Follow the Money & Find the Motive

LarrySailer_KickoffThe fight over food this past week seems to have stepped it up a notch! The Food Babe is all over my news feed for her views on some type of food or another. Last week she posted her findings from an “investigation” into Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. That post went viral and continues to be a hot topic.

Food fights have reached a new level, which brings to mind why I try so hard to listen and bridge the communication gap between consumers and producers. In Michele Payn-Knoper’s (pronounced “Pain – Ka-nope-r”) book, No More Food Fights, I’m quoted as saying, “A conversation must include listening. I need to know the concerns of people and to learn how they view what I do.”

While I listen to promote greater understanding of farming to consumers, many celebrities and well-known “experts” like Dr. Oz and influential businesses don’t. They knock different foods to promote ideas that get attention. The Food Babe would lose her fan base if she actually listened and understood. Stores like Whole Foods wouldn’t be in business unless some consumers could be persuaded to believe that ” mainstream products are bad for you.

The food conversation is no longer about the truth. It is about making money!

Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is another good example of someone who uses emotions to sway others’ thoughts and actions. His organization shows pictures of scared little kitties and abused dogs on late-night TV, and then asks you to donate $19/month. The truth is, HSUS uses emotion to raise money to pad retirement funds and to hire lobbyists.  Only one half of one percent of funds raised by HSUS goes toward animal care!

Now Pacelle is trying to impact how I raise pigs. He’s painting a picture of how horrible farmers like me treat pigs just so his organization is able to raise funds. For 50 years, I have continually tried to improve how I raise pigs. If it were as bad as Pacelle claims, I’d be out of business!

GMO is another buzzword. How many people have ever been harmed by GMOs? None! How many people are harmed every day because they don’t have access to GMOs? Literally millions… People who live in poverty suffer from Vitamin A deficiency resulting in compromised immune systems. Yet activists have let “fear of the unknown” trump pure facts. Somehow we must learn how to use science-based information with emotion!

We also must uncover scams. If we follow the money trail, we’ll find the activists’ motives. Not only is this true as it relates to food, but it also applies to the environment. There is so much misinformation about conservation and water quality. For example, CEO and General Manager of the Des Moines Water Works Bill Stowe seems to know all about how farmers are polluting the drinking water for Greater Des Moines. Just ask him! He can show you “proof” with all kinds of charts and graphs. Why? His objective is to secure more money for his operations. The worse he can make the water quality look, the more funds he can acquire!

Americans must read, listen and analyze. Question the “experts.” Examine multiple sources. Uncover the truth.  Don’t assume something you read on the internet is actually true. Consider the source — and the motive behind the source. Follow the money trail!

P.S. Farmers must enter the food conversation.