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Organic Consumers Know Better: Collin Peterson is Not the OCA's Darling

Sustainable Food News published a bizarre article last week concerning a letter sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack from 75 members of Congress asking for farmers to be allowed to plant genetically engineered alfalfa this fall. Some signers to the letter include House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and 25 additional members of the House Agriculture Committee. The article does not link to the letter itself and preliminary research could not find a copy of it on the internet.

Somewhat facetiously, the first sentence of the article refers to Collin Peterson as the "darling" of the organic food industry. Alert readers may remember back in 2007 when Rep. Peterson referred to organic consumers as "dumb." At that time, OCA responded with a letter writing campaign to Congressman Peterson, explaining why organics are important to consumers.

In March 2010, the Organic Trade Association chose Peterson for its 2010 Public Servant Award "for his service to organic agriculture."

What? Could the guy who thought we were all dumb back in 2007 really have made such an about-face?

The Organic Trade Association feels that Congressman Peterson "played a vital role in shaping the 2008 Farm Bill to give organic the largest gains, both in mandatory and discretionary spending, that it has ever gotten." 

The statement that the 2008 Farm Bill gave organics the largest gains ever is true. What's not as clear is Rep. Peterson's active role in that process and for what purpose he would play such a role. This is the same guy who blocked the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill back in early 2009 because the EPA tried to propose a way to assess the greenhouse gas footprint of ethanol. Corn based ethanol. Genetically-modified corn-based ethanol.

Organics might have gotten more than ever before from the 2008 Farm Bill, but it was a pittance compared to what organic OUGHT to be getting from the Farm Bill. We're in the biggest environmental crisis in human history, to which industrial agriculture is an enormous contributor, and the 2008 Farm Bill is just more of the same subsidies to more of the same carbon emitting factory farms, biotech monocrops, and agricultural conglomerates, but with a little bit more thrown in for organics.

Let's hope that Rep. Collin Peterson really does see the light and push for much better for the 2012 Farm Bill, like this article suggests he might do:

We at OCA aren't holding our collective breath; Peterson's top campaign contributors in the 2009-2010 election cycle are Monsanto, the American Farm Bureau, and American Crystal Sugar. Trust us, Collin Peterson does not represent the interests of the organic consumer.

Related links:

OCA's Resource Center on Industrial Agriculture and Climate Chaos:

Take Action to Stop GE Alfalfa:

OCA's Resource Center on the USDA and the 2012 Farm Bill: