Monday, January 19, 2009

USDA - business as usual?

Follow this link to analysis and actions you can take to try to force the new admin into at least some change in USDA policy by not appointing lobbyists and Giant-Food Industry supporters to key USDA positions. Rumor has it, that's exactly what's coming next.

At ethicurean's suggestion, I modified her email and sent it to the Obama's transition team:

Subject: USDA appointments
Date: January 19, 2009 11:55:49 AM EST

Dear Mr. Chilton and Ms. Jett:

I am writing to you as the heads of President Obama’s transition team for the Department of Agriculture. I can’t find contact info for Secretary Vilsack, or I’d copy him too.

Rumors on the sustainable food blogosphere have it that people with very clear ties to the industrial meat industry are on the short list for under-secretary and Deputy Secretary positions in the new administration. I have read that Joy Philippi, the formerly of the National Pork Council, and Dennis Wolfe, who opposed consumers’ right to milk labeling by farms that don’t use artificial bovine hormones, are on the short list.

I hope that the rumors are just that. In a country plagued by CAFO pollution, childhood diabetes, and other crises whose root is a broken food system, these candidates represent the interests of corporate food giants and are NOT THE CHANGE THAT I VOTED FOR in November.

We need reformers in the USDA, not agribusiness-as-usual men or women. I am proud to be among the 73,000 and counting Americans who have signed Food Democracy Now’s letter urging the consideration of 12 people who are not only qualified to serve, but who might just begin to make the USDA once again the “people’s Department,” as Lincoln once called it.

I urge you to stand against the appointment of industry representatives and lobbyists to key posts inside the USDA, but instead to consider people like Chuck Hassebrook, Fred Kirschenmann, and Kathleen Merrigan listed here:

Thank you for your time.

Paula Z. Segal
J.D. Candidate 2011
CUNY School of Law

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