I’ll be on NPR’s Morning Edition, talking about the new Secretary of
Agriculture, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.
What can I say? It’s a good day for corn.
Less good for us eaters, perhaps. Perhaps the most disappointing thing
about this morning’s press conference is that neither Tom Vilsack nor
President-Elect Obama uttered the words “food” or “eaters.” Vilsack
does not have the record of a reformer. He supported the expansion of
CAFO agriculture in Iowa (gutting local control to do it) and is much
loved by the biotech industry, who named him Biotech Governor of the
Year. But this is pretty much what you would expect from a Governor of
Iowa during that period, and we can hope that as Ag Secretary, with a
broader constituency, he will take a broader view. There are, too, in
his record encouraging glints: a record of support for local food
systems, and for a meaningful limit on subsidies, with the saving to
be directed toward conservation programs. The fact that he is Tom
Harken’s choice is reason for hope too; Collin Peterson reportedly had
some much worse ideas.
The fact is, real change is never easy and always comes from below/
Now it’s up to us to push him, and Obama, in the right direction. This
is just the beginning.