Stop Big Ag in the White House - Say no to Monsanto - CropLife

During the campaign, President Obama talked about closing the revolving door between powerful corporate interests and government service. Now we're finding that he hasn't lived up to his word.  Last month, he nominated two “Big Ag” power brokers--Roger Beachy and Islam Siddiqui--to key government positions, putting agribusiness executives in charge of our country's agricultural research and trade policy. Please join us in telling the President that this isn't the change we were hoping for.


UPDATE: In October of 2009, Food Democracy Now! joined more than 100 other organizations to protest the nomination of Islam Siddiqui, former VP of CropLife, to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the U.S. Trade Office. CropLife gained notoriety for sending a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama expressing their displeasure at her growing a garden at the White House free of pesticides. Despite public outcry, with the submission of 90,000 signatures to the Senate Finance committee, Siddiqui received a recess-appointment by Obama in March, 2010, allowing his nomination to bypass a full Senate vote. Siddiqui's recess appointment once again calls into question Obama's committment to close the revolving door between industrial ag and U.S. government agencies. Such a move is another disappointment to those who voted for Barack Obama and his progressive Rural Agenda.  Please see our blog for updated information.

    Here is the letter that we will deliver on your behalf to President Obama asking him to stand up for a sustainable future and keep his campaign promises.

    Dear President Obama,

    We urge you to withdraw the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator and to reconsider your support of Roger Beachy as director of the new National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Siddiqui is CropLife’s current vice president of science and regulatory affairs, and until last month, Beachy was the head of Monsanto’s de facto nonprofit research arm. As two textbook cases of the “revolving door” between industry and the agencies meant to keep watch, Siddiqui and Beachy’s industry ties demonstrate that both men are too beholden to corporate agriculture to serve the public interest.

    As parents, farmers, advocates, scientists and people who eat food, we remember your promise on the campaign trail: “We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. It’s the Department of Agriculture. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.” We, the undersigned, are writing to hold you to that promise.


    [Your name]