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March 17, 2018 | Big Corps Increasing Their Control Over Our Food Supply

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel ( Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog:

The big corporate profit-at-all cost mandate expanded under the Obama government and is further emboldened under Trump.  Individuals can help with ongoing vigilance over where and what products we buy and for agitating to restrict corporate donations in politics.  See:  Is the USDA the latest site of corporate takeover in the Trump administration?

The US government’s organic-agriculture program isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find a nest of corporate lackeys and anti-environmental actors. And yet, at a recent meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Jacksonville, Florida, that’s exactly what Iowa dairy farmer Francis Thicke alleged.

“Big business is taking over the USDA organic program,” Thicke said, addressing his colleagues in a speech marking his retirement. “Because the influence of money is corroding all levels of our government.”

…Many smaller-scale farmers are busy with the work of farming and don’t have the means to hire lobbyists to represent their interests,” Oakley said. “Larger agricultural businesses do. That creates a dynamic in which the voices that are before the NOSB [National Organic Standards Board] tend not to be smaller-scale farmers, despite the fact that they comprise a majority of certified organic farms. The organic movement has become an organic industry.”

Michael Sligh, a veteran farmer who served as the inaugural chair of the NOSB and helped draft the first federal organic regulations, was even more blunt.

“These are perilous times, and we must all commit ourselves to ongoing vigilance,” Sligh said. “The best way to grow organic is by protecting [the label’s] integrity. Any attempts to lower standards to rapidly expand market share is a fool’s errand that will come back to haunt us. We are attracting big players to organic who do not share our values, and we need to hold them accountable.”

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March 17th, 2018

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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