and not mention that two of the largest beef packing companies in the world are investors in multiple fake meat companies. Leaving a key part of the story out for whatever reason is bullshit. That is a story that should be on the front cover of every Beef publication out there. That’s not something you forget to mention. That is something that is purposefully left out, and its bullshit, because the readers, many of whom are doing business with these assholes, deserve to know.
The Abject Agvocating Failure
I’d be willing to bet anyone they can’t find a group of people more passionate about their jobs than farmers and ranchers. There just aren’t words to describe the love they have for the land and the work they do. Through social media some have done an amazing job of sharing what they do and promoting their industry. Unfortunately that isn’t enough. I don’t think any of the agriculture organizations or their members realize how bad they are failing. If you don’t think they are failing scroll back up and read the headlines from the biggest news organizations in the country. Right now, every major national news outlet in the country is consistently running articles about how consumers need to eat less meat. When that happens everyone in the livestock industry that calls themselves an advocate for agriculture is failing.
The Fight Goes On
I don’t like to christen myself with titles but since starting this website I’ve been advocating pretty hard for the people of agriculture. So if any would like to slap the agvocate label on me I would proudly wear it, and throw myself in as part of the failure. At this point the only thing to do is pick our agses up off the mat and get back in the fight. I’m going to start by sending this article to everyone I can find in the Agvocating business, to let them know how I feel. I’m sure there are plenty that won’t like it but maybe some might realize that things need to change. Next I will be contacting every livestock industry media member that I can find and ask them for a story on why Tyson and Cargill are investing into companies that seem to want to destroy their own industries. I will also continue to dig into these investments and write about them, but I know there are people who are much better connected than I, that could probably do a better job. I hope they try. I will also be contacting every beef organization and association I can find and ask them just what the hell are they doing to correct all the misinformation that is being spread through the media about beef. How many press releases and marketing campaigns are being put together to push back against this negative onslaught? What are they doing to correct the record and tell the consumer why meat is important? Right now, the biggest beef convention in the country is going on down in New Orleans and while all the agvocating, hand shaking and back patting goes on down there, I hope they don’t forget about the little guys back home that are haying, feeding, breaking ice, and trying to squeak out a living. They are in need of some serious advocates, now more than ever.