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Why Are Governments Attacking Farmers?

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6 minute read

To approach the massive protests in Germany, especially for those who’ve heard very little about this massive upheaval, it might help to set up the context.

2024 is already proving to be a year of disruption and protest.  64 countries representing half of all people on the planet will be voting in national elections.  Major elections will take place not just in the United States, but in the European Union, Russia, and in the world’s most populous democracy India.

Those conversations you’ve been having with only your most trusted cohorts, where you wonder how former friends and people you admire have become ideological combatants; are taking place all around the globe. We find ourselves identifying more and more people as either “far left” or “far right”. Even though we haven’t changed the way we think, we find we’ve also been identified by others as slipping into one of these “far” groups. Our sense of community and family are suffering and may not survive.

Why is this happening?

It comes down to where we choose to get information.

If you haven’t moved away from the legacy media yet, you’re far more likely to be disturbed by the growing numbers on the “far right”.  You simply can’t understand how so many people you know have fallen victim to conspiracy theories and populist leaders who are trying to take the reigns of power.

If you have moved on to learn about the world through long form podcasts and some of the many new information platforms that have emerged, you’ll most likely be swayed by reams of information ignored by legacy media.

For tens of millions this started with the pandemic. A few months into 2020, podcasters and information sites began to notice that the average age of those dying from covid was older than normal life expectancy, that 86% of those who died were obese, that doctors around the world were successfully treating covid with cheap, repurposed drugs, and that masking, social distancing, lockdowns, and eventually covid vaccines made almost no impact on the spread of covid.

People in this camp tried to persuade those close to them that covid wasn’t as dangerous as they were lead to believe. Many conversations became emotional and annoying. One one side, raised voices of those desperate to share information.  On the other side, perfectly intelligent people, informed by legacy media who had heard none of these things. Often they were told the opposite.  A great example is how legacy media labelled one of the safest, cheapest and most effective drugs in world history (the developers won the Nobel Prize for inventing ivermectin) as ‘horse de-wormer’.

New media and long form podcasters have found the situation surrounding covid is the same for most other urgent situations.  The inflation an energy crisis, the Russian attack of Ukraine, global warming (or climate change) and open border policies have only widened the information gap.

One side sees little reason to slow the movement of millions, or to slow the printing of money by governments unconcerned about sinking much, much further into debt. For this group the most important battles in the world are the fight to reduce carbon emissions and the war against Russia.

The other side sees a self inflicted inflation and energy crisis, a refusal to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine, and a massive influx of immigrants beginning to cause societal upheaval.

As elections creep closer, the information gap is growing and the stakes are getting higher.

What does all this disruption and disunity have to do with massive demonstrations by German farmers?  If you are a legacy media follower there is no connection.  Legacy media outlets explain away this nation wide protest as farmers fighting against diesel fuel subsidies. By now, you should at least want to know what the podcasters and new media are reporting.  Jordan Peterson is in that camp.

Last week, the world famous Canadian podcaster spoke with German farmer Anthony Lee and journalist Eva Vlaardingerbroek.

Eva Vlaardingerbroek is a Dutch journalist and Anthony Lee has become outspoken in recent months as he followed news of farmers struggling all across Europe.  In the following videos (especially the longer one) the cause of these massive and spreading demonstrations will be explained by Eva, a new information reporter, and Anthony, a German farmer.

First a shorter video and for those with some more time their entire 100 minute long conversation.

From the YouTube channel of Jordan Peterson

A longer discussion on the ongoing farmers’ protest, the war on efficient agriculture, and net-zero goals creating excess electric vehicles while cutting off the generation of power.

This episode was recorded on January 15th, 2023

Dr. Peterson’s extensive catalog is available now on DailyWire+: https://bit.ly/3KrWbS8

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Agriculture

European farmers continue to protest New World Order’s anti-food agenda

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From LifeSiteNews

By Frank Wright

As the farmer-led protests in the EU rage on, globalists are slowly learning that labeling those demanding the ability to provide food for the future as ‘extremist’ is not going to work.

