Food, Politics, Lies, and the Truth

“A lie can travel halfway across the planet in the time the truth is still putting on its trousers.” — Winston Churchill

Anyone can say anything negative about modern agriculture and have it be believed. Correcting erroneous beliefs is a much greater challenge. You will be surprised at some of these issues that we believe to be factual, but may not be.

What would an individual or organization have to gain by creating a misconception? They may be well-intentioned and believe what they are saying or not so well-intentioned.  Their purpose may be far from obvious.

Manipulation of fear may drive their success. If they can use public fear or outrage to gain attention, they are viewed as credible, more people join their efforts, and more money is raised. They gain in many ways. Interest groups use fear to generate funding and membership support.

The mass media feed into this cycle. They want headlines to gain readers and viewers. How many people would wait anxiously to the teaser, “Tune in later, the world is safe, the environment healthy, everyone is well fed.”

Lastly, most of us accept what we read or hear without further questions because that is the easiest, most passive thing to do. Then we get on with all of the more important stuff in our busy lives.

— passage from Addressing Misconception About Agriculture from American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

Whether it be the elections or agriculture issues, I think those words above are something to take into consideration.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill


  1. Good comment, Ryan. Men have been listening to lies about/from politicians since the beginning of time. Just check out the book, John Adams, by David McCoullough, if you think this political season has been the worst. Far from it. The ‘war’ on agriculture is no less dirty and rife with lies – and appalling. First of all, I don’t understand it. Food is one of three things we must have to exist, along with air and water, and farmers provide that food in abundance and with knowledge and expertise. People should be grateful there are so many willing to do it. And second, we have so many means of communicating with consumers today that they are bombarded with these lies from every source . I guess we just have to keep hammering away at the truth of it and making sure we have the true facts, and hope our message gets through. Thanks for all you do. Keep up your good work.

  2. Ryan, the “Manipulation of fear may drive their success.” … paragraph reminds me of Hitler’s rise to power.

    I think you have made some really good points with this post. We need to research issues and make educated dicisions. Once damage is done it’s hard to regain the confidence that was lost by the American Public. LFTB is an example of this.

    I pray for a President, Industry Leaders and Others that will lead America in the right direction.

  3. Great post. Winston Churchill is one of my favorite historical figures to quote, right along Theodore Roosevelt. One of Roosevelt’s quotes that got me through undergrad when I was sure I was going to fail was, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

    Agriculture is fantastic at doing this to produce the goods we use, but sometimes we need to reaffirm our resolve to continue that outside of production, in communication and advocacy. Our work in combating fear mongering media outlets is huge, but the fight is worth it.

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate all you do for agriculture!

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