2.Walking the shiny talk

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1.From our archive:

1. In February 2004 Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack gave Monsanto (Muscatine, Iowa branch) two awards, part-sponsored by his own office, for "environmental excellence" - one a "special recognition for energy efficiency/renewable energy", and the other a "special recognition for air quality".

Monsanto Muscatine manufactures glyphosate herbicide and enjoys a permit from the Iowa Dept of Natural Resources to emit 13.2 tons per year of volatile organic compounds

Greenpeace comments: "Monsanto's Muscatine, Iowa plant, which produces alachlor, butachlor and other highly toxic compounds, releases at least 265,000 pounds of chemicals per year directly into the Mississippi."

"According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service: 'the combined effect of the Monsanto discharge with other discharges may severely stress and degrade the [aquatic] habitat.' Agricultural chemicals in the discharge were of particular concern."

2. "In Iowa, the US Department of Agriculture has forced the biotech company, ProdiGene Inc. of College Station, Texas, to pay for burning 155 acres of conventional corn that may have cross-pollinated with some of the firm's biotech plants [corn GE'd to produce pig vaccine] .... The USDA did not disclose the location except to say it was in north-central Iowa. "...Vilsack said, 'we should not overreact and hamstring this industry or limit Iowa's ability to participate in this emerging industry.'"
- Philip Brasher, "ProdiGene Biotech Firm Under Fire has Link to Iowa", Des Moines Register, 14 Nov 02

Is this how Vilsack plans to "add value" to Iowa's crops and make farmers more competitive - irreversibly contaminating corn with drugs?
2.More on Vilsack

Like most people, I have been trying to keep my hopes alive of seeing the President elect walk his shiny talk. Though his 'green dream team' choice seems to be a step in the right direction, the economic hit men are pretty much of the same old school. Well now he has just chosen his man to oversee the department of Agriculture. What of the future of food?

In choosing Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture, farmer-in-chief, I'm afraid the prognosis does not look good. Once again, the full might and power of Big Biotech, will bring its bloated weight to bear on the scanty frame of our under nourished, and truth starved democracy. So far, the people of Europe have largely managed to see through the propaganda and the pseudo-science that is regularly rallied off as justification to get us all ever more addicted to the black heroin that is oil, and the merry-go-round of 'round-up ready', the systemic herbicide that is the side-kick to the majority of GM seed. Having said this, however, it is managing to sneak in through the back door via the trojan horse of soya used as animal feed and for cooking oil. The US, however, has been under the Monsanto GM thumb (the main GM player) for over 15 years.

With Vilsack at the wheel, the thumb may well turn into a dirty big boot, and I honestly foresee more pressure and more propaganda coming our way over here, and even more so in Africa. Vilsack was awarded the title Governor of the Year 2001 by non other than the biggest biotechnology industry group, the biotechnology industry organisation (BIO) "for his support of the industry's economic growth and agricultural biotechnology research'. In 2000 he was the founder and chair of the Governors biotechnology partnership. this group started with only 13 governors and now has over half the nations governors, according to BIO's website. Its main mission is to act as a clearing house for biotech information and promote the case of world-wide acceptance of GMO's.

Vilsack was also the originator of the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, which took away local governments possibility of ever having a regulation on seeds - where GM seeds can be grown, having GMO-free buffers and banning GM seeds locally. He is also well known for his travel arrangements involving Monsanto jets...