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Happy Monday, it’s the first of the month. I apologize for the direct and humorless nature of today’s post title, but this isn’t a laughing matter.
Tomorrow brings a very important election here in Iowa, an election that has very little to do with Same Sex Marriage, Campaign Spending, Mustaches, Health Care Bills, Heated Sidewalks, or even the LG proposed I-GEEK, or Iowa Gubernatorial Election Eating Kompetition (Chet “Butterburger” Culver being the clear favorite), but it does have EVERYTHING to do with the food you put into your mouth, the health of our communities, the future of our energy program, and the welfare of our ecosystem…
I am talking about the election of State Secretary Of Agriculture. This is a very, very important race that, because of the vast differences in candidates, will make a stated impact on the face of Agriculture. Here is a great article on the subject written by Kurt Michael Friese of www.civileats.com .
[from Civil Eats]
A lot of ink, airtime, and media megabytes are being used to cover the huge number of elections going on all around the nation right now. One of the most important is getting very little coverage, even though it affects every single person in my home state and indeed the US in very personal ways. It is the race for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.
Unless you are part of the less-than-two-percent of America that are farmers, you might ask yourself why such a race could be important to you. Look at it this way, the issues in this race are only important to those who eat, and if you eat you are a part of agriculture.
Francis Thicke (it’s pronounced “Tick-ee”) is the only candidate for the office with the vision needed to put the power in the hands of the farmer. In one sense he means to do so literally, with a comprehensive plan for on-farm power generation that will free our farms from the choking yoke of foreign oil.
He also wants power back in the hands of local communities, seeking to overturn the legislation (forced through by large corporate interests) that keeps counties and other local governments from having a voice in whether to allow big polluting hog factories in their jurisdictions. He wants regulations with teeth and enough inspectors to carry out the regulations, so that horrible cases like the recent salmonella outbreak at two Iowa egg factories do not recur. Best of all, he wants crop diversity and local food production so that Iowa, an agricultural state, needn’t import 90 percent of its food as it does right now. That’s $7.2 billion that leaves Iowa every year, never to return. The more food we buy from local sources, the more of that money that stays here.
Consider it this way: Johnson County, for example, has about 50,000 households. If each of those households redirected just ten dollars of their existing weekly grocery budget toward something local–from a farmers market, a CSA, or eggs from the farmer down the road–it would keep $26 million in the local economy. Imagine the impact if that were to happen statewide, in all 99 counties, with all 3.5 million Iowans.
Some may feel that they don’t want government telling them what to eat. Bad news for them: the government is already telling you what to eat, successfully, and it is mostly very unhealthy for you and your children. It is however quite healthy for the bottoms lines of a few very large, mostly out-of-state chemical and biotech firms, which is why they want Iowans to re-elect Bill Northey, and why they’ve given so much out-of-state money to Mr. Northey’s campaign.
Francis Thicke has been a professional farmer for nearly 30 years. He has a PhD in soil science, and decades of hands-on farm and public service experience. He is beholden to no corporate or out-of-state interests at all.
For the most change you can create in this election, I urge Iowans to vote for Francis Thicke for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. If you’re from out-of-state, I urge you to lend your voices.
This is IMPORTANT people, for you, your family, the environment, and Agriculture in general. Both candidates spoke on Iowa Public Radio recently, with Incumbent Bill Northey running circles around callers’ questions and using the word “industry” as a mantra. It is disturbing to think that the person in charge of our state’s agriculture is such a yes-man to big agriculture. When one caller asked what he can do to make his voice heard regarding the industrial hog lot being proposed near his land, Northey simply stated that “there are channels to go through.” Nice advice.
Would you rather vote for THAT guy, or for a farmer who has proven himself both academically and in real life to be dedicated to doing what is right for our State’s Agriculture?
What are you waiting for? Get out and VOTE. Oh, yeah…you are probably waiting for it to be the actual Election Day.
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