This article appears in the September 9, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
German Farmers Rally To Defend World Food Production, Support Comes from the Americas
[Print version of this article]
Sept. 2—German farmers, with their tractors and supporters, rallied in major cities across Germany Aug. 31, to defend the right to produce food, against the many attacks on agriculture. This follows the Dutch farmers’ protests in June and July, with tractor convoys, hay bales, and manure on the highways.
In Italy, tractor demonstrations took place in Rome, Milan, and other major cities, with actions recently in many other nations, from Poland to Spain to Ireland. In India, 5,000 farmers again took to the streets of New Delhi Aug. 22, after government pledges made eight months ago remain unfulfilled.
Though specifics may differ, all these farmers and ranchers—and those in other important farmbelts, from Canada to Chile—face conditions in which it is impossible for them to continue to produce food. The costs of their production—fuel, fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, electricity, and other inputs—are going sky high, and becoming scarce at any price. Water—too much or too little—is a problem for lack of infrastructure, because of decades of Wall Street/City of London anti-development rule.
Plus, farmers face the incompetent, immoral responses of politicians, and other authorities—from the transnational food firms to the UN, even to churches. In particular, these agencies—with Europe in the lead—are demanding “green agenda” cuts in farming, in the name of lessening global warming and protecting biodiversity. If this goes on, it means death by starvation for hundreds of millions of people.
Therefore, unlike the European Wintertime tractor protests of the past three years, now farmers have left their fields during the very busy Summer work season, because the situation is desperate. They are manning the front lines for a solution to establishing a new economic system, one which can provide for the most basic human necessity: food.
A banner on the front of a tractor in the Aug. 31 pre-dawn convoy in Stuttgart stated, “The Clueless Are Ruining Farmers, We Have to Demonstrate.” The signature poster of the major organizing group of the August German rallies, the Land schafft Verbindung (Land Makes Connections), is “No Farmers, No Food, No Future.” A Bonn tractorcade Aug. 15, which surrounded the local office of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, featured the poster, “Green Ideology Has Brought Farmers to their Knees.”
The European Union has been in the forefront of attacks on farming, issuing its Green Deal “Farm to Fork” strategy May 2020, which directed all 27 member nations to carry out sweeping cuts in agriculture by 2030, which call for reducing land area for farming by 10%, reducing fertilizer use by 20%, reducing crop protection chemicals by 50%, and so on. Farm operations close to nature-preserves must be drastically limited or even banned altogether, according to the “Natura 2000” map of nature preserves across the EU. The Netherlands government is demanding drastic cuts in livestock.
In North America, the Ottawa government has ordered farmers to cut fertilizer use. In the U.S., the Biden Administration announced cuts to agriculture in January 2021, including banning agricultural use on 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030. New Federal orders have come out, restricting traditional cattle and sheep grazing on Federal public lands, expanding buffalo herds instead. This process is called “re-wilding,” and includes the 2021 move to protect the gray wolf, now causing havoc in the High Plains. A billionaire project called the “American Prairie,” now involving 450,000 acres (182,109 hectares) deeded and leased, centered on Montana, intends to be the biggest nature reserve on the continent, and off limits to food production. Meantime, the Big Four packers (JBS, Cargill, Tyson, and Marfrig) continue to dominate meat processing, to the detriment of producer and consumer alike.
The German independent farm protest leader Alf Schmidt, who helped organize an 80-day demonstration in Berlin, from January to mid-March 2021, says that the farmers have taken to the frontlines to defeat all these attacks on farmers and the food supply, and make a “peaceful revolution” for restoring production.
After an online video meeting in early August including Alf Schmidt and farmer-rancher leaders from Italy, the United States, Mexico and Chile, numbers of Trans-Atlantic messages of support to German, Dutch and other farmers were organized from the Americas. Already on July 21, Bill Bullard, CEO of the Montana-based R-CALF USA, the largest association of independent cattlemen in the United States, issued a statement declaring:
R-CALF USA supports the Dutch farmer-protestors who are fighting on the front line. We urge all Americans to join with us in admonishing the Dutch government’s action, and to stand in support of Dutch Farmers.
At the annual R-CALF USA convention this August in South Dakota, Wyoming rancher Tracy Hunt exposed the “green finance” assault from the international cartels of mega banks on farming and national economies. Hunt has already exposed the cartel assault on livestock producers from the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an operation to control cattlemen and cut meat production, run by the green finance network including JBS, MacDonald’s, Walmart, Cargill, and many more, with the World Wildlife Fund in the middle of it.
Ranchers from across the Plains, and other states and nations, have sent their support to the European farmers taking a stand. Schiller Institute volunteers have translated these messages, including ones from Mexico and Chile, and relayed them to German and other European farm leaders, and also circulated them at the Aug. 31 rallies.
These Aug. 31 actions, which involved pre-dawn tractor convoys, then demonstrations in the historic city centers, were very high impact in Germany. In Dresden, for example, the tractors, trucks, and other vehicles were right in front of the landmark Frauenkirche.
Among the speakers at Dresden, was Andreas Wilhelm, adviser and activist with Land Makes Connections, who strongly made the point about the worldwide dimensions of the food crisis, and the necessity to preserve and expand farming capacity:
Agriculture policy is global, contrary to what [German Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem] Özdemir says. We have to look at the global framework. Population growth required over past decades a 2% increase in agricultural output to secure the food needs, more or less. The population growth will continue. The UN estimates that over the next 50 years, the population will grow by another billion, i.e., agricultural production has to be increased by 50%. We in Germany have to also confront that task. We’re not just here to achieve food security, but we in Germany and in the European Community have to make a commitment and contributions to secure world food production…. I want to make everyone sensible that we have, beyond Germany, a responsibility for the whole world.
Schiller Institute Video: ‘Tractors Roll’
On Aug. 28, The Schiller Institute released a video report on the German and Dutch farm demonstrations, and support messages to further international crossfire of action, including among scientists, and all walks of life and nations. It is titled, “Tractors Roll, Farmers Lead Fight Against Monopoly Shutdown of Food; Join Them on the Front Lines!” A crossfire email is provided: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are excerpts from the transcript of the 15-minute video, featuring a firsthand account from Alf Schmidt on the German agriculture crisis, and messages from the Americas.
Introduction: Food Is Not a ‘Farmers’ Issue’
Farmers are leaving their fields this Summer, taking to the streets to defend the right to produce food. Tractorcades are happening in the Netherlands, Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and other places. 5000 farmers in India demonstrated AGAIN in August.
This is crazy to be happening when we have a world food shortage. But instead of farmers getting the help they need to produce more food—help to fight drought, floods, sky-high prices for gas, fertilizer—they are told to stop producing so much! They are told that their crops and animals hurt the environment! They are told they must obey the green diktats of governments, of cartels, of banks … even churches.
This has reached the extreme in Europe. But it’s not far behind in Canada and the U.S. This has to stop!
Farmers are now joining together. In July, Bill Bullard, the CEO of the biggest U.S. independent cattlemen group [R-CALF USA] sent support to the Dutch farm protestors. In August, more messages came from many U.S. states, and from Mexico, and Chile.
Food is not a “farmers’ issue.” The farmers are taking a stand for what is morally and scientifically right. Join them on the front lines. We can work together to restore sovereign nations and independent farming and solve the problems, so that all will be fed.
Alf Schmidt: A ‘Catastrophic’ Situation
I am an independent farmer in Germany. We had planned a big demonstration in Berlin for the 26th of August. Due to massive threats against us personally, we dropped that plan for now. Regardless, here is a brief situation report from us farmers here in Germany.
As it appears, we are to stop producing on 35% of our land. This is what the law currently demands. On another 70%, we will no longer be able to carry out crop protection. We will also only be allowed to use 80% of the necessary fertilizers there which means that food grain can no longer be produced on this 70% of the land. On the remaining areas, we are only allowed to use 50% of plant protection. This means that production will also go down the drain there.
