To farmers, fake news and fake experts are nothing new. Anyone can start a blog, claim to be an expert, and start telling stories.
Most often these stories are anecdotal, and not scientific. For example, someone who develops Celiac disease and can no longer eat wheat blames hybrid wheat. The problem is there is no such thing as hybrid wheat. That doesn’t stop the rumor mill from churning out the misinformation.
Wheat breeding has evolved, and varieties are semi-dwarf as developed by Nobel Prize winning scientist Norman Borlaug in the 1960’s. A wheat breeder once explained to me why we don’t have hybrid wheat. I nodded and pretended to understand his scientific terminology. Even thought I didn’t understand all of his explanation, I was glad to know there is a scientific reason why hybrid wheat does not exist. (As a side note, I recommend Borlaug by Noel Vietmeyer, a 3 book series that contains so much history. It’s amazing what was accomplished in the U.S. during Norman’s life.)
One of my biggest fake news frustrations is with good intended consumers who want to “save farmers” from big businesses like Monsanto. They believe we are pawns for the company, and have no choice when it comes to seed selection. Where did they get the information that we don’t have any choices?
On my farm, less than 20% of my acres are planted to Monsanto products. I could choose their products for 90% of my acres. Instead, we use their products only for corn and sugarbeets, and those crops are less than 20% of our acres. They have wheat and soybean products, but we choose seed from other companies. Every farmer makes their own decisions, and some may choose 100% Monsanto. It’s like your family owning all Apple products, or maybe Android phones. It’s a personal preference.
If you have questions about food production, don’t ask an “expert” who doesn’t even have a garden and can’t keep a goldfish alive. Ask a farmer who’s job it is to care for hundreds or thousands of acres, and can tell you the perfect feed blend for their livestock. Farmers who have a lifetime, and maybe multiple generations invested in the same land, and the same business. There is a reason for our methods.
Please be selective about where you get your food and farming information. There is so much “fake news” about agriculture. Farmers are trying hard to spread our stories of real agriculture, but we’re busy. There’s farm work to be done. It’s hard to compete with someone who has made a full time job sitting at a desk dreaming up crazy headlines and absurd assumptions. The truth of agriculture is pretty boring and isn’t nearly as exciting as the fiction you can find from fake experts. Just ask a farmer.