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Idaho ag groups protest Clif Bar foundation’s ‘Mr. Seed’ video

Carol Ryan Dumas

Capital Press

Published on October 12, 2016 11:41AM

This screen capture from the

This screen capture from the "Mr. Seed" video shows the main character criticizing conventional agriculture. The Food Producers of Idaho organization has sent a letter of protest to the Clif Bar Family Foundation, which produced the video.

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While Idaho’s agricultural community welcomes Clif Bar into its fold, Food Producers of Idaho wants the Clif Bar Family Foundation to know it is not happy with its “Mr. Seed” video that bashes conventional agriculture.

The video features a foul-mouthed animated character, the organic Mr. Seed, that depicts conventional agriculture as shady, producing “Pharm Food” and ruining the world with pesticides, performance-enhancing chemicals and GMO seed.

Mr. Seed wraps up the video saying “America, if you care about your food, the environment, your children or the future of all mankind ... you don’t have to buy everything those big agri-chemical companies are selling.”

Food Producers is sending a letter to the Clif Bar Family Foundation to register its dissatisfaction and ask that the video be removed from You Tube and other outlets. It also invites foundation officials to join with the organization in a productive dialogue to understand the different facets of today’s agriculture.

“As the group representing most of Idaho agriculture, we want to make sure Clif knows the harm in some of the mistruths it’s spreading in the video,” said Wyatt Prescott, Food Producers president.

The video presents a false, negative perception and is offensive to many in Idaho agriculture, he said. Food Producers wants to set the record straight with Clif Bar and let the foundation know it’s watching, he said.

“The deceptive imagery throughout the video can only be seen as propaganda designed to manipulate consumers. Perpetuating myths about conventional farming, as seen in the ‘Mr. Seed’ video, brings harm to hardworking farmers and ranchers around the country,” the letter states.

When contacted by Capital Press, the Clif Bar Family Foundation responded with an emailed statement.

“We understand that the Food Producers of Idaho is in the process of sending us a letter,” the email stated. “Once we have the letter, we’ll have a much better sense of their specific concerns and will be better able to address the matter.”

Clif Bar, which produces energy bars and is based in Emeryville, Calif., recently celebrated the opening of its $90 million bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho.

“Mr. Seed” was produced by the foundation’s Seed Matters initiative.

Food Producers pointed out in the letter that conventional farming practices and technology have resulted in reduced pesticide use and tillage, more food production on less land and better resistance to disease.

“The demonization of conventional agricultural practices through this video discounts its essential role in meeting the country’s food needs, sustainability efforts, and economic development. It calls into question a farmer’s choice of efficient and safe farming practices and ultimately is an attack on consumers’ food choices,” the letter states.

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