FThe first President Obama was coming for his guns. It did not happen. Then President Trump said that the Socialists were going to take our energy away. The lights are on after 100 days, although it got dangerous in Texas for a while (and no, the wind turbines didn’t cause the ice storm).
But wow, Nellie! We hear that a Hamburglar will steal your right to the beef before you can say “pass the ketchup.”
Since I don’t even have a BB gun, Obama didn’t alarm me. Since I barely have the energy to get out of bed, I ignored Trump’s warning. But I can get nervous if you have your eyes on my steak.
Turns out Fox News had to eat crows and retract a story that claims that Joe Biden will exclude his divine right to kill a fat calf. It was a big lie like all the others: that their property rights will be denied by the endangered topeka minnow; that the election was fraudulent, except in Iowa, where Trump won in a loss; that Obamacare would divorce you from your doctor.
This lie started in the Daily Mail, which of course would know exactly what the US Secretary of Agriculture thinks. The Daily Mail insisted that meat consumption should be cut by 90% to meet President Biden’s climate goals, citing part of a University of Michigan study.
Meanwhile, this is what the secretary, Tom Vilsack, is really thinking about: cow burps and pig poop. You want more cattle on your pasture as part of a system with reduced emissions and resistant to extreme weather. He is proposing money for methane digesters in pig houses to feed farms and sell dry manure, and get a ton of anti-aircraft fire from the left for it.
After Biden’s first 100 socialist days, Tyson is working flat out producing Storm Lake pork and turkey with non-union labor. Hoghouses are springing up everywhere, spreading across the Missouri to South Dakota. Chicken hindquarters cost just 69 cents a pound at the grocery store last week.
There are quite a few NRA members who are deeply suspicious of Obama and Hillary Clinton, who also want cleaner rivers and lakes, more grass buffers for habitat, and limits on livestock confinements. They know the difference between BS and apple butter.
And they feel the real threat to their way of life, including the Saturday night sirloin, is an ossified oligopoly food system that was on the brink of collapse last spring when its workers were defeated by Covid. Meat prices soared 50% when the Waterloo and Sioux Falls pork plants closed for a week. There was no way they could let the screech out of Storm Lake. For the first time in my life, the meat counters were empty. The system failed. We have eliminated diversity from the food supply chain. Only a few growers and packers stand still, and when one of them goes down, we are all hungrier.
The “take off your meat” scare contradicts Big Meat’s fear when his own unsustainable system hit his limits.
Livestock can be humanely protected for efficient food production and better protection against disease. We can end up with a lot more grazing cattle for the benefit of the planet. We can improve food safety with more diversity in production and open and competitive markets. Almost everyone in the Midwest understands those basic facts.
So when fear of meat spreads, the messenger looks stupid. It’s not going to be sold, as is the idea of wind turbines killing geese. We know better.
Over time, the stupidity becomes obvious to the semi-jealous. The onslaught of bullets turned out to be a ruse by the munitions manufacturers. It took a lot of shine off the gun lobby when members paying dues realized they were being cheated so that prices could have a hot streak. Consequently, the organization’s membership dues are running out.
The more lies they tell, the worse they get.
Eventually, people figure it out. Even the “shaman QAnon” who crashed into the Capitol with a horn helmet realized that he was misled when they failed organic services in jail.
Vilsack assured the public that the USDA loves a little more red meat. Biden acknowledged cover crops in his speech to Congress, heralding a major step in environmental progress widely supported by agribusiness. In Iowa, Republicans and Democrats are working to strengthen small meat processors.
Despite several fish kills from manure floods in northwestern Iowa rivers this spring, nothing will be done to prevent the next. A meager fine will be imposed. People care about that. They worry about the antibiotic resistance and viral pandemics inherent in our system. They want reasonable solutions based on science and reality. When there’s enough BS, they start to think it sucks. That can have consequences.
Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He is a columnist for The Guardian US and the author of the book Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism