Banned by Stonyfield Farm – The Follies of Really Bad Marketing

tractor in fieldSome of you may have heard about the recent Stonyfield Farm ad campaign. Some of you may not. So here’s a quick update to bring you up to speed. Stonyfield Farm, an organic dairy based in Londonderry, New Hampshire, recently ran an ad with young girls that ran through a series of loaded concerns, in an attempt to create fear of GMO products and convince consumers to purchase their “organic” alternatives.

After its release, they were immediately inundated with comments from concerned customers, farmers, scientists and parents who were appalled by their marketing tactics. They then decided that it was a good idea to call the commenters on their social media sites trolls and fake accounts. The problem is, that these were very real people with very real concerns. They then went even further and removed the comments and banned the people who commented. I know a lot of these people personally. I am one of these people. So were people like Kevin Folta, Farm Babe, the Farmer’s Daughter, and an editor from AgDaily.

Why do you care? Well here’s why I care. I am a farmer. I choose to grow my crops in a responsible way. I also would never attack the practices that are used to make their products, but they absolutely did use children to attack the crops I grow.

We currently have chicken and pork labeled no hormones added (none are added in any pork or chicken as it’s illegal in the U.S.). We have milk and meat that say antibiotic free (as is ALL milk and meat, by law). And we have GMO free, gluten free, organic water! All are technically correct, but very misleading.

The issue surrounding Stonyfield is another story, however. They used fake studies and misleading information to attack the very crops that I grow. Their information was easily disproved, so they chose to ban the people who knew enough about their claims to disprove it. And then they decided to try to discredit them by calling them “trolls” or “fake accounts”.

Farmers are a pretty honest bunch of people. We work very hard to grow the safest food possible. And we use the best options available to make that happen. Attacking us for doing this is disgusting, even if it helps your bottom line. Huge corporations like Stonyfield attacking us is even worse. They like to be portrayed as “ the little guy”; as looking out for the American farmer; as a wholesome company. They are in fact a huge multinational company (more gross revenue than Monsanto, who they like to demonize). This was an outright attack on American farmers like myself.

I don’t care what you choose to buy or who you choose to support. Companies who prey on your fears, and lie about my crops don’t deserve our support. This time they heard from over 2000 commentors that tell me you don’t think they do either.

Farmers are only 1% of the population, but we feed the other 99%. It’s time we stand up for each other. Not year each other down.

If you want to see some of the offensive posts, go on over to Banned By Stonyfield Facebook group.

#SilencedByStoneyfield #FactsNotFear

Rod Bednarcyczk is a father, a farmer, a husband and the creator of Mr. Farmers Neighborhood on Facebook.