Farmer protests in Europe continue to escalate, with Belgian farmers blockading the capital yesterday, Monday February, 26, with 900 tractors and driving through police barricades.  

Belgian farmers sprayed police with manure and lit bonfires with tires in a fiery day of action which saw barbed wire and anti-tank obstacles placed outside European Union institutions, and police dousing the crowd with water cannons.  

The action comes days after a convoy of Spanish farmers lead an estimated 20,000 people to protest outside the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.  

The plea of one Spanish farmer at the February 21 protest was stark. Silvia Ruiz, 46, a livestock farmer from the north-central area of Burgos told The Associated Press.  

It is impossible to live from the rural industry, which is what we want, to live from our work. That is all we ask for.

 Video from Madrid showed the scale of the protest, at which AP said banners were displayed reading “Farmers in Extinction” and “There is no life without farming.”

Spanish farmers conducted another four-day national action in early February, their complaints echoing what The Daily Telegraph called “common talking points from what has been an eruption of farmers protests in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy and Spain over recent months.” Protests have also emerged in England and Wales in recent months. 

Reasons to be fearful

The reasons given by farmers for their Europe-wide action present a direct challenge to the policies of European governments – which they say are resulting in extreme pressure on small-scale farmers. British farmers issued a desperate plea last September, saying they too were “struggling to survive.”

So what are the issues facing European farmers? This report examines the policies and practices which have combined to produce a hostile environment for Europe’s small scale farmers. 

Agenda 21 – a coordinated effort?

A documentary published by the Epoch Times in September 2023 argues that soaring food prices and food shortages “have little to do with climate change – but are the direct result of an environmental policy that was conceived over 30 years ago.”

The reference in the documentary, titled “No Farmers: No Food” is to“Agenda 21,” the United Nations’ “Master Plan for Humanity” for the 21st Century. Now renamed Agenda 2030, with that year being given as the target for the agenda’s implementation, it is a program that dates back as far as 1989. 

The agenda’s seemingly laudable goals to “eradicate global poverty,” reduce consumer waste and combat the degradation of the natural world whilst promoting prosperity can be seen in another dimension. 

An ‘excuse for government to do what they want’

Christian journalist Alex Newman says in the documentary that this noble-sounding agenda simply “gives government an excuse to do whatever they want, under the guise of meeting these goals.”

From its inception, the “master plan” demanded increased “trade liberalization,” the strengthening of “international institutions” backed by a series of “development banks” from government and private finance to drive accelerated global coordination. 

Yet “trade liberalization” and a punitive regulatory environment are two factors cited by farmers across Europe which they say are threatening their very existence.  

‘Green’ farmers also in protest

Farmers who support measures to limit pesticide use and the move to less polluting means of production have also mobilized to protest against “the neoliberal policies in agriculture the WTO has been promoting for decades which have led to the systematic impoverishment of farmers.” 

A group called the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), which represents small-holder farmers in 21 European countries, highlights the worsening struggle for survival faced by small-scale farmers. In a February 25 report, farmers Morgan Ody and Vincent Delobel spoke out in advance of the World Trade Organization’s 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi.  

These are the people who produce Europe’s food – whether conventionally or organically, on a small or a medium scale. They stand united by a shared reality: They are fed up with spending their lives working incessantly without ever getting a decent income. We have reached this point after decades of neoliberal agricultural policies and free trade agreements. Production costs have risen steadily in recent years, while prices paid to farmers have stagnated or even fallen.

The effect on small-scale farmers has been devastating – but beneficial for corporations.  

“All the while, through mergers and speculation, large agroindustrial groups have gotten bigger and stronger, putting increased pressure on prices and practices for farmers.”  

‘Like the Soviet Union’

This argument, coming from farmers supportive of sensible “sustainable development” measures, echoes a warning given by U,S, conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson. 

Hanson’s segment in “No Farmers: No Food” treats this issue as a matter of the concentration of food production in the hands of the state – or under its direction. 

They feel that humans don’t need meat-based protein. They want to either force people to follow their paradigms – or they want to buy or accumulate farmland and that’s how they’re going to farm it.

