The New Agtivist: Francis Thicke wants to lead Iowa agriculture to a greener future

Francis Thicke, reform candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture, on his organic dairy farm (Will Meredith)By Bonnie Azab Powell

An organic dairy farmer, soil scientist, and wind-energy proponent is challenging an agribiz incumbent for Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. See what Michael Pollan thinks this means for Big Agribiz and why you should care about Francis Thicke.

There’s a lot at stake in the 2010 mid-term elections. Democrats are biting their nails over the House and Senate races; Grist is highlighting the 37 governorships that are up for grabs. In this picture, the contest for secretary of agriculture in Iowa might seem a tad obscure to non-Iowans — especially if you, like most people, would have trouble naming your own state’s Ag Sec.

But Iowa is the big kahuna when it comes to farming, producing a fifth of the nation’s corn, a sixth of its soy, 30 percent of its hogs, and 12 percent of its eggs. It’s also the second-largest recipient of federal farming subsidies, and currently in the news for the recall of half a billion salmonella-tainted eggs. If challenger Francis Thicke (pronounced “TICK-ee”) manages to unseat incumbent agriculture secretary Bill Northey, it would be a huge win not only for sustainable agriculture in Iowa, but the nation. And it would send a clear message to Congress as lobbyists and activists begin putting on their battle overalls for the next Farm Bill.

Read the full post at Grist

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