Misdirected "spokespeople" hurt agriculture

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I saw a post on Twitter recently from a celebrity (Kaley Cuoco), which said people need to take action and stop the Farm Bill and the King Amendment. Of course, it was an endorsement for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). As I clicked on the link and read about the King Amendment, it became clear to me that movie stars should not be spokespeople for what agriculturists do. There are some things in the King Amendment that I do not agree with, but there are things in this bill that allow us to be a top producing country in meat. It frustrates me that people who have never seen or worked on an animal operation can back these things up. I take pride in what I do and because celebrities say it is bad, without background knowledge, people will take their word for it because they are popular.

It scares me to see how uneducated Americans are about what goes on in the agricultural industry. I take for granted my knowledge of where food comes from and the lengths we go through to get it. I take for granted that agriculture is the basis of our country and without it we would crumble.

People just don’t understand how great we have it here in the United States. We pay about 11 percent of our income on food. Most countries pay three times that amount. In my life, I strive to be an advocate of agriculture and want to help this nation learn that what we do is helping the world. I want to educate America on how important farmers and animal producers are to this country and the world.

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Ina    
July, 09, 2013 at 08:33 AM

nice comment, but is this experience not a common movement in saturated society? Goverments in Europe can win with topics like animal welfare, bad environmental agriculture and so on.

Steve Kopperud    
Washington, DC  |  July, 09, 2013 at 08:59 AM

The good news is surveys/polling tell us most of America rarely listens to celebrities when it comes to these kind of poltical issues in that the position of the movie crowd is pretty much assumed. Think about the one of biggest challenges in getting a House farm bill passed -- for the first time, less than half the sitting House was around for the 2008 Farm Bill...they don't understand what we do let alone what USDA programs mean in the context of those endeavors. Blogging on ag sites is good, but it isn't where we should be expending our energy. Get on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and start talking about what you, how well you do it, etc. Debunk rumors and urban myths, and use facts to do it, not inflammatory rhetoric or wild accusations...we get enough of our folks talking out loud to the general public, we'd start to turn this tide of ignorance...

Tonia    
Iowa  |  July, 09, 2013 at 09:14 AM

It's so frustrating to hear people talk about agriculture who've never been on a farm or even talked to a farmer. Somehow it's been accepted by the mainstream that anyone involved in agriculture is somehow evil or bought-and-paid-for by Monsanto and therefore anything we say is irrelevant. At the same time, the public accepts the word of animal rights activist (who, by the way, think that keeping pets is abuse) and actors as gospel. Sometimes I think they deserve to live with the the reality they keep advocating - food that is scarce, expensive and not very tasty.

Son-of-Butch    
brucetucholke@hotmail.com  |  July, 09, 2013 at 10:41 AM

FUNNY. Article about 'misdirected' spokesmen, by person who says "I want to educate" using hyper bowl and passing off misperception as fact. "Most countries pay 33% of income on food"??? China, where most people live, spent 23% of income on food in 2011. India 29% Mexico 25% Brazil 18% France 17% South Korea 15% Both Britian & USA averaged spending exactly $6.14 per person per day on food. Yes, USA averaged 4% higher household income than Britian...BUT would you care to take a guess on how much more Americans spent on health care??? By the way, Britian is 27th in the world for life expectancy, USA 33rd and Canada is in the top 10. So, don't give me that Kool-Aid to drink about how the average health care in USA is so much better. "It scares me to see how uneducated Americans are about what goes on in the agricultural industry." Well, it scares me to see how uneducated Americans are about what goes on in the rest of the world!

michael    
kansas  |  July, 09, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Ms. Zabel - While your desire to educate is laudable, it's too little - too late - too ineffective for where we are today. Reasonable voices and dry academic presentations are wasted resources in the face of our enemies' (they are ENEMIES, not ignorant and poorly informed naieves) professional, sophisticated, extremely well-financed Pubic Relations/Propaganda Attacks. Aggressive Counter-ATTACKS, supported by whatever "celebrities", popular culture tools and legal means are available, are the only way to climb out of the pit modern agriculture is in now. Our ultimate customers are almost indescribably gullible, to the point where they can be easily manipulated to act illogically, against their own self-interests, if "The Cause" they're being "sold" has enough screeching pop stars (carefully coached by handlers and publicists) as "salespersons". If you truly want to, "Educate America", you need to get busy recruiting our own media stars and popular media, and helping them get more face-time with those Americans now in the grips of PETA, HSUS, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc., etc., etc. Time is short, the clock is ticking.

