Beef Industry Fights Back Against Michael Pollan

Agriculture students getting lesson in PR warfare
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2010 1:43 PM CST
Beef Industry Fights Back Against Michael Pollan
File photo.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Janice Ravndahl, Lionel Trudel)

(Newser) – The beef industry realizes it's taken a beating in the public relations department from the likes of Michael Pollan, and it's attempting to lay the groundwork for a comeback. An industry-funded online program called the Masters of Beef Advocacy has trained 3,000 students and farmers in the art of spreading a "positive beef message" since last year, reports Mother Jones. Of late, its focus is on college students at big agriculture schools.

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"Pollan is really our enemy right now," says a 26-year-old grad student in veterinary medicine who's taken the MBA course and maintains it's not a defacto PR campaign. "We're just worried about our futures in agriculture." Asked for response by MJ, Pollan acknowledged the genuine disagreements on beef production and agriculture that exist, but was wary about the industry's funding of the program. He noted that McDonald's reportedly paid a PR firm to discourage schools from allowing Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser to speak. (Read more Michael Pollan stories.)

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