All the speculating in farm country is over: President-elect Barack Obama has made official his nomination of Tom Vilsack as the next Secretary of Agriculture. LSP’s Policy Program Friday released an official statement on the proposed appointment:
“The Land Stewardship Project congratulates former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack on his selection by President-elect Barack Obama as the nominee for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Upon his approval by the U.S. Senate, we look forward to working with the Secretary as he and the U. S. Department of Agriculture begin to implement the farm and rural platform of President-elect Obama.
“Food and agriculture policy is in need of real reform and new direction. The 2,900 member-households of the Land Stewardship Project call on nominee Vilsack to work with LSP and other farm and rural organizations to:
* Fully fund and effectively implement the nationwide Conservation Stewardship Program passed in the 2008 Farm Bill.
* Prevent anti-competitive behavior facing family farmers by banning packer ownership of livestock and ensuring family and independent farmers have fair access to markets, control over their production decisions and transparency in prices.
* Encourage sustainable agriculture and local and regional food systems as engines of community economic development and elements of improved public health.
* Fundamentally reform the nation’s commodity policies, which are excessively expensive and counterproductive to the goals of care of the land and vital family farms.
* Better target federal resources to support family farmers and small businesses instead of big agribusiness, absentee landlords and factory farm livestock operations that have disproportionately reaped the benefits of many farm programs.
“As President-elect Obama stated at a recent press conference:
‘It’s time for a new kind of leadership in Washington ….And it means ensuring that the policies being shaped at the Departments of Agriculture and Interior are designed to serve not big agribusiness or Washington influence-peddlers, but family farmers and the American people.’ “
For more information on LSP’s federal policy work, including our efforts to make sure the 2008 Farm Bill’s positive elements are implemented fully, contact Adam Warthesen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-722-6377.