Farmers Union sponsors event bashing agriculture

Taking part in such events serves only to question the relevancy of the NFU in today’s modern agriculture industry

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CALGARY, AB, Jan 5, 2015/ Troy Media/ – Readers will be forgiven for not having heard of a recent obscure green industry event bashing agriculture held in Toronto.

But National Farmers Union (NFU) members might want to pay attention, especially as their hard-earned dollars seem to have been frivolously spent on this green industry political silliness bashing agriculture.

The NFU is identified as a sponsor of an event entitled “Festival of Dangerous Ideas.” Perhaps inane delusional ideas would better describe the event. Then again calling it a “Festival of Fools” would be more appropriate as it brought together a rag-tag collection of green industry lobbyists and ideologues, organic production blowhards and promoters, back-to-the earth hippies, and the usual green utopia dreamers and malcontents.

Self-righteous bashing agriculture

Most of the speakers at the event were self-appointed and self-righteous experts on food and agriculture. Bashing agriculture, especially modern commercial agriculture, was the theme of the meeting, along with the usual conspiracies of world domination by corporate entities, with special emphasis on the evil Monsanto which, ironically, has been the main driver in the worldwide reduction in the use of pesticides and herbicides, and the corresponding increase in crop yields.

A rag-tag collection of green industry lobbyists and ideologues, organic production blowhards, back-to-the earth hippies, and the usual green utopia dreamers and malcontents

But for the folks attending this event, every advance in agricultural production over the past 100 years is vile and must be banned for the sake of human civilization. As expected, genetically engineered (GE) plants, herbicides, pesticides, patented seeds and science in general were cited as the root of all that threatens life on the planet.

The event headliner was Vandana Shiva, an anti-commercial agriculture activist from India. She apparently told event attendees what they wanted to hear: that capitalism and corporate agriculture are to blame for the world’s ills. She advocated a return to some sort of subsistence agriculture based on the socialist concept of “the commons” where everything is shared.

Shiva stated that small diverse organic farms were more productive than modern commercial agriculture operations. If that were true, Africa would be the world’s biggest producer and exporter of food because that continent, after all, outside of South Africa is essentially the world’s largest conglomeration of small organic farmers. It is also true that the continent remains the largest recipient of food aid in the world. Shiva neglected to mention this dichotomy or that virtually all the food aid in the world comes from the commercial agriculture industry that she despises.

These types of green and organic industry booster events are nothing new; the Festival of Dangerous Ideas is no different from events designed to rally the troops and to raise money by bashing agriculture.

Many of the sponsors were the usual suspects, all involved in the green and organic lobbies and most being urban-based with no connection to actual agricultural communities.

What is the NFU thinking?

One does have to wonder why the National Farmers Union would be involved in an essentially anti-agriculture event especially as many of its farmer members, especially in western Canada, would be defined as environmental enemies by the folks involved in this event.

Why any mainstream agricultural organization would want to be associated with the notorious anti-commercial agriculture Sierra Club, one of the sponsors of the event, boggles the mind. Taking part in delusional events like this serves only to question the relevancy of the NFU in today’s modern agriculture industry.

Will Verboven covers rural issues for Troy Media.

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