DES MOINES, Iowa, November 1, 2010 – Monsanto lobbyist, DeCoster lawyer and political power broker Jerry Crawford’s endorsement of Republican incumbent Ag Secretary Bill Northey brings key relationships to light that underscore the need to elect an independent thinker like Francis Thicke as Iowa’s top agriculture official, the campaign said today.
Crawford registered as a Washington, D.C. lobbyist for agribusiness giant Monsanto in late 2009, just ahead of U.S. Department of Justice and USDA antitrust hearings in Iowa and four other states, and has already been paid at least $150,000 by the agribusiness giant. Thicke, who has called for Teddy Roosevelt-style trust-busting to break up corporate monopolies and return competition to agricultural markets, said Crawford’s endorsement was no surprise.
“Mr. Crawford is paid by Monsanto to support them in the face of anti-trust investigations, and Mr. Northey seems fine with Monsanto and other agribusiness monopolists calling the shots on seed pricing and farmer practices,” Thicke said. “What is surprising is that Northey would even want Crawford’s backing when other candidates are trying to distance themselves from him.”
Crawford, who also has worked as environmental polluter Jack DeCoster’s lawyer, was the power broker behind political deals that funneled thousands of dollars in DeCoster contributions to Iowa politicians. Crawford owns a racehorse with Pete DeCoster, the principal in Wright County Egg, the Iowa egg laying facility at the center of an August recall of a half-billion Salmonella-contaminated eggs.
After the egg recall, Thicke called for more rigorous, producer-funded egg-egg safety rules requiring vaccinations, regular inspections and testing.
Francis Thicke has been a full-time farmer for 27 years, is a scientist with a Ph.D. in agronomy/soil fertility, and has worked in the past at the USDA in Washington, D.C., where he served as National Program Leader for Soil Science. A frequently consulted national expert on agricultural sustainability, Thicke and his wife, Susan, own and operate an 80-cow organic, grass-based dairy near Fairfield, where they process milk on the farm into bottled milk, yogurt and cheese marketed locally through Fairfield grocery stores and restaurants. For additional information, please visit www.FrancisThicke.com.