Thirty percent of the remaining areas are to make way for organic farming, which means that we are going down to at least 50% of the actual production possibilities there. In Germany, with the new legislation, about 60 million tons of food grains will no longer be produced. That is 2.5 million truckloads, just to give you an idea of the magnitude.
Behind me is the future of Germany. [A woodpile.] A kilo of wood is trading at the moment for one euro or upwards. Entering the forests is forbidden, meanwhile, in many areas, because people try to secure firewood as fuel for themselves. Our government wants to cut the oil supply from Russia at the end of the year. They have, already, managed it so that we get only 20% of our gas from Russia. Fertilizer producers stopped production yesterday, because the gas they need for it, is no longer affordable. It’s on the sanctions list against Russia. Fertilizers are not on the sanctions list against Russia. That means we can buy the fertilizers from Russia normally now. Everything is sick.
Everything is being driven to the wall by force. By the red-green government. I think that will not go well for much longer.
Yesterday, I talked to a saleswoman in a store, who said that food prices have risen so much that people no longer steal cigarettes and liquor, but food to meet their needs.
Our youth are being ideologically dumbed down in school. Meanwhile, children who grow up in a [rural, farm] village are being discriminated against, that their parents are murderers, they “stink”—all such things.
The number of animals in Germany is to be halved. But while we have less fertilizer, the government demands that we use more manure. They probably think that we’ve been hiding the manure under the bed until now! So, one thing leads to another.
The diesel prices have risen from one euro [per liter] to two euros, compared to the previous year. At the end of the year, diesel prices are expected to reach 3 euros—that’s the situation in Germany.
We cannot contribute anymore to supplying the world. On the contrary, we will be buying up the food in the world from still poorer peoples.
Everything is catastrophic at the moment. Changes are urgently needed. But I think that peaceful revolution in Germany will come—MUST come. The population in all sections are in an uproar, meanwhile.
And it is terrible that we in one of the richest, [most] industrialized countries in the world, are now fighting over firewood! There is no more wood and coal in the stores to buy. Almost nothing. It is traded underhand. Where are we heading? The security of supply at the end of the year is not guaranteed at all, neither for food nor for energy.
I hope it is not so bad in the other countries. But we have to take to the streets together. We have to do something together.
Messages from the Americas
Dr. Taylor Haynes, Wyoming rancher, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets
I am President of the Organization for Competitive Markets. We are supporting the independent livestock-producing commodity segment. I want to say, we are a !00% behind the farmers in Europe—specifically those in Holland and in Germany, who are being attacked. It’s also a “shot across the bow” for farmers and ranchers in America. Because our property, our way of life, our livelihoods and our freedoms are equally at stake. We want to say, stand up for your rights: stand up for farming, we feed the world. God be with us all. And God Bless you.
Vaughn Meyer, South Dakota rancher, President of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
What is going on in Europe—Belgium, and Holland and that area—the German farmers—we really support the farmers over there. We feel bad that you’re having to demonstrate, to try to and save your livelihoods, to support agriculture, to help feed the world.
Worldwide, there is quite a shortage of food, and I feel that they are jeopardizing the availability of food, for the sake of environmental control. I realize that there is a fine balance there. But you’ve got to feed yourselves first. And then take care of that.
Farmers and ranchers are the ones that have been the ones supporting the world for all these years, doing the hard work and that. For the most part, they have not been the ones that are creating the large amount of CO2. It’s the automobile and the transportation system, and not the farming and the cattle. In fact, it’s been proven here in the United States that the cattle are less than 3% of the C02 produced. I think they need to rely on sound science before they attack our agriculture producers in this country.
I am also a producer in South Dakota. We raise cattle and grains.
With that, we support you. We are 100% behind you guys demonstrating. It’s time we put our foot down, and let the world know we are here to produce. We care also about the food supply of this nation, and we intend to continue to support it. Thank you.
