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Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

The Secret to Democrats Winning the Midwest: Fight Big Agriculture

Factory farming sucks up money and pollutes rural communities in swing states like Iowa

Not since the Rev Jesse Jackson’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination in 1988 have we seen presidential hopefuls so fiercely and consistently bring the issues facing family farmers into the national conversation. This year, five candidates for the Democratic nomination say they support a ban on factory farms.

As we know, Jackson didn’t win the nomination. Michael Dukakis did, but he lost the general election, and four years later Bill Clinton became president. Under Clinton’s leadership, Democrats joined Republicans in advancing an agenda of deregulation and privatization that favored big corporations over everyday people. This didn’t go well for workers – and it was disastrous for many farmers.

“The 1996 Farm Bill stripped away the last remnants of farm programs that used to ensure farmers were paid fairly in the marketplace by managing production and setting price floors,” Ben Lilliston, the director of rural strategies and climate change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, told me.

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