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Ken Midkiff of the MO Sierra Club has an excellent piece in the Columbia Tribune about Hillary Clinton appointing a CAFO advocate as a co-chairman of her rural campaign effort:

I received a press release from the Hillary Clinton camp announcing she had appointed Joy Philippi as co-chairwoman of her rural campaign effort. Having never heard of this appointee, I entered her name into a search engine.

Lo and behold, it turns out Joy Philippi was, until March