From Dr. Mercola:
Many, if not most, of our regulatory agencies have a long history of protecting industry interests over public and environmental health. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come under increasing scrutiny following mounting charges of harassment and censorship.
In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the last 11 years working as an entomologist at the USDA, filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, claiming he’d suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.1
In the U.S., nearly all corn, about 90 percent of canola, and approximately half of all soybeans are treated with neonicotinoids. As the use of these pesticides has gone up, bee and Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted.
After publicly discussing his findings, Lundgren claims that “USDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media, and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw.”
The Washington Post recently published an article that details Lundgren’s complaints and the retaliation waged against him.2
According to Agri-Pulse,3 the Agriculture Department’s inspector general, Phyllis Fong, has now received so many complaints about harassment and censorship, she’s opening a broad investigation to assess “whether there is a systemic problem in the department.”
Charges of Censorship Mount Against USDA
Food and Water Watch4 recently followed up on this issue, noting that “when independent, government scientists produce research that threatens corporate agribusinesses, the USDA — according to at least 10 government scientists — censors the results, waters down the findings and punishes the researchers.”
Jonathan Lundgren is one of these 10 scientists. The other 9 have all chosen to remain anonymous for fear of even more reprisals.
Lundgren’s research at the USDA shows that neonicotinoids are instrumental in the decline of bee and Monarch butterfly populations. But his work, and his criticism against factory farming, goes even deeper than that.
He has become convinced and has spoken out about the fact that toxic insecticides like neonics are not some sort of necessary evil. We don’t actually need these types of chemicals at all in agriculture.
As he notes in the video above, organic or regenerative farming actually produces higher yields and requires less land. This, I believe, even more so than his critique of neonics, poses a major threat to corporate agribusinesses.
It does not, however, detract from the USDA’s mission, which is why the agency’s mistreatment of scientists like Lundgren is so revealing.
Whistleblower Sets Up Nonprofit Science Lab and Sustainable Farm
Fortunately, Lundgren has become very outspoken about his whistleblower suit. So much so, the Shafeek Nader Trust presented him with a civic courage award last November, for taking an open stand against the USDA.
Moving forward, he’s also setting up two new businesses: Blue Dasher Farm, which he intends to be a model for large-scale sustainable farming using crop diversity and other regenerative methods, and Ecdysis, a nonprofit science lab for independent research.