John Kerry did not say farmers must stop growing food

By: Nikolaj Kristensen
May 31 2023

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John Kerry did not say farmers must stop growing food


The Verdict False

Statements made by John Kerry were misconstrued. Kerry called for innovation and investment in agriculture.

Claim ID c012f87c


An article falsely claiming that John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said “farmers must stop growing food” to meet net zero emissions goals has been shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.

Kerry supposedly made these statements on May 10, 2023, at the Department of Agriculture's AIM for Climate Summit held in Washington, D.C. He allegedly “insisted that stopping farmers from growing food will lower agriculture emissions,” warned that “his and other world leaders’ lives depend on farmers ceasing their operations,” and “called on world leaders from all around the world to massively scale back their citizens’ farming operations.”

However, Kerry made none of these statements during his speech at the summit. Though he talked about emission contributions from food production, he called for innovating, not ending, agriculture.

In Fact

Kerry gave a 20-minute speech at the AIM for Climate Summit, which is available on YouTube. In the speech, he talked about global warming, agriculture’s contribution to emissions, food security, and the innovation of agriculture. While he did speak about limiting livestock production contributions to emissions, at no point did he say anything about farmers having to stop producing food.

Instead, he talked about how the agricultural sector had to innovate to supply food in a sustainable way. “We can’t get to net zero, we don’t get this job done, unless agriculture is front and centre, is part of the solution,” Kerry said.

The viral article, from a site that has previously spread falsehoods, uses quotation marks to suggest it is a direct quote from Kerry that “lives depend” on farmers ceasing their operations. However, the actual quote as spoken by Kerry says, “I am thrilled that you have showcased over the last two days and now are continuing it – to show how we can innovate, how serious a component of this [the battle against climate change, red.] agriculture is, how critical it is that we get this right, because lives depend on it, as well as our ability in the long run to be able to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.”

Speaking about securing food production in a warming climate, Kerry said: “We need innovation, innovation, innovation in order to make nutrient-rich crops that are resilient to never-before seen heat and drought conditions.” He also talked about getting technical solutions into the hands of farmers worldwide.

Logically Facts reached out to the U.S. State Department for comment.

The Verdict

The article claiming John Kerry said “farmers must stop growing food” to meet net zero emission goals misconstrues his actual statements. Kerry spoke about innovation and investment in agriculture to combat climate change and secure food supply in the future. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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