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Wanted: An rBGH-Free Appointment (can we still say that?)

A recent article on the Organic Consumers Association website joins the vetting process for Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture appointment. Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff’s name has surfaced as a potential pick for this post, and anyone that remembers his campaign against rBGH-free labeling will wonder how this appointment could possibly bring the change Obama mentioned in his Rural Plan (namely, to “Prevent Anticompetitive Behavior Against Family Farms” and “Encourage Organic and Sustainable Agriculture”).

Visit the OCA site to read Rick North’s article. Rick is Project Director for the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Campaign For Safe Food. Please use the link following his article to get your two cents in, and to suggest another person for the job. We like Dr. John W. Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmer’s Association and longtime advocate of independent family farms. Six other potential candidates have been endorsed following an open letter to the President-Elect signed by Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Marion Nestle and over 20,000 supporters of sustainable agriculture:

1. Gus Schumacher, former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture.

2. Chuck Hassebrook, executive director, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb.

3. Sarah Vogel, former Commissioner of Agriculture for North Dakota, lawyer, Bismarck, N.D.

4. Fred Kirschenmann, organic farmer, distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY.

5. Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State, former policy analyst in Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture under Governor Rudy Perpich, co-founder of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

6. Neil Hamilton, Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and director of the Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

Five Animal Welfare Approved farmers were among the 84 original signers of this letter: Frank Reese, Jude Becker, Eliza MacLean and partners Arie McFarlen and Bret Kortie. Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute (our parent nonprofit) also lent her name to the cause.

To add your signature, visit the website www.fooddemocracynow.org.

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