michael    
kansas  |  July, 09, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Steve - Where do you get this "good news" smoke you're blowing? Our Enemies are not idiots and the 10$ of Million$ their experienced publicists and media specialists are spending to put Pamela Anderson, Paul McCartney, Jessica Biel, Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin in front of Urban America - especially the young - are not being wasted. If you think otherwise, you need to wake-up and smell the $6.00, mocha-latte-half-caf-whip and $5, low-cal chocolate chip muffins. "Getting On" social media to "debunk" with "facts" is a sucker's game. You will simply be shouted down by the overwhelming millions of acolyte trolls using pseudo-science and scare tactics, along with accusations that anyone who disputes them are simply "tools of industry" and minions of "monsanto"... or whoever their latest Evil Corporate effigy is. Don't be foolish and waste your time on dry, academic presentations by experts. Find some celebrities of our own, and make sure they are Popular, Intelligent, Well-Spoken... And Really, Really Popular.

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  July, 09, 2013 at 04:09 PM

And yet Son, you don't cite a single source for YOUR statistics, nor address extenuating circumstances such as state control of food prices in some nations and the difference if food class and quality. Anyway, before you get to flared up at Allison, you might want to read her statement with comprehension in mind and notice that she talked about countries, not population. Then review the chart which shows there are a lot of countries paying a percentage at least triple the U.S. figure. http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/WSMaug11_billions.pdf (See I used a reference. You can too.)

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  July, 09, 2013 at 04:22 PM

Easy Michael. Kopperud is fairly successful in the pubic relations business. His company has one or two pretty big clients ( http://www.policydirections.com/clients.php ). I agree with you that agriculte needs to make more and better use of celebrities as spokes people. But you should be aware that social media is an extremely important tool for getting out the message and countering false messages. If it wasn't effective, you wouldn't see those celebrities that you want to engage using social media to build their personal brand. See http://socialmediatoday.com/philcohen4/1541596/how-celebrities-use-social-media-build-their-brand If you don't think social media works, how do you explain the popularity of a person like Justin Bieber?

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  July, 09, 2013 at 04:27 PM

So Allison, I'm curious. Since you are obviously concerned about Kaley Cuoco being misinformed and propogating her ill formed opinion, did you try to engage her to correct her lack of knowledge? Could you perhaps get her out on a farm for a few days so she can get a little knowledge in her head, experience under her belt and poop on her boots? I am thinking that direct outreach to the message makers is the surest way to get them onto diseminating accurate information.

jmcv02    
manhattan,ks  |  July, 09, 2013 at 06:26 PM

Son-of-Butch= You seem to be calling the kettle black because actually using current data all your figures are wrong. The US actually spends 9.4% of income on food with 6.6% used on food consumed at home while Britain was about 9.7%. Canada was also not in the top 10 for life expectancy either, and Britain barely edged us out with only a year and change difference in expectancy.. If you wanna whine about our healthcare you should realize that our patient survival rates are higher then just about ALL OTHER COUNTRIES. Breast Cancer mortality is 88% higher in the UK than US. Prostate cancer mortality is 604% higher in the UK than the US, Colorectal cancer mortality is 40% higher in the UK than the US and those are just a few of the most common cancers. Another example is 56% of Americans who could benefit from the use of statins are currently using them compared to only 23% of Britons. Also 9 of the last 10 important medical procedures (MRI, statins, hip,knee replacement, just to name a few) were partially or fully developed in the US. Only 5 times in the last 34 years has a scientist not living in the US not shared or won the Nobel prize in medicine or physiology. Since youre so happy with Great Britain and Canada heres a fact you might like, "70% of British and Canadian adults state their healthcare system needs a fundmental change or complete rebuilding". Yes the US healthcare has to deal with escalating costs and the uninsured but we can solve our own problems we need the British or Canadians to hinder us. Facts don't lie but liberals do.....

