Barack Obama nominated one of "our own" to his cabinet. But is Tom Vilsack qualified to be Secretary of Agriculture? If by agriculture you mean Big Ag, the folks who brought you GMOs, Cloned cattle, and CAFOs, you betcha. But if you mean agriculture that is sustainable and healthy, well let's just say Obama could have done a whole lot better than the Pittsburgh, PA raised Tom Vilsack.
According to the Organic Consumers Association, Vilsack’s positions have included the following:
• Vilsack has been a strong supporter of genetically engineered pharmaceutical crops, especially pharmaceutical corn.
• The biggest biotechnology industry group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, named Vilsack Governor of the Year. He is also the founder and former chair of the Governor's Biotechnology Partnership.
• When Vilsack created the Iowa Values Fund, his first poster child for economic development was Trans Ova and their pursuit of cloning dairy cows.
• The undemocratic 2005 seed preemption bill was the Vilsack's brainchild. The law strips local government’s right to regulate genetically engineered seed.
• Vilsack is an ardent supporter of corn and soy based biofuels, which use as much or more energy to produce as they generate and drive up world food prices, literally starving the poor.
• During his time as governor "Vilsack oversaw the largest proliferation of hog confinements in the states history."
At a time when our food supply is "at risk," it makes little sense to promote a person who has been the head of a state with some of the environmentally unsound waterways in the country. If the President-Elect wants an Iowan to run the agency, I hear Denise O'Brien is available.