A collection of videos circulating on social media claims the US government is forcing US farmers to destroy their crops. Several of the videos say the intention is to cause food shortages and massive famine in the country.
The videos were edited together in an eight-minute compilation and shared in an August 24 Facebook post titled “Farmers Destroy Crops Around the World.” The majority of the videos appear to be from TikTok.
“In this video, we will see farmers receiving letters from the government to destroy their crops,” the post caption read.
The post was reported as part of Facebook’s efforts to tackle fake news and disinformation on its news feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The first video in the compilation shows a man claiming his father works in the agricultural industry and was told the federal government would offer farmers 1.5 times the value of crops to have them destroyed. Farmers who turned down the offer would have their federal subsidies suspended, he said.
“They are trying to create a food shortage,” the man said in the video. “We have eight months to stock up on food. We are likely to face massive famine. “
A spokesperson for the US Department of Agriculture said farmers are not urged to destroy their crops.
The USDA said on its website that there was “no nationwide food shortage” and no disruption in the food supply chain.
“The USDA and the Food and Drug Administration are closely monitoring the food supply chain for any shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners,” the department said. “We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.
Another video shows a man claiming to have a letter from the USDA asking him to destroy his crops. He claims to have also received information on how to dispose of destroyed crops.
The man said the information was “on government paper,” and the video briefly shows a piece of paper with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality logo on it, but no letter from the USDA.
The Nebraska agency document has nothing to do with crops – it is cattle manure and is dated January 2018.
Christin Kamm, director of communications for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, said there was no truth to the claims in the video of the man or any of the others in the compilation.
In a follow-up video, the man admits the video was a fake and said he was joking.
At least one other TikTok video featured in the compilation was also a joke. In it, a man claimed to have received a letter from the “Hydrocarbons Department” telling him to dump his oil in order to help stabilize oil prices.
The video then shows what appears to be a black substance spilled on the ground.
While the video no longer appears on the man’s TikTok page, he posted a follow-up video admitting he was joking. The substance was not actually petroleum, but sediment and water that had settled to the bottom of an oil tank. There is no Department of Hydrocarbons.
The video was created “to show the disconnection between [people] in rural areas and city dwellers, ”he said.
“These townspeople have no idea what it takes to make sure there is food in the grocery store and gasoline at the gas station,” the man said. . “So we make things up for fun. “
At one point in the onset of the pandemic, restaurant, hotel and school closures forced many farms to destroy produce that could no longer be sold, The New York Times reported. But they were not ordered to do so.
A compilation of videos shared on Facebook all claim the federal government is telling American farmers to destroy their crops and threatening to halt subsidies. Several users claim that this artificially causes food shortages in the country.
The USDA has said farmers are not urged to destroy their crops and that there is no nationwide food shortage on the horizon.
Two people featured in the compilation later admitted that they were joking in their videos.
We assess this claim as false.
This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and other PolitiFact fact checks here.