Mike Schultz, Kansas, fourth generation farmer-rancher
I’m a rancher. I fully support what’s going on with the farmers and agriculture back in the European districts, trying to produce food, fuel and fiber for their families and friends when the government’s trying to intervene and break a system that’s been working for hundreds of years. We’d like to let you guys, who are taking a stand over there, know that we do support you. Agriculture in the United States is in the same way.
Frank Endres, California, wheat grower, cattleman
I’d like to welcome the farmers in Germany and also in Holland, and thank them for the courage that they’re having now to stand up and be heard in these countries, that they need fair prices in their country in order to produce food for the rest of the population.
And we salute them for the efforts that they are making now in the demonstrations in their countries.
Bill Kluck, South Dakota, cattle and sheep producer
I am a rancher in America. I believe that all the producers in the world share some of the same problems. And we very much support producers in other countries—Germany, Australia. We understand that you have some of the same problems that we have.
I am of German descent. My name is Bill Kluck. I run a ranch in South Dakota, America. I run cattle. And I do run sheep also. We have different—every place is different, even in America. And it’s hard for a lot of Europeans to believe that we are kind of in a desert region, so I run on about 12,000 acres (4,856 hectares). I run it alone. I take care of the fence. I have over 100 miles of fence to take care of. And if I have to build a new fence, it’s about a $10,000 a mile
In general, I feel that ranchers and farmers all over the world are getting the short end of things and I would like to see things change for the better.
We very much have watched what is happening in the Netherlands and in Germany. And we appreciate this thing. We are facing some of the same things over here, where they want to take our cattle and our land. It may be a little further behind than you guys. But it’s here. And so, we very would much want to do what we can to help you.
Marcia Garcia, Chile, journalist in Fourth District, Atacama
I taped this video from a corner of Chile, specifically from the Fourth Region. The countryside, as you can see from what’s behind me, used to export table grapes, but the drought and a number of factors, including international factors of economic instability, for the first time, made it impossible to export. The situation of Chilean producers isn’t separate from what’s happening internationally. As we’ve seen in various international media, many farmers are protesting against this food crisis, and the situation is quite catastrophic. Food security is being threatened internationally by these new green policies that are being implemented and threatening producers.
Chile is no different. According to Chile’s Agricultural Census, 30% of primary agricultural products, that is, essential foods, have been disappearing in recent years. Producers have lost 40% of their productive capacity. And these aren’t just statistics. I’m not an agronomist, or a producer, but I am a journalist and a consumer of food, and I observe and see the problem that we’re having. I have spoken with producers here, and it’s the case that the majority have lost 40% of their productive capacity. So, this is a very alarming situation. In fact, in that same Commission, a prominent producer, Ricardo Rios, reported that we are entering a “catastrophic” situation.
Alberto Vizcarra Osuna, Mexico, Agro Leader, Yaqui Valley, Sonora
I live in northern Mexico, in the Yaqui Valley in the state of Sonora, one of the regions that in the 1960s and 1970s was transformed into Mexico’s breadbasket. This important region was the birthplace of the Green Revolution, in which Norman Borlaug forcefully refuted Malthusian policies that assert that population grows more rapidly than food production. Here, Borlaug demonstrated in practice that we can triple and quadruple food production and make it increase at a rate which is greater than population growth.
From this region that is so important to Mexico and the world, we send our support and solidarity to European producers who today confront those same powers and interests that intend to use spreading world hunger as an instrument of depopulation, to reduce the world’s population to achieve their geopolitical goals of top down global financial and economic control.
We offer our total solidarity especially to German producers who oppose those green policies that are the worst product of neoliberal economic policies, which reduce food production, areas under cultivation and vital inputs needed to produce food. We believe that from Mexico and from here in the Yaqui Valley, the time has come to create an international movement of agricultural producers to reverse this disaster, and to do so for the love of those threatened with hunger, those nations marginalized by famine, to guarantee peace and food for the world population.
This noble goal must be the force that builds this international movement of producers, to reverse the criminal and genocidal goals of those corporate interests that manipulate the world food markets. Our total support for German farmers!