It’s sort of like Mao’s cultural revolution or the Soviet Union – and it results in disasters.

At least 45 million people are said to have “been starved, tortured or beaten to death” under Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” with the forced collectivization of farms in the Soviet Union contributing to a famine which caused the deaths of at least 3 million people between 1931 and 1934. 

Hanson says this example does not deter the “academic mind,” which “always has the answers, but never in the real world.”

What is happening in the real world is, according to Hanson, the systematic global consolidation of farming in the hands of state and corporate power. 

“They want large blocks [of farming] run by the government – or by private consortia” where meat can be largely eradicated by the control of agricultural production. 

The real world action of Bill Gates

Hanson cites the example of Bill Gates’ purchase of large tracts of farmland, coupled with the stated objectives of his “philanthropic” organization.   

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had by 2017 granted an estimated $6 billion of investment in the future of farming according to one small farmer’s campaign group, GRAIN.  

Its 2021 report argued that the foundation is “driving the food system in the wrong direction,” saying “[Gates’] funding overwhelmingly went to research institutes rather than farmers. They were also mainly directed at shaping policies to support industrial farming, not smallholders.” 

Far from providing “the substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries” exhorted by the 1989 UN statement on Agenda 21,  the Gates Foundation sends 80-90 percent of its funds to U.S. and Europe based NGOs, “buying political influence” and promoting a “corporate-industrial farming agenda.”  

The funding patterns of Gates’ so-called charity “illustrates the point of where the priorities of the Foundation lie.” 

Killing small farmers

These priorities are opposed to those of small farmers – whether in the developed or the developing world. Both populations are plagued with farmer suicides – from India through Australia and the United States, given plummeting prices and the increasing pressure to consolidate farming. Studies in Ireland, France and the U.K. show far higher rates of suicide amongst farmers – a trend that has continued over the last decade, as this 2015 report shows. 

The pressure driving farmers to desperation is related to a model exampled, as Alex Newman argues, on that adopted in China. 

“We are seeing that in China now, where these giant, mechanized, corporate, big-government controlled mega-farms are displacing all these little small family farms,” he says.

The stated aims of Agenda 30 may be an example of Hanson’s “academic answer” – which is contradicted by the real world effects it has produced.  

Ally versus ally?

Diplomatic tensions now accompany farmer protests, and have spread beyond Eastern Europe to the West. 

The Prime Minister of France Gabriel Attal responded to recent protests in France, acknowledging a further dimension of the threat to small farmers’ livelihoods: cheap imports from Ukraine.  

Attal said his government is working to protect French farmers against imports from Ukraine of chicken, eggs, sugar and cereals. 

“Solidarity with Ukraine is obviously essential, but it cannot be to the detriment of our farmers,” the prime minister said.

Attal’s remarks, reported by Britain’s Independent on February 22, recall the ongoing blockade of the border by Polish farmers – undertaken in protest against cheap imports. 

Poland continues to block Ukrainian grain

Farmers have attempted to block imports of Ukrainian grain, with two acts of grain destruction alleged in the past month. Ukrainian news outlet European Pravda reported the following incident  

On the night of 24-25 February in Poland, Ukrainian grain exports suffered the most extensive damage since the beginning of the farmer protests, with the attackers damaging 160 tonnes of Ukrainian grain.

A social media post recorded the aftermath of the grain spill, showing the alleged sabotage. 

The incident comes weeks after a similar event on February 11, when according to the same report, “Polish farmers protesting near the Ukrainian border spilled some grain from three Ukrainian lorries near the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint.” 

The Ukrainian deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kubrakov complained of “160 tons of Ukrainian grain destroyed…[in] the fourth case of vandalism at Polish railway stations.”

Farmers fighting for a viable life are now fracturing former alliances, showing the state-level impact of the issue of food security. 

Against the grain

Polish farmers began their attempts to block Ukrainian imports in late November, with assurances from the new Polish Minister of Agriculture providing only a temporary pause. The protests follow a troubled year for Ukrainian grain exports, with the EU conceding to demands from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia with a temporary ban on Ukrainian maize, wheat, rapeseed and sunflower seed from May-June, 2023. 

The ban was extended until September 15. When it was lifted, Reuters reported that “Slovakia, Poland and Hungary imposed national restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports after the European Union executive decided not to extend its ban on imports into those countries and fellow EU members Bulgaria and Romania.” 

The reason supplied was to protect domestic farmers from being undermined by cheap imports.  

“The countries have argued that cheap Ukrainian agricultural goods – meant mainly to transit further west and to ports – get sold locally, harming their own farmers.” 

Following the elections on October 15, the incoming Polish government of Donald Tusk, a noted globalist, appears unwilling to confront the farmers directly. Last week, the Polish government snubbed the Ukrainian delegation, failing to appear at a recent meeting convened by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to end the crisis. According to Agence France Presse (AFP): 

Ukraine’s prime minister went to the border with Poland on Friday [February 23] hoping to end weeks of protests by Polish farmers but he said no-one from the neighboring government turned up for talks.

Zelensky proposed the frontier meeting, issuing a statement saying Ukraine’s grain did not go to the Polish market “at the request of the Polish side.”

Zelensky’s remarks appear to be contradicted by the continued attempts to export Ukrainian grain into Poland. 

He added: “We are willing and will do everything to resolve this issue.” 

But Tusk’s chief of staff Jan Grabiec told AFP that Warsaw had not sent a delegation because a meeting “makes no sense at the moment.”

He said the two sides were “far” from a deal to end the showdown. 

“Unfortunately, there is not yet a Ukrainian proposition that allows to hope for an end to the deadlock in commercial relations.” 

The two governments are set to meet on March 26 in an attempt to resolve a crisis, which by then will have been ongoing for over ten months. The snub by Tusk’s pro-EU and pro-Ukraine administration shows the extraordinary power of the farmer’s movement in shifting public opinion on an alliance which formerly saw Zelensky receive a “hero’s welcome” in Poland last April. Going against the Ukrainian grain was unthinkable only a year ago.  

Farmers and the future

The farmer protests have been caricatured as “agrarian populism” – a progressive phrase intended as as slur. In characterizing these protests as irrational, and bracketing them with extremism, critics such as the U.K.-based European Consortium for Political Research seek to frames this crisis as one which “emphasizes the antagonistic relationship between the virtuous peasants and people from the countryside on the one side, and the evil and corrupt urban elites on the other.” 

Yet the farmer movement is not driven by fantasies of good and evil, but by basic reality. Farmers across the world claim the current system is threatening their very existence.  

Many are taking their own lives, with many others taking to the streets. It seems that some governments are now taking notice. As the protests continue, the message is breaking through to the would be managers of the Master Plan for Humanity – that if the demand for food and a future without misery is defined as extremist, then it is not the small-scale farmers who must give way. 

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Agriculture

‘Net-Zero’ Policies, ESG Reporting Raise Farm Costs, Food Prices—Report

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From Heartland Daily News

Tim Benson

 

 

So-called “net-zero” climate policies are imposing significant costs on American farmers and families, according to a new report from The Buckeye Institute.

A model developed by Buckeye for the report, Net-Zero Climate-Control Policies Will Fail the Farm, indicates that complying with net-zero emissions mandates, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting standards is likely to increase annual operating expenses for farmers by at least 34 percent. In addition, the model indicated the mandates will result in a 15 percent annual increase in grocery bills for families, as well as significant increases in individual grocery item prices, such as American cheese (79 percent), beef (70 percent), bananas (59 percent), rice (56 percent), and chicken (39 percent).

Net Zero and ESG

“Net-zero” refers to the balance between the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. For a country to achieve “net-zero,” means either not producing any emissions at all or “offsetting” an equivalent amount of emissions through methods like “carbon capture and storage,” reforestation, and the use of “renewable” energy sources. Carbon dioxide pricing schemes like cap-and-trade systems or carbon dioxide taxes are other significant “net-zero” policies.

Meanwhile, ESG scores are essentially a risk assessment mechanism increasingly used by investment firms and financial institutions that force large and small companies to focus upon politically motivated, subjective goals which often run counter to their financial interests and the interests of their customers.

Companies are graded on these mandated commitments to promote, for example, climate or social justice objectives. Those that score poorly are punished by divestment, reduced access to credit and capital, and a refusal from state and municipal governments to contract with them.

ESG Targeting Agriculture

Many of ESG’s metrics, primarily those related to imposing environmental controls, are directly linked to the agricultural industry and food production. Examples of some of these metrics include: “Paris [climate agreement]-aligned GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions targets,” “Impact of GHG emissions,” “Land use and ecological sensitivity,” “Impact of air pollution,” “Impact of freshwater consumption and withdrawal,” “Impact of solid waste disposal,” and “Nutrients”—which, despite its innocuous-sounding name, is a metric that forces companies to estimate the “metric tonnes of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in fertilizer consumed.”

Farmers and food producers use chemical fertilizers and pesticides for crop growth, in addition to producing waste biproducts, consuming substantial quantities of water, using vast swathes of land, and releasing what climate alarmists claim to be planet-ending carbon dioxide emissions.

“Europe, fully committed to the Paris Climate Accords’ decarbonization plan, provides a forecast of the agricultural and economic consequences likely to result from the ESG-reporting agenda,” the report notes. “After implementing strict ESG-reporting mandates, European banks, for example, became reluctant to lend to farmers with high nitrogen and methane emissions.   Reduced credit strained family farms.

“Europe’s emissions cap-and-trade policies exacerbated the problem and helped put generational farmers out of business,” the report continues. “Those policies also raised prices of farm-related energy and fertilizer, which, in turn, raised the price of food and groceries.”

‘Immolated’ Farming Industry

The report describes how the European Union’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement and associated ESG and net zero goals are undermining its agricultural sector and food security, which has lessons for the United States.

“Europe immolated its farming industry and made the continent’s food supply more expensive and less secure,” the report says. “Adopting similar policies in the United States will yield similar results.”

Federal and State Fixes

The report makes a number of recommendations for what can be done to “avoid the failures of net-zero policies.”

Federally, they suggest the United States withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, repeal the “renewable energy” and carbon capture and sequestration subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act, and consider banning federal agencies like the Farm Credit Administration from utilizing ESG policies.

On the state level, the report recommends states legislatures pass laws preventing “state agencies, fund managers, insurers, and lenders from using ESG criteria to guide investment decisions and set insurance policies and premiums.”

Enlisting the Private Sector

For the private sector Buckeye’s report suggests corporate boards from industries “that will be negatively impacted by ESG reporting and other net-zero policies should inform shareholders about how ESG-reporting requirements will affect operations and long-term shareholder value.” They also suggest farmers “decouple farming practices from their purported climate benefits and use the methods that are best for their farms, families, and produce.”

“Government climate-control policies ensconced in the Paris Climate Accords, the Inflation Reduction Act, and ESG-guided mandates carry a hefty price tag, especially for U.S. farms and the American consumer,” the report concludes. “The full price of climate control policies and directives needs to be measured and understood, especially the costs they will inflict on American farms and households.”

‘Unrealistic, Unattainable,’ and Costly

Buckeye’s analysis is important for putting numbers on the high cost of ESG and Net Zero policies, providing an evidence-based warning to Americans not to follow Europe’s path, says Cameron Sholty, Executive Director of Heartland Impact.

“This report shows what American and European farmers intuitively knew: that net zero carbon emissions are unrealistic, unattainable, and ultimately add cost through the supply chain and ultimately to consumers’ pocket books,” said Sholty. “Buckeye should be commended for putting the numbers to the insidiousness of ill-advised carbon-free farming pursuits.

“Its folly imposed by activists seeking to control the means of production and how we live and thrive in a civilized society,” Sholty said.

Tim Benson ([email protected]is a senior policy analyst with Heartland Impact.

For more on farm policy, click here.

For more on net zero, click here.

For more on ESG, click here.

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