jmcv02    
manhattan,ks  |  July, 09, 2013 at 06:26 PM

Son-of-Butch= You seem to be calling the kettle black because actually using current data all your figures are wrong. The US actually spends 9.4% of income on food with 6.6% used on food consumed at home while Britain was about 9.7%. Canada was also not in the top 10 for life expectancy either, and Britain barely edged us out with only a year and change difference in expectancy.. If you wanna whine about our healthcare you should realize that our patient survival rates are higher then just about ALL OTHER COUNTRIES. Breast Cancer mortality is 88% higher in the UK than US. Prostate cancer mortality is 604% higher in the UK than the US, Colorectal cancer mortality is 40% higher in the UK than the US and those are just a few of the most common cancers. Another example is 56% of Americans who could benefit from the use of statins are currently using them compared to only 23% of Britons. Also 9 of the last 10 important medical procedures (MRI, statins, hip,knee replacement, just to name a few) were partially or fully developed in the US. Only 5 times in the last 34 years has a scientist not living in the US not shared or won the Nobel prize in medicine or physiology. Since youre so happy with Great Britain and Canada heres a fact you might like, "70% of British and Canadian adults state their healthcare system needs a fundmental change or complete rebuilding". Yes the US healthcare has to deal with escalating costs and the uninsured but we can solve our own problems we need the British or Canadians to hinder us. Facts don't lie but liberals do.....

Son-of-Butch    
July, 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Hi jmcv, Yes I mistakenly of used 2011 data. Updating to 2013 you are right sir, Canada has fallen from top 10 to 13th in life expectancy. The U.K. is 30th and USA fell from 37th and is now 51st! According to cia.gov/library World Fact Book. Survival rates? Enjoy your KOOL-AID. USA has the highest INFANT MORTALITY of industrial countries and ranks 50th out of 224 countries worldwide.

Son-of-Butch    
July, 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Sure I like Canada and Canadians, they have always been good friends and allies to the USA. But if I mentioned Australia or New Zealand... Well if you have ever watched 'Jay-Walking' or Jimmy Kimmel's 'Lie-Witness News' you know how it would go...with the American educational system being what it is, a large % would say... Australia? Isn't that where Hitler was born? New Zealand maybe a good number could find it on a world map. But I would bet 94.4% of high school graduates could not find the location of its' namesake ZEALAND if their life depended on it.

michael    
kansas  |  July, 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

SoB - You mean SEELAND? An obscure, common and undistinguished part of Denmark that even people in Europe are mostly unaware of? That (aka) Zealand? Let me guess. You majored in Geography in college (or Statistics?), and have been frustrated in finding a high status job that pays you what you're "worth", while all the "idiots" around you succeed? Your bitter, corrosive assaults on those you consider beneath you are a waste of your obvious intelligence and education. Try being helpful and informative rather than dismissive and arrogant. Flies + sugar = catch more?

michael    
kansas  |  July, 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

SoB - You mean SEELAND? An obscure, common and undistinguished part of Denmark that even people in Europe are mostly unaware of? That (aka) Zealand? Let me guess. You majored in Geography in college (or Statistics?), and have been frustrated in finding a high status job that pays you what you're "worth", while all the "idiots" around you succeed? Your bitter, corrosive assaults on those you consider beneath you are a waste of your obvious intelligence and education. Try being helpful and informative rather than dismissive and arrogant. Flies + sugar = catch more?

Son-of-Butch    
July, 11, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Sure Tommy Boy, Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Croatia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, Uzbekistan and many other 3rd world countries pay triple or more. Good Point Sir. You are right. USA, USA, USA number 1 rah, rah, rah [compared to 3rd world countries, yeah... way to shoot for the stars]

S-o-b    
July, 11, 2013 at 01:07 PM

er...Zealand, largest Island of Denmark and home of it's national capital Copenhagen the country's cultural center and Denmark's most populous city. But nice of you to dismiss it as obscure and unimportant.

jmcv02    
manhattan, ks  |  July, 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM

Son-of-Butch: I guess research much of anything eludes you if it doesn't suit your ideals. The life expectancy spread is less then two years from Canada to the US so whatever if you think thats a big difference. The survival rates are a documented facts so if you prefer cheaper healthcare to better patient survival rates don't get sick and expect your single payer healthcare system to save you. As smart as you make yourself out to be a little research would tell you the US healthcare system is only a small factor in the infant mortality rate. On a good note the US survival rate for high risk infants is still higher then your beloved Canada or Britain.


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