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  • Independent Family Farmers Are Taking a Beating

    Independent family farmers are being attacked by industrial food operations like Impossible Foods, which—simply to prop up the mass-production of fake food—is taking aim at regenerative agriculturalists.

    Our country’s current administration is actively denying climate change by burying scientific research that could help to guide us in predicting and mitigating the destructive impacts of recurring extreme weather events and national disasters.

    Our livelihoods are dependent on an American food system that prioritizes corporate agriculture, where animals can be shipped to our borders alive, or even after being slaughtered and packaged, but then labeled as “Product of USA.”

    This is the world where we toil. As the market becomes saturated with more processed foods, as severe weather events continue to wipe out our crops and injure our livestock, and as consumers increasingly and unknowingly purchase foods with false labels, we, as independent family farmers and ranchers, feel the impact.

    The land beneath our feet and under our fingernails is ours. This land is generational—many of us stand where our fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and fathers once stood. For others of us, we are beginning to build a legacy—one which we hope to one day pass on to our children and grandchildren.

    But we cannot do this while billions of dollars are being pumped into the misleading marketing of food-like products that provide little health and nutritional value to the very Americans we are hoping to feed. We cannot thrive under a government that does not support us and—in many cases—actively works against us.

    As independent family farmers and ranchers, we take pride in keeping our world healthy and in ensuring the health of the animals that graze on our lands. The food we produce is not filled with toxins, raised with “patents,” nor born in labs. We believe in family farm-based organic and regenerative practices that improve soil health and draw down and sequester carbon. We advocate for soil restoration as a solution to climate change, and we understand that we must return more than we take. We work to restore lands that have been degraded. We can and will grow food that will sustain us and our planet.

    And yet we will continue to take a beating. If industrial food producers care for the earth, as they claim to do, they would care for and support the people and practices that are helping to restore it. Instead, they attack us, and—in the process—they attack truth and transparency in our food system. They attack the very freedoms that consumers should have to knowingly choose.

    As independent family farmers and ranchers, we believe in the power of regenerative agriculture to heal the soil, and we will continue to do this important work—despite the forces that are against us.

    For more information on American Grassfed Association, visit americangrassfed.org.

  • AGA Responds to Impossible Foods

    If it wasn’t so misleading and misguided, we would be amused by the recent release of Impossible Foods’ 2019 Impact Report—an attempt to reshape a corporate narrative for the good of the corporation, and for little else. On behalf of American Grassfed Association (AGA), a national organization that provides certification, market support, education, research, and advocacy on behalf of grassfed ruminants and dairy and pastured pork producers and supporters, we offer this response.

    Impossible Foods makes many easily refutable claims. What Impossible Foods doesn’t mention: It, itself, is not sufficient to meet growing demands for meat and dairy. The Impossible approach to food production does not produce meat. We also might argue that it should not claim to be producing real food at all. The 2019 Impact Report states that “Global consumers will never decide to voluntarily, radically, reduce their meat intake – the inherent flaw in every grass-fed, holistic, regenerative proposition.” The corporation fails to see that this, then, would also stand as an inherent flaw in its own business model—a model that shows no intention of producing real meat for a growing global consumption of the real thing.

    What we have learned as regenerative farmers and ranchers is that we must work with nature, rather than against it, when growing food. After decades of industrial agriculture interests touting efficiency, scale, and “cheap food” as the holy grail goals of food production, we now are faced with the stark reality: The industrialized food system may be able to feed us, but it certainly does not feed us well. And most often it is not actually feeding us with food.

    Experience, science, medical research, and data all have shown us that for true health, we must eat real food. The reason that instances of cancer, infertility, and diabetes, for instance, continue to soar—for one—is because human consumption of fake, heavily processed, herbicide-laden food is at an unprecedented scale. As for Impossible Foods? As long as the corporation can make an extra buck off of consumers, it appears they’re hoping consumers will eat more of it.

    Impossible Foods also must be hoping consumers will overlook the large body of evidence documenting the positive impacts of properly managed livestock, as noted in the Savory Institute rebuttal to the 2019 Impact Report. We suspect Impossible Foods’ officials also felt it convenient to leave out a mention of the third-party lifecycle analysis that was recently released from studies conducted at White Oak Pastures in southern Georgia, which the Savory rebuttal also noted.

    Analysis results showed White Oak produced a net carbon sink—in spite of all greenhouse gases coming in and out of the farm operation. The study was performed by Quantis, the same third-party firm that conducted Impossible Burger’s latest LCA and which showed Impossible’s product to be a net carbon emitter. We reference this study because it uses exactly the same methodology and third party impartial life cycle assessment that Impossible used and shows a result that speaks in direct contrast to Impossible’s claims.

    Regenerative agriculture, Impossible Foods claims, is not scalable. Farming the way AGA President Will Harris of White Oak Pastures farms is not highly scalable, indeed, but it is extremely replicable—in every county, in every town, throughout this country. We at AGA believe communities should be feeding communities—with real food, grown in concert with nature, with an eye toward the health of consumers, the welfare of animals, the stewardship of land, and the future of our world. If consumers have to eat less meat? We’re fine with that, as long as what they are eating is clean, real protein, raised in harmony with—and to the benefit of—nature.

    In the end, Impossible Foods’ 2019 Impact Report does what it was intended to do: To deflect negative attention from its GMO soy-based products in order to write a new narrative that sells more impossible-to-defend Impossible “burgers”—an endeavor that does nothing but benefit the bottom line of an industrial food corporation.

    Sherri Dugger

    Policy & Communications Consultant

    American Grassfed Association

    c: 317.371.2970 | e: sherri@americangrassfed.org

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