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The President and Seed: Obama Needs to Stand Up to Corporate Power

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, Farm Issues page, and our USDA Watch page.

Last week President Obama held a town hall meeting on the grounds of Iowa's Seed Savers Exchange, an organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.

The stop was part of a larger strategy to appeal to rural voters as the campaign season begins. The president spoke about job creation and the gridlock on Capitol Hill, both issues of concern, to be sure.

But what would have really resonated with rural America is a re-commitment to working toward fairness in our farm fields.

The President should know that growing economic opportunities in rural America will take confronting the concentrated market power (and thus political and legislative power) in several agricultural industries. It will take fulfilling a campaign promise to fight for family farmers and ranchers by ensuring fair and transparent markets.

The President couldn't have picked a better spot to make this point. His venue, Seed Savers, is home to a trove of genetically diverse seed. It is the perfect counterpoint to the alarming  privatizing and concentration of seed ownership, the monopolization of a vital resource. Currently, the top three firms account for more than 75 percent of U.S. corn seed sales -- just one example. 

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