A few weeks ago, Dave Kruschke, St. Croix County Farm Bureau president, wrote to tell us the climate bills currently in Congress would drive food prices so high that only bailed-out Wall Street bankers will be able to afford a loaf of bread. Kurschke's letter is part of the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) "Don't CAP Our Future" propaganda campaign to derail climate-change legislation. Who is the Farm Bureau?
Trade marking itself as "the Voice of Agriculture" and displaying Web site pictures reminiscent of Old MacDonald's farm, the Farm Bureau is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. It has less to do with small farmers and more to do with large factory farms and multi-nation corporations. It is a gigantic agribusiness and insurance conglomerate. A majority of AFBF "members" do not farm -- they are customers of its insurance companies and various business ventures. While AFBF claims to have 4.9 million members, the U.S. Ag Dept. says there are less than 1.9 million farms.
Despite its multi-billion dollar business interests, the Farm Bureau retains a non-profit status that allows it to fund lobbying efforts for an extreme, right-wing political agenda that often works against America's family farmers.
In 1965, the AFBF opposed the Voting Rights Act - the most significant civil rights legislation in our nation's history. The AFBF calls for the abolishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Education, Energy, and Fish and Wildlife. It opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, the Occupational, Health and Safety Act, the Clean Water Act, pesticide control and the registration and licensing of firearms. The AFBF works to prevent farm workers from organizing. It opposes minimum wage legislation, supports denying social security and unemployment insurance coverage to farm workers and fights to reduce restrictions on importing foreign laborers.
Jim Hightower, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, summed up the AFBF's connection to farmers: "...they are no more a family farmer organization than is an insurance company. Just because you have the word 'farm' in your name doesn't mean you really represent farmers."
The Farm Bureau is a major player in the corporate socialism program that takes tax dollars from the middle class and redistributes it to the profit columns of factory farms and multi-national corporations. Disguised as Old MacDonald, the AFBF is one of the grim reapers sitting on the death panel that is killing America's family farms.