One of the biggest disappointments that came out of the Obama adminstration was his favoritism for Big Ag and Monsanto, so much so that he hired a former Biotech Governor of the Year, Tom Vilsack, to be his Secretary of Agriculture.
Now, his successor Donald Trump is at it again, making a pick for the same position that has environmental and natural, non-GMO food advocates concerned.
While his name may sound familiar to many, Sonny Perdue is actually not connected to the chicken raising mega-busiess of the same name. But he does share many things in common with that company’s way of doing business, with many ties to Big Agribusiness and the chemical companies that keep the machine humming along year after year.
Former Governor of Georgia is Trump’s New Pick
The former governor of Georgia, Perdue has a background in veterinary medicine and was a key supporter of the Trump camapaign. He owns several businesses including “trucking agriculture and logistical firms” from his base in Georgia, as the website Bustle.com put it.
But what has environmental activists concerned are his ties to Big Ag, having received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies that help chemical companies and large agricultural conglomerates according to this report in the New York Times, at the expense of small farmers and the environment.
Perdue’s appointment is particularly important because of the massive amount of funds given to the Agricultural Department, and its effect on the food system. The Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for helping to dictate food policy as well as food safety, while funding nutrition programs, food stamps and more as well as the Forest Service.
Perdue has already taken money from Monsanto specifically, and other pesticide companies, during his gubernatorial campaigns, according to a report and petition from the Organic Consumers’ Association titled ‘Tell The Senate: Don’t Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA!’ Over seven campaigns in Georgia, he accepted more than $300,000 from agribusiness companies.
How much will this influence affect his policies in Washington? That remains to be seen, but Trump’s appointments so far leave a lot to be desired in terms of giving organic and natural farming advocates a seat at the table, at the very least.
You can view a list of Trump’s Monsanto and GMO-friendly appointments (including Vice President Mike Pence), as well as sign the petition, by clicking here.
You can also read the full report on Perdue’s hire from the Times by clicking on this link.