Tuesday, March 30, 2004

NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release
Contact: Trent Loos, Faces of Agriculture 970-481-1389 or trent@loostales.com
Date: March 30, 2004

Farm Aid finances lawsuits against farm families

LOUP CITY, Neb. – Farm Aid, a non-profit organization founded by country music legend Willie Nelson to help struggling family farmers, is now funneling the money it generates toward anti-agricultural groups that file lawsuits against the very farmers Nelson claims to be helping, according to pro-agriculture crusader Trent Loos.

Nelson’s group has raised millions of dollars at Farm Aid concerts across the country since the organization began in 1985. More than $17 million has been contributed to various groups in 44 different states. But a recent investigation into these contributions revealed that much of the money is going to organizations engaged in litigation against farmers.

“It is an atrocity that someone can use the phrase ‘helping family farmers’ to generate millions of dollars and then turn around and use that money to finance the demise of those agricultural operations,” said Loos, founder of Faces of Agriculture. “People need to be aware of how their contributions to Farm Aid are really being used. This money is not helping farmers but litigating them out of business.”

For example: Farm Aid has funded the radical Illinois Stewardship Alliance, whose goal is to “protect the health and well-being of rural communities from the negative results of livestock production facilities.” Farm Aid also donates money to the Concerned Citizens of Iowa (CCI), a group that brags on its Web site, “At the local level, CCI helped pass factory farm moratoriums in four counties and passed ordinances in four other counties.” CCI has been instrumental in filing 14 lawsuits against farmers in Iowa, a record, for one group, according to Iowa Ag Law experts.

Funds generated under the auspices of helping farm families have also been donated to groups such as the Dakota Resource Council, Northern Plains Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC).

“These groups are working to prohibit development and research in the application of genetically modified crops,” Loos said, “developments that could potentially help mitigate world hunger problems and greatly reduce pesticide use.”

Farm Aid’s Web site includes numerous photos and passages from Farm Sanctuary, an organization that promotes a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. In a recent CMT documentary about Farm Aid, “Voice for Animals” was listed in the credits. ”Voice for Animals” is an outspoken supporter for the “liberation” of all animals – including livestock.

“By propagating the myth of ‘factory farms’ and opposing technologies such as genetic modification and food irradiation -- developed to benefit of consumers and producers -- Farm Aid has taken a stand against farmers of all sizes, who are working to do what is best for the environment and the people they feed,” Loos said.

Faces of Agriculture is a non-profit organization with the mission of returning the human element to food production.
For more information, visit our Web site at www.FacesOfAg.com call 970-481-1389 or write to P.O. Box 545 Loup City, NE 68853
Dear Editor,

If the voices of Ingrid Newkirk and Madeline Murray O’Hare can be heard and make a major impact on this country and the world, then so can mine!

My husband and I are CO-managers of two swine co-ops in northern Illinois. We love our jobs as farm managers and parents. Both of which are equally tasking in this day and age, mainly because we strive for excellence in all aspects of both jobs. At home we want our children to grow up strong, self-sufficient, nonjudgmental and tolerant of others. At work we want to be and train our employees to be good stewards of the environment and resource conservationists, and excellent animal welfare providers.

I have a hard time watching the evening news or reading the paper because more than the majority of information being given to me is about horrifying acts bad decisions and accidents that result in pain and suffering to others. The philosophy of “Blood, Gore and Smut Sells,” has become increasingly disturbing to me. I don’t want my children to grow up believing that what they see on television or read in the papers is the norm, just as I am tired of the bad press CAFO’s have received because the few bad acts and accidents that have occurred are being deemed “The Norm.”

Yes bad accidents have happened and unspeakable acts have also occurred within this industry, but that is absolutely not the norm. When we (members of the industry) are informed of a major accident or an individuals cruelty to animals, we are just as upset or appalled as the rest of the nation. Please don’t stereotype all pork producers as being cruel people or poor managers. To do so would be the same as classifying everyone who lives in Chicago as being murderers, rapists or child abusers, because that is all we hear about in the news. That sounds absurd doesn’t it!? But that is how I feel about “bad press.”

I am speaking out against all “Bad Press” and “Half-truth Activists” who only give us scary information and horrifying acts which feed the nation’s growing morbid curiosity. Activists against confinement operations have printed studies that say; approximately 25% of employees who work on confinement operations have one or more respiratory conditions. That is a half-truth. The study leaves out the fact that nationwide studies show that approximately 25% of the nations population in general have one or more respiratory conditions.

I know the people of this country who sign some of these crazy petitions are not ignorant, they just assume if it’s printed in the paper or on the news, it must be true. We need to take the time to ask more questions or look up this information for ourselves. We as a nation have become too tolerant of self-serving activists, that we are losing OUR RIGHT to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

If you are going to STAND UP or SPEAK UP, please make all of the facts available. And if you are going to listen, please ask questions and look for other resources to become completely informed before following that crowd or signing that petition. We as a nation can not just stand by and let ourselves become victim to the self-righteous and self-serving.



Christine Grenter
Mendota, IL