house fly

Activist groups not much different than a fly

We’ve all experienced it: that one fly that simply will not leave you alone. It buzzes around your head, lands repeatedly on the same exact spot - your ear, and effectively makes a royal nuisance of itself until you either evacuate it from the pickup or end its life in a rather unceremonious manner.

There are those who consistently argue against agriculture and other business practices in America that are much like the insect.

Many such pests seem to be buzzing California’s almond industry (and agriculture in general) these days as some liken the state’s largest nut crop to a “growing empire,” and other science-fiction terms meant to conjure up evil and nefarious motives.

To address these falsehoods and hyperbole is to take away from capital and effort that could be better spent elsewhere, but sadly, it must happen.

Food & Water Watch (FWW), which bills itself as a non-profit organization that champion’s healthy food and clean water for all, issued perhaps one of the more ridiculous statements I’ve seen in a long time, as California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. was calling on legislation to address the state’s drought crisis.

Critical of the Governor’s call to spend a billion dollars to address water issues in California, a press release from FWW said Gov. Brown needs to “place real limits on the state’s most egregious water users – the agriculture and oil industries.”

In the midst of their absurd call to limit water use by farmers, there is a news flash - farmers had their surface irrigation deliveries cut to zero last year and have been promised as much this year.  It's difficult to take seriously groups that repeatedly lie about Ag water use.

The use of hyperbole by claiming that California is “giving a free pass to agriculture and oil companies” to over-pump and pollute groundwater sources. Statements that suggest the almond industry is merely exporting water overseas through the shipment of almonds are like the fly-in-the-face and useless in their purported mission to promote safe and clean food and water.

Let’s be real: the published mission statements of groups like this are not their real goals.

Producing safe and healthy food is foremost in the minds of growers because they know full well that it’s what their buyers want and continue to demand through regulatory fiat and trade agreements.

Attend any meeting where food marketing is discussed and issues quickly turn to safe pesticide residue limits and export requirements regarding a host of food safety issues.

Because they have a legitimate desire to profit from their operations it’s appalling to think that American farmers would deliberately do something to harm crop yields or make food otherwise unmarketable.

I find it ironic the groups that complain about “corporate interests” under the premise that their legal quest for profits is evil are just as eager to “profit” through their quests for government grants and private donations.

How else can groups like FWW go from a start-up in 2005 to more than 60 staff members today unless they find ways to generate income to support that staff and their costly activist efforts?

How much more could Ag organizations do to promote marketing efforts, research and development and other beneficial activities if they weren't forced to respond to and address antagonists who make ridiculous statements and claims under complete impunity?

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