In the social media world, there are many times where we in the science and agriculture world want to bang our head against the walls towards celebrities. There is no denying the fact that their voices are important and can make a real impact, however it’s a shame when they get their facts wrong.
Take the latest example on social media: Zooey Dechanel. The “New Girl” star has put out a series of videos that scare people about food. It’s unnecessary and bad science — fortunately the comment section calls her out and restores my faith in humanity. The other good news? The social media channel “Know Ideas Media” has put out an excellent video that has debunked Zooey’s, which happens to be very factual and entertaining! Totally worth the watch here.
Over the past couple years, I’ve written articles that highlight these celebrities — the best and the worst. But sometimes these lists need to be updated, so here we have it: The top eight pro-science and pro-farmer celebrities that help us out in agriculture, 2018 edition, in no particularly order.
#1: Luke Bryan. The son of a peanut farmer, Luke has said that if it wasn’t for music he would definitely be working in ag. He’s partnered with Bayer and Feeding America with goals of donating millions of meals through the popular social media tags #HeresToTheFarmer and #Thankful4Ag. His annual farm tour visits farms during harvest and hands out donations from Bayer. Not only that, but a part of his proceeds from the Farm Tour was used to fund scholarships to kids from farm families. You can also check out his video here called “Here’s to the Farmer.” It’s very sweet. Thank you for supporting our nation’s amazing farmers, Mr. Bryan!
#2: Ashton Kutcher. This tweet made me so gosh darn happy.
Kutcher grew up in Iowa and always wanted to be a geneticist. As a star of “The Ranch” on Netflix, he supports farmers, genetic engineering, and deserves some kudos for his love of science.
#3: Penn & Teller. In their hit TVs show “BULLSHIT!” magicians Penn & Teller have called BS on the crazy likes of PETA, organic food industry marketing myths, and the anti-GMO crowd in general. They praise modern agricultural technology and the likes of Green Revolution father Norman Borlaug.
#4: Carla Hall. I had the pleasure of meeting Carla Hall, star of “The Chew” on ABC, last summer. We had a pleasant conversation about how she loves grain finished beef and listens closely to what farmers have to say. Certain celebrity chefs such as Carla deserve a lot of credit for sticking with the science and never succumbing to pseudoscience on their cooking show. Let’s focus on good quality food and not necessarily the food-marketing tactics like “hormone and antibiotic free chicken” and organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free marketing buzzwords. These misleading food labels can be debunked here.
#5: Bono. As co-founder of (RED) and the ONE campaign, the singer has raised millions of dollars to help with health improvements, vaccine innovation, and alleviate extreme hunger in Africa. In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, THRIVE campaign, and AGRA, this has included improving agricultural production to the farmers who need it the most and is an outspoken philanthropist and proponent of genetic engineering as a helpful tool for today’s modern farms. Looks like Bono is pro-science all around for the future of humanity.
#6 Reba McEntire. Reba grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma and was recently a speaker at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference. As an avid barrel racer and horse lover, she credits her rural upbringing to her success and sings many praises to American agriculture. She was discovered and signed her first record deal after singing the National Anthem at her local rodeo, and still raises cattle to this day. Reba also gives back through her charity “Reba’s Ranch House.”
#7: Jordy Nelson. Despite him having multimillion dollar NFL contracts, the Green Bay Packers wide receiver says he identifies as more of a farmer than a football player and still works on the family’s 1,000-head cattle and 4,000-acre farm during the offseason. He regularly attributes his hard work ethic to his farming background and says the 12-hour days he puts in on the farm is much harder work than the NFL. In addition to farming, he has been known to speak at agricultural events to promote farming and contributes much of his success to his rural upbringing.
#8: Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel has interviewed many guests on his show over the years who have shared their experiences on farms, but what really makes him stand out is his viral video, “What is a GMO.” With several million views on social media and YouTube, Kimmel has managed to tap into a very wide audience, using humor to get the point across that most people against GMOs actually don’t even understand what a GMO actually is. In my opinion, we need a lot more celebrities doing this to reach the mainstream media on topics that matter the most. Watch the hilarious video here.
Fortunately, the list of other pro-farmer celebs runs deep, particularly in the professional-athlete and country-music realms. Other celeb scientists such as Bill Nye and “Food Evolution” documentary narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson also deserve to be mentioned.
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.