Have you seen the latest “thank a farmer” commercial? You know the ones I’m talking about. Colorful, crisp images of corn and beans, cows roaming the greenest pasture ever seen, happy pigs rooting in the mud, and farm families standing in their field or by their barn, hardworking, salt of the earth people who are just doing their job each and every day. Add simple country music and soothing voices and viola, a “thank a farmer” commercial.
The commercial I saw tonight started with a yummy bakery case followed by the pristine pictures of a soybean field, the multi-colored produce bin and acres of corn dotted in gold. Farmers appeared and delivered these lines:
“Your food, your clothes, even your fuel . . .”
“We take great care to grow quality products.”
“We’re consumers just like you.”
“We are the people who grow your crops.”
“We’re America’s Farm Families.”
And then the voiceover, “Brought to you on behalf of America’s farmers, by Monsanto.”
Part of me cringed because this terriffic display of rural America was brought to us by the generous, well-meaning folks at Monsanto. While most people watching won’t catch the irony, those of us who are in the midst of the great debate over biotechnology and GMOs understand that those beautiful pictures and those well-crafted (and very truthful) statements lost their punch with Monsanto attached.
It’s such a shame that a successful company can’t flex its social responsibility muscle without being accused of campaigning for a more favorable approval rating. Isn’t that just part of business, public relations and marketing? As a businessperson, don’t you want people to like you?
Have you seen Coke’s new ads? They are taking on the obesity epidemic. Imagine that. A soft-drink company talking about a current, very real social issue, an issue to which their products have been linked over and over and over again. (i.e. Pop is loaded with sugar and empty calories, not to mention sodium and a whole lot of other things that aren’t all that great for us.) For the record, today, I did consume what has become my daily dose of Diet Coke and am not happy that I succumbed to the temptation again.
Moving on . . .
So what if Coke has decided to polish their image, to get in front of the black eye assigned to their company? So what if Monsanto chooses to boost the image of the American farmer in the hopes of gaining a little ground themselves?
As an American farmer who does use biotechnology on our farm and who is being attacked by perfect strangers who believe that biotech is out to ruin the world, I appreciate someone with the big bucks making an effort on my behalf. I don’t have the funds to run a polished commercial on TV, the radio or the internet.
All I’ve got is this blog and my word. I do care about what I put in my fields, about what I harvest and what is shipped to the processor and what makes it into the grocery store. I do care about delivering a safe food supply to your family and mine.
This message is brought to you by me, an American farmer.