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No, the US government isn’t burning crops to create a food shortage

A video showing a common farming tactic was misrepresented online as if it showed a government entity intentionally burning crops to create a food shortage. This isn’t true. Let’s look at the facts.

A screenshot of a TikTok video shows tomato crops on fire and the caption: “So called food shortage is a planned event stay work grow your own.”  The News Literacy Project has added a label that says, “CONSPIRATORIAL NONSENSE.”
The crops in this video are not being burned to create a food shortage.
The farming equipment in this video does not belong to the government.
This is an authentic video of a “prescribed burn,” a common farming practice in which old crops are burned to create healthy soil for a new batch of crops.

NewsLit takeaway

Presenting genuine photos or videos in false contexts is one of the most common tactics used to spread misinformation online. False claims work to frame the way people view and interpret a piece of content. Though there’s nothing in this video to indicate that this piece of equipment belongs to the government or that this fire was set to create a food shortage, the false claim makes this fact harder to recognize in the moment.

This video also plays into a baseless but longstanding conspiratorial narrative that the government is working to purposefully create a food shortage to control the population. Other viral rumors pushing this same conspiracy theory have gone viral recently, including this montage that was debunked by PolitiFact.

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