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The Harder They Spin: What USFRA Wants Us to Believe and Why It’s Still Not the Truth

I recently wrote  about attending the Food Dialogues, a national “conversation about food” hosted by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a new trade association funded by some of the biggest players in the food industry—including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dupont, and Monsanto. There have been a number of comments on my post. I wanted to respond to one in particular from Hugh Whaley, USFRA’s General Manager.

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Who’s Behind the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and Why It Matters

On Thursday, September 22, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a new trade association made up of some of the biggest players in the food industry—including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dupont, and Monsanto—hosted what they called “Food Dialogues” in Washington D.C., New York City, U.C. Davis, and Fair Oaks, Indiana.

The USFRA describes the Food Dialogues, and their broader multi-million dollar media campaign, as an effort to amplify the voice of farmers and ranchers and help consumers know more about “how their food is grown and raised.”

Sounds good, on first blush.

Most of us are in the dark when it comes to the story of our food. And, farmers and ranchers—the people working hard every day to bring us our food—are nearly invisible in mainstream media. But dig into the Alliance’s membership, and its impetus for forming, and you start to wonder whether it truly represents the voices of grassroots food producers or whether this well-funded media campaign is agribusinesses latest attempt to push back against well-documented and well-publicized concerns about the environmental and health consequences of industrial agriculture. Read more