"It's important to bring the fans up to speed about what's going on out there," Bernstein said. "We get a lot of questions about it, and it's been a great way to educate people about what's going on."
Started by Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas, Protect The Harvest was organized to bring a collective voice to American farmers who have recently come under fire from radical animal rights organizations trying to interfere with their way of life.
"This is something we feel like we need to do, even though at times it draws my attention away from our other businesses," Lucas said. "There are organizations out there raising money in order to do away with all animal ownership, pets, horses, farm animals, hunting and fishing. It's extreme.
"Nobody else was doing anything to give the regular citizen's point of view and I have the resources and knowledge to help, so I have."
Bernstein's association with Protect The Harvest and the awareness it's trying to spread also hit close home.
"My grandfather owned a cattle ranch in New Mexico," Bernstein said. "As a kid, I'd spend three weeks at a time on a working ranch. They had more than 3,000 head of cattle. It's a part of my family history, and it was the way my grandparents made their living. It's the way thousands of others make their living today.
"Protect The Harvest is very dear to that side of me and I'd hate to see that way of life disappear."
Lucas, who drove trucks in the Midwest before co-founding Lucas Oil with his wife Charlotte, knows how vital agriculture and ranching are to the American economy. He was called to action when one group in particular, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), came to Missouri, a state where Lucas raises cattle.
"The HSUS claims they are about animal welfare, but they are not," Lucas said. "They don't support animal shelters or any organizations like that. They tried to pass a puppy mill law that was worded so vaguely that these regulations would have effected more than illegal pet breeders, it would have also covered honest, hard-working people raising chickens, cows, cattle and pigs.
"Our focus is on educating America on what's really happening out there and I'm happy to say that the word is spreading fast. If people want to help animals they should give to their local shelters, not to this organization that is lying to the public."
Lucas said the association with the Top Fuel team has been a valuable component to their educational efforts with the coast-to-coast reach of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
"The best thing we did was have a big booth with Brandon's show car at the national Future Farmers of America convention in Indianapolis," Lucas said. "Thousands of FFA kids came by and learned the message of what we're trying to do. They all went back to their communities to spread the word."
Lucas vows that Protect The Harvest will continue to safeguard American agriculture as long as the need is there.
"We've already headed off disaster in the poultry business," Lucas said. "I've talked to Congressmen and they all knew about HSUS and almost all of them said they didn't like them, but they didn't think anybody else cared. Now they know we do.
"We want to continue to show our politicians that people do care and we're spreading the word and doing a lot of good for all Americans with this racecar."
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