From the Pesticide Action Network and the national Family Farm Coalition, here’s a last-minute heads up on key positions in the US Dept of Agriculture about to be filled by agribusiness insiders. Click here to find out more (and to sign a petition), the text of which is below the fold…
Despite campaign promises to the contrary, President Obama has nominated to two key posts “Big Ag” industry insiders who come straight from the chemical pesticide and biotechnology sectors.
* Islam Siddiqui — current VP of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife, and a former lobbyist — has been nominated to the critical post of U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator. This position will enable him to keep pushing chemical pesticides, inappropriate biotechnologies, and unfair trade arrangements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.
* Roger Beachy — long-time head of Monsanto’s defacto nonprofit research arm — has been installed as director of the USDA’s newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This office comes with a $500 million budget, and therein control over the U.S. ag research agenda for years to come.
We need 50,000 signatures! To make this kind of impact, PAN is joining a broad coalition of partner groups from around the country in mobilizing to block Siddiqui’s nomination. We join National Family Farm Coalition, Food & Water Watch, Farmworker’s Association of Florida, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, Food Democracy Now!, Greenpeace, and Center for Food Safety in calling on President Obama to live up to his promises.
Your name will be added to the following petition, which ends:
“As parents, farmers, advocates, scientists and people who eat food, we remember your promise on the campaign trail: “We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. It’s the Department of Agriculture. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.” We, the undersigned, are writing to hold you to that promise.”
Click here to sign.