Sunday, October 17, 2010

Francis Thicke vs. Big Ag and Monsanto

As election season heats up in the U.S., there are a lot of important face-offs going on throughout the country, but none may be more important to farmers and food activists than the race in Iowa for Secretary of Agriculture. It’s an obscure battle to be sure — at a recent public debate only 30 spectators showed up — but the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture is a powerful position when it comes to government agricultural policy. Democratic challenger Francis Thicke (pronounced Tick-ee) may be just the person we need to give sustainable food a fighting chance.

Francis Thicke is not your typical government agricultural official. He has a Ph.D. in agronomy/soil fertility and worked as the National Program Leader for Soil Science at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He’s also been a family farmer for 27 years. He owns and operates an 80-cow organic, grass-based dairy with his wife, Susan. They understand first-hand the crucial soil-building benefits of sustainably integrating livestock into the landscape. They process the milk on site and sell milk, yogurt, and cheese all within four miles of the farm (talk about local!). Thicke quotes Upton Sinclair, warns about the dangers of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), emphasizes farm self-sufficiency, and is an alternative-fuel geek.

Organic farmer runs for Agriculture Secretary in Iowa — new hope for people who want to eat real food

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