Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thicke Considering Run for Sec. of Agriculture

Desmoinesdem broke the news yesterday at Bleeding Heartland that Francis Thicke, an organic dairy farmer near Fairfield, is planning to run for Secretary of Agriculture.

Thicke would be an outstanding asset to Iowa as Secretary of Agriculture. A working farmer and expert on many agricultural policy issues, he currently serves on Iowa's USDA State Technical Committee and has an impressive list of publications. In the past he has served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, the Iowa Food Policy Council, and the Iowa Organic Standards Board. [...]

If Thicke runs for Secretary of Agriculture, his campaign is likely to become a focal point for environmentalists who aren't satisfied with our current Democratic leadership in Iowa.
Thicke released this statement yesterday with more information...
March 20, 2009


Francis Thicke (Tic-kee) announced today that he has formed an exploratory committee to advise him on the possibility of running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in the 2010 election. Thicke and his wife, Susan, are owners and operators of an organic, grass-based dairy farm near Fairfield . They process their milk on the farm and market it locally through grocery stores and restaurants.

Citing estimates that more than 80% of the $8 billion worth of food consumed in Iowa comes from out of state, Thicke said "Growing more of our food in Iowa represents a multi-billion dollar economic development opportunity." This potential economic activity could "create thousands of new jobs and help revitalize rural communities in Iowa, as well as provide Iowans with fresh, nutritious food," said Thicke.

The ethanol industry has been struggling to survive in today's changing economic climate. "Iowa's investment in ethanol production has brought economic development to agriculture, and we need to protect that investment," said Thicke. "However, it is time to reassess, and consider how future investments in renewable energy can be better targeted to profit farmers, and better protect our natural resource base."

Thicke has a Ph.D. in agronomy/soil fertility and has previously served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. as National Program Leader for Soil Science for the USDA-Extension Service. Thicke frequently speaks at conferences and workshops in Iowa, across the Midwest, and nationally on a wide range of topics, including local food systems and economic development, ecologically sound animal production systems, organic farming practices, and soil management for sustainable farming.

Thicke has served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission and the Iowa Food Policy Council at the appointment of Governor Vilsack, and on the Iowa Organic Standards Board at the appointment of Governor Branstad. He currently serves on Iowa's USDA State Technical Committee.

"I am looking forward to engaging people across the state in a dialogue on opportunities to make Iowa agriculture more prosperous and sustainable," Thicke said.

My first thought was that Thicke is qualified to hold this position and lead on key issues such as renewable energy, locally grown foods, and local control of hog confinements. Next, I thought this means Denise O'Brien, who narrowly lost in 2006, won't be running. O'Brien and Thicke have similar backgrounds and why beat each other up in a primary when they both care about the same issues.

No comments: