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E-M:/ GROUPS CALL FOR FARM BUREAU INVESTIGATION - SIGN ON!



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Enviro-Mich message from Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
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(Note the farm bureau has taken stances on significant MI 
environmental legislation.)

Folks,

We all know that Farm Bureau Federation leadership has stood
against just about everything good for the environment - from
wildlife to wetlands, from climate change to clean water
regulations.  We have come to know Farm Bureau leadership does
not even support their own family farmers and ranchers in creating
supportive farm policy which would give family farmers an even
chance against Big AG and corporate concentration.  We know
Farm Bureau lobbys against protections for farm workers, will not
support precautionary principles involving GMO's, resists
ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment for Women and even
has a policy in their handbook calling for the repeal of the 1965
Voters Rights Act!

Why is the leadership of this multi-billion dollar insurance and
agribusiness organization, which critics call the most elusive
business shellgame in America today afforded a “special” tax
privilege as a "farm organization?"

We don’t know. We believe it is time for a change.  Please
consider signing the letter below calling for a federal investigation
into the American Farm Bureau Leadership.  Broadcast this
information far and wide.  Lets do something good for this country.

To sign on reply to sjohnson@albq.defenders.org

Scotty Johnson
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BACKGROUND

Thirty years ago a Farm Bureau-dominated agricultural
subcommittee “distanced” itself from an investigation into the Farm
Bureau led by Congressman Joseph Resnick (D-NY).   Following
this incidence Resnick’s chief of staff Samuel “Sandy” Berger, the
current Chief of the National Security Council wrote, “the Farm
Bureau is far more than simply an organization of farmers, as it so
often claims.  The nation’s biggest farm organization has been
quietly but systematically amassing one of the largest business
networks in America, while turning its back on the deepening crisis
of the farmers whom it supposedly represents.”

Today, the Farm Bureau is more powerful than ever.  The policies it
advances and its myriad business operations are crippling the
farmer, rural America and the environment.  We believe it is time for
another investigation.  Moreover, we believe Farm Bureau leaders
should welcome any and all opportunities to erase allegations they
do not serve their membership or uphold their non-profit charter.

Our Position

WHEREAS, We the undersigned individuals and organizations
represent millions of Americans whose homes, livelihoods,
environments, freedoms, and well-being are jeopardized by current
ill-advised farm policy,

WHEREAS, we are family and independent farmers and ranchers,
environmentalists, consumers, laborers, religious & minority
leaders, taxpayers, hunters, fisherman and residents of America’s
heartlands,

WHEREAS, we believe many agricultural trade and commodity
groups misrepresent their interests to Congress and policy makers
by posing as the family farmer while advancing agribusiness policy
harmful to family farmers and the environment,

WHEREAS, we believe the farm policy advanced by these
agribusiness groups promotes corporate consolidation, eliminates
fair markets, and creates an un-level economic playing field for
small, minority and independent family producers,

WHEREAS, we believe this model of industrialized agricultural
threatens rural families and cultures, public health and farm
workers, watersheds and wildlife, top-soils, and wilderness,

WHEREAS, we believe these groups advance policy that is fiscally
irresponsible favoring agribusiness while costing taxpayers billions
of dollars a year in continued farm aid bailouts,

WHEREAS, we believe that a socially just, environmentally and
fiscally responsible farm policy will never be created as long as
these groups control the agricultural agenda,

WHEREAS, we believe such groups, who receive substantial
monetary benefits from the public sector should encourage and
welcome scrutiny into their business operations,

WHEREAS,  the American Farm Bureau Federation leadership is
the most outspoken and powerful of these groups claiming to
represent Rural America,

WHEREAS, American Farm Bureau Federation businesses have
profited greatly from self-generated policies that afford them special
tax privileges and advance national farm policies favoring
agribusiness;

WHEREAS, Farm Bureau claims 4.9 million “family” members and
the USDA shows fewer than 1.9 million farmers remain--and not all
of them are Farm Bureau members;

WE THEREFORE, call for a congressional investigation into
charges that American Farm Bureau Federation national leadership
has harmed the American farmer and their own members by posing
as an organization representing farmer interests when, in fact,
Farm Bureau’s widespread commercial activities – which include
the operation of businesses that sell to the farmer and buy from the
farmer – puts them in a position of representing a point of view
antagonistic to the interests of the farmer.  We further call for
investigation into charges that Farm Bureau leadership also
misrepresents its motivations to Congress and the American
taxpayer - exploiting the farmer image to win, from Congress, non-
profit “privileges” that shield them from an estimated $61.75 million
annually in federal income tax.  We urge Congress to complete the
process started a generation ago and protect rural American and
its heritage.

Reply to { GOTOBUTTON BM_1_ sjohnson@albq.defenders.org}

Scotty Johnson.
Rural Community Outreach Coordinator
GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network (GREEN)
Fax 529 623-0447
520 623-9653  sjohnson@albq.defenders.org

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