On the campaign trail, President Obama vowed to “stand up to corporate mega-farm lobbyists who have long had too much influence over rural and agriculture policies.” But now he’s nominated to two key posts the same ‘Big Ag’ industry insiders he previously promised to oppose: Islam Siddiqui and Roger Beachy.
Islam Siddiqui, nominated for the critical role of U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator, is a former registered lobbyist and current Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife – the largest lobbying association for the pesticide/GMO industry. This position will enable Siddiqui to keep pushing chemical pesticides, inappropriate biotechnologies, and unfair trade arrangements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.
And recently appointed as Director of the USDA’s newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is Roger Beachy. Beachy was the long-time head of Monsanto’s de facto nonprofit research arm, the Danforth Center. With his appointment as Director of NIFA, Beachy will preside over a $500 million budget and thus have substantial control over the U.S. agricultural research agenda for years to come.
For far too long, a handful of agricultural corporations have been making record profits – while food prices have sky-rocketed globally, millions have gone hungry, and family farmers in the U.S. and around the world have lost their land to vast agricultural plantations that suck up massive amounts of water, degrade the soil, and require huge inputs of toxic chemicals.
Our agricultural policy needs a new direction, and installing Big Ag insiders like Siddiqui and Beachy to key U.S. positions can only further entrench corporate control over our food system. That’s why I urge you to take action right away, along with thousands of other concerned individuals, to pressure President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Siddiqui and renounce his support for Beachy.
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow morning (11/19) at 10 am. We have already gotten the attention of the New York Times. Now helps get the attention of the Administration – please act now!