Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tom Vilsack - Chosen for Secretary of Agriculture

Read more about Governor Tom Vilsack -- Obama's choice for Secretary of Agriculture:

A controversy has heated up on the web:

The Organic Consumers Association is trying to stop the appointment, here is an excerpt and a website for more information:

"While Vilsack has promoted respectable policies with respect to restraining livestock monopolies, his overall record is one of aiding and abetting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or factory farms and promoting genetically engineered crops and animal cloning. Equally troubling is Vilsack's support for unsustainable industrial ethanol production, which has already caused global corn and grain prices to skyrocket, literally taking food off the table for a billion people in the developing world."

A group who support Vilsack's appointment have created this website:

Supporters include: Denise O'Brien, the organic farmer who ran for secretary of agriculture of Iowa; Walter Robb, co-president of Whole Foods; Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation; Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States; and many others.

Here is an excerpt from what Gary Hirshberg, founder and CEO of Stonyfield Farms writes:

"I need to be very clear that I am neither blindly nor universally supportive of all of Governor Vilsack’s positions. Indeed, as he is very well aware, I disagree with a number of his past decisions. But even on the issues about which we disagree, I have found Tom to be an open-minded, excellent listener who is genuinely interested in opposing views, and who is actually able to change his views based on new findings. My support for his candidacy as Ag Secretary derives less from his specific views and historic voting record and more from his overall character, outlook, judgment and capacity to hear all sides of an issue and then make reasoned and sound decisions.

"With that said, I will add that I do agree with most of Tom’s judgments, and believe that we could not find a better leader for an agency that is in desperate need of a deep renovation and a long-term vision that truly embraces sustainable solutions. In a nutshell, Tom Vilsack gets it.

"He deeply understands issues of sustainability, of climate change and of the toxification of our nation’s air, water and soils that have resulted from short-term, short-sighted thinking. He has taken principled and visionary positions on biofuels and courageous stands in a corn state that corn is NOT the long-term answer. He deeply understands the critical role that family farmers must play in a resource-stressed planet and believes in the need for new, out-of the-box thinking and solutions that will not just slow the deterioration of our nation’s farms, soils, ecosystems and biodiversity but will actually begin the process of restoring these broken systems. He respects ecology.

"Tom believes in technologic innovation but is not blind to the threats and problems posed by, for instance, biotechnology. Just as he has been among the nation’s truly visionary politicians with wind power, he also sees the promise of the organic foods industry and will be the best organics champion we’ve ever had in that role.

"Tom will also be a leader in an area that gets too little attention – the nutritional quality of our nation’s foods, especially the foods we serve to those in need."


Indigo said...

Thank you for giving some balance to the picture. I have gotten so many appeals today to sign the petition, that I wondered why Obama would choose such a person. Vilsack's supporters surprised me, and then it made more sense why Obama chose him -- he's not perfect, but he gets the big picture.

burkhart1 said...

Time will tell if Vilsack's policies are what we need. I am more concerned with his history of lack of transparency and ethics.

Dixie Burkhart
Facts Don't Matter