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Monday, January 11, 2010

Farm Bureau Picks Chinese Hegemony over American Energy Independence

Kelly Fuller wonders what the Farm Bureau is smoking. At their annual meeting in Seattle, the corporate mouthpieces of monoculture, factory farms, industrial food, and Big Ag are taking the same hard line against energy security legislation that made the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lose members. The Farm Bureau appears to plan to stop using "polite," "respectful," and "friendly" language* with any "extremists" who threaten their profits (oh, sorry: I mean their storied way of life) with sensible cap-and-trade legislation.

Perhaps the Farm Bureau will further change their language... to Chinese:

Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, liked to say that companies come to “strategic inflection points,” where the fundamentals of a business change and they either make the hard decision to invest in a down cycle and take a more promising trajectory or do nothing and wither. The same is true for countries.

The U.S. is at just such a strategic inflection point. We are either going to put in place a price on carbon and the right regulatory incentives to ensure that America is China’s main competitor/partner in the E.T. revolution, or we are going to gradually cede this industry to Beijing and the good jobs and energy security that would go with it [Thomas Friedman, "Who's Sleeping Now?" New York Times, 2010.01.10].

The Farm Bureau has its cute little marketing caps pulled so far down over their eyes they can't see that cap-and-trade is about establishing a sustainable energy future. The American Clean Energy and Security Act will lay the groundwork for a new energy economy that will make energy more affordable and more secure in the long term for farmers and everyone else in America. It will also make our planet a little cleaner.

We can seize this moment to pass serious energy security legislation, including a cap-and-trade system to set a market price on carbon, and position ourselves to compete with China on energy technology, the golden ticket of the modern economy. Or we can stick our heads in the Saudi sand and the oil sands and let this become the Chinese Century.

But if the Chinese get rich on clean energy technology, maybe they'll buy more meat from American factory farms....

p.s.: 48% of Canadians consider climate change a "critical threat" to their country. 28% of Canadians say the same about terrorism.

pp.s.: The Pope might also be wondering what the Farm Bureau is smoking. Of course, the Farm Bureau thinks churches don't have any business advising us how to live in the world.

*This language from American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman sounds alarmingly like a declaration of war on civil discourse. I'm expecting a particularly ugly marketing campaign from AFBF's front blogs, with more of diversionary attacks against reasonable people like Michael Pollan. Stay tuned....

Update 2010.01.17 12:53 CST: Paula Crossfield at Civil Eats writes the Farm Bureau is "denying climate change, undermining labor, and losing relevancy."


  1. Just to be clear, my wonderment about the Farm Bureau isn't that they're opposing cap and trade, but that they're making serious PR mistakes.

  2. Steve Sibson1/11/2010 7:39 PM

    How benefits the most from Cap and Trade:

    General Electric & Goldman Sachs

    Cory also likes the Goldman Sachs run Federal Reserve. Why are those at universities so supportive of the plutocrat's agenda?


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