American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall responded to recent inaccurate claims about U.S. agriculture’s role in climate change. The following response was posted on fb.org and can be read in its entirety here.
I’m a big believer in taking the high road. When media present inaccurate or incomplete portrayals of U.S. agriculture, my job and the job of Farm Bureau is to help them understand where they went wrong and to set the record straight. We had our work cut out for us with a recent New York Times opinion video. It was so disappointing to see a respected media outlet present a distorted picture of agriculture without so much as acknowledging that farmers play an essential role in stocking America’s pantries.
AFBF jumped into action. We drafted a response and had a productive conversation with decisionmakers there, but unfortunately, they declined to accept my guest essay, which provides a more complete and honest picture of agriculture. What a disservice to their readers and to the disappearing tradition of honest debate. So, I’ll use my own platform to share my response.
Before I do, I’ll note that I’m intentionally omitting a link to their piece. These days, media measure success in clicks and views and this piece simply isn’t worthy of your time or their publication. Still, it’s important to set the record straight.
I want to be clear about something else. People have every right to their opinions about agriculture whether positive or negative – even the New York Times. We can take fair criticism. But every news outlet has a responsibility to provide accurate information and a balanced perspective.
So, here’s the rest of the story. American agriculture leads the world in climate-smart farming, making up just 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, much lower than transportation, electricity generation and industry. It’s not by chance that America has made progress quicker than our international counterparts. Through public and private partnerships and investments in innovative technologies, America’s farmers and ranchers have been able to reduce per-unit emissions of livestock over the past 30 years by 8-26% depending on the species. We are able to grow more food using fewer resources than ever before.