There have been inspired some inspired federal appointments (Kathleen Merrigan! Hurrah) in the past 9 months, appointments that made some of us feel like change in food and farm policy was possible, even likely. Other appointments leave a gal like me scratching her head. For example, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
These guys are long time Big Ag insiders, having worked hard in the past for CropLife and Monsanto and no doubt promising to continue working hard for those companies in their new posts as well. As explained in the petition scribed by a coalition of organizations including National Family Farm Coalition and the Pesticide Action Network, “these are two textbook cases of the “revolving door” between industry and the agencies meant to keep watch, Siddiqui and Beachy’s industry ties demonstrate that both men are too beholden to corporate agriculture to serve the public interest”
The petition eloquently expresses it: “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.”
Let’s hold them to it, shall we?