Farm Bureau: Climate Change a Lie?

Frankly, it’s been a politically demoralizing year–since the “change we want” started not happening last January and 350’s fantasy of global lucidity and responsible bullet-biting bit the dust in Copenhagen last month. It makes one wonder if a vote is worth the trip to the elementary school.
But I can control where my money goes, and some of it will soon go to another provider of homeowner’s insurance. I will no longer be one of the 6 million members of Farm Bureau. While they are doing some things right and I understand their awkward stance between feeding the masses and threats (they deny) to human and global health, I am very disappointed with their stance, culminating at a recent national meeting with the only scheduled session on climate change entitled “Global Warming: A Red Hot Lie?” Climate skeptic Christopher Horner, from the fiery libertarian think tank, Competitive Enterprise Institute, told farmers the data behind global warming is weak.
http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/01/11/11climatewire-farm-bureau-fires-back-against-climate-bills-93758.html
I posted my concerns on Facebook yesterday and have brought that forward for further consideration below.
_______________________________
Fred First:  I am ditching Farm Bureau–guess I’m a “misguided activist” who thinks biz needs to change in face of climate change. http://bit.ly/5Ld0kP
Fred First: I wonder what impact it would have if a number of us encouraged the local chapter to resist the national org’s denialism. Thots?
Reader: There are two issues that are problematic. For one, Farm Bureau is organized state by state. The other is that demographically, “progressive” farmers are a pretty small group and in general, the realities of modern agriculture force most farmers into a position of militant self interest. Even if they could be convinced that climate change will put more of them out of business in the future, they fear the added costs associated with climate legislation will put them out of business sooner (if Monsanto doesn’t sue them first when GMO pollen drifts into their seed crop). We would have to attend some meetings (which are infrequent, I gather) to assess the situation. Not all members are farmers and not all farmers are flat-earthers. I imagine we have a few more progressives in Floyd than some other areas.
Reader: Farmers are a conservative lot. Farm Bureau is reflective of that.
Fred First: I had this conversation the other day. Didn’t “conservative” used to mean wanting to maintain or conserve the status quo? If we don’t make changes to accommodate climate change, “conservatives” won’t keep their tidy ships afloat. It seems contradictory to me. Conservative shouldn’t mean refractory to information that is different from what is desired, hoped or long believed. And yet…
Reader: Fred, I totally agree with you about “conservative.” We see a similar situation in Chambers of Commerce, where the national Chamber is extremely pro-fossil fuel (even though this represents a distinct minority on the board and has led to the departure of high-profile companies), many state groups are not, and local groups (they are all autonomous) are extremely varied. Why should you not favor local farms, conservation, energy efficiency, solar, etc?

Frankly, it’s been a politically demoralizing year–since the “change we want” started not happening last January and 350’s fantasy of global lucidity and responsible bullet-biting bit the dust in Copenhagen last month. It makes one wonder if a vote is worth the trip to the elementary school.

But I can control where my money goes, and some of it will soon go to another provider of homeowner’s insurance. I will no longer be one of the 6 million members of Farm Bureau. While they are doing some things right and I understand their awkward stance between feeding the masses and threats (they deny) to human and global health, I am very disappointed with their stance, culminating at a recent national meeting with the only scheduled session on climate change entitled “Global Warming: A Red Hot Lie?” Climate skeptic Christopher Horner, from the fiery libertarian think tank, Competitive Enterprise Institute, told farmers the data behind global warming is weak. That’s a shame.

I posted my concerns on Facebook yesterday and have brought that forward for further consideration below, with comments from three readers.

_______________________________

Fred First:  I am strongly considering leaving Farm Bureau–guess I’m a “misguided activist” who thinks biz needs to change in face of climate change. http://bit.ly/5Ld0kP

Fred First: I wonder what impact it would have if a number of us encouraged the local chapter to resist the national org’s denialism. Thots?

Reader: There are two issues that are problematic. For one, Farm Bureau is organized state by state. The other is that demographically, “progressive” farmers are a pretty small group and in general, the realities of modern agriculture force most farmers into a position of militant self interest. Even if they could be convinced that climate change will put more of them out of business in the future, they fear the added costs associated with climate legislation will put them out of business sooner (if Monsanto doesn’t sue them first when GMO pollen drifts into their seed crop). We would have to attend some meetings (which are infrequent, I gather) to assess the situation. Not all members are farmers and not all farmers are flat-earthers. I imagine we have a few more progressives in Floyd than some other areas.

Reader: Farmers are a conservative lot. Farm Bureau is reflective of that.

Fred First: I had this conversation the other day. Didn’t “conservative” used to mean wanting to maintain or conserve the status quo? If we don’t make changes to accommodate climate change, “conservatives” won’t keep their tidy ships afloat. It seems contradictory to me. Conservative shouldn’t mean refractory to information that is different from what is desired, hoped or long believed. And yet…

Reader: Fred, I totally agree with you about “conservative.” We see a similar situation in Chambers of Commerce, where the national Chamber is extremely pro-fossil fuel (even though this represents a distinct minority on the board and has led to the departure of high-profile companies), many state groups are not, and local groups (they are all autonomous) are extremely varied. Why should you not favor local farms, conservation, energy efficiency, solar, etc?

Published by fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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6 Comments

  1. You know, I don’t know anything about Farm Bureau (or farming in general, having been raised in Phoenix) but I have heard the stories about Monsanto, and I have to wonder – if Monsanto can sue (and win against) farmers for having GMO pollen drift into their crops, why can’t farmers sue their neighbors for buying Monsanto seed and putting their own crops at risk?

  2. AMEN!! More people need to take a look at the stances of the organizations like the Farm Bureau and Chambers and others and fire them when they no longer represent the member’s interests and values. What’s more, it would be even better if individuals would do the same when it comes time to vote for their local, state and national representatives. Too many wingnuts are in office just because no one pays enough attention to recognize that incumbents and challengers should also be hired and fired one vote at a time. If their actions don’t match their slick commercials and mailers – call them on it. Don’t let the crazies who make the most noise or the long established and “recognized” organizations speak for you when you disagree with them.

  3. Try to create change within the organization rather than resigning from it, Fred. That’s what I say.

  4. Y’all are dolts! Are you not reading? Are you not paying attention to Climategate? Are you not paying attention to the lining of pockets of Gore, Obama, Clinton’s etc through the Chicago Exchange? What the hell are you thinking?

    Moreover, the Farm Bureau has taken this Democratic concocted meme in stride. They are attempting to understand both sides of this crappola totally made up out of whole cloth to make the rich richer. Read! Get your head out of Floyd and go beyond to understand how devastating cap and tax is to our economy, our families, and our friends.

    Sick to death of misinformed people who choose not to research and understand what the real game is behind AGW. Learn it. All info is out there. Get off your duffs and do your own damned homework.

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