PAN ALERT: Stop Vilsack's Confirmation as Secretary of Agriculture

Despite articulate and energetic pleading from over 75,000 food and sustainable agriculture activists, Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, has been tapped as the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The move surprised many, as Vilsack was apparently dropped after the Obama transition team received a flood of comments and petition signatures from groups including the Organic Consumer Association (OCA), the Food Democracy Now! coalition and PAN activists calling for a progressive pick who would lead change at this critical juncture in U.S. food, farming and forestry policy.

While Vilsack has promoted respectable policies with respect to restraining livestock monopolies, his overall record is one of aiding and abetting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, and promoting genetically engineered crops and animal cloning. Equally troubling is Vilsack's support for unsustainable industrial ethanol production, which has already caused global corn and grain prices to skyrocket, literally taking food off the table for a billion people in the developing world.

PAN is joining with Organic Consumers Association to call on all concerned citizens to join our call to action and block Vilsack's confirmation as the next Secretary of Agriculture. Please help us reach our goal of 100,000 petition signatures against Vilsack's nomination.

We the undersigned reject President-Elect Obama's choice for Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

Over the past month, over 75,000 food and sustainable farming activists have submitted comments and signed petitions, calling for the appointment of a Secretary of Agriculture who would develop and implement a plan that promotes family-scale farming, a safe and nutritious food system and a safe and sustainable vision for the future.

Vilsack’s business as usual positions have included the following:

-Vilsack has been a strong supporter of genetically engineered crops, including bio-pharmaceutical corn.

-The biggest biotechnology industry group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, named Vilsack Governor of the Year. He was also the founder and former chair of the Governor's Biotechnology Partnership.

-When Vilsack created the Iowa Values Fund, his first poster child of economic development potential was Trans Ova and their pursuit of cloning dairy cows.

-The undemocratic and highly unpopular 2005 seed pre-emption bill was Vilsack's brainchild. The law strips local government’s right to regulate Genetically Engineered seed.

-Vilsack is an ardent support of corn and soy-based biofuels, which use as much or more fossil energy to produce them as they generate, while driving up world food prices and literally starving the poor.

We pledge to continue working for a just and sustainable food and farming system. We urge Congress and the office of the President-Elect to consider appointing a Secretary of Agriculture that will advance a sustainable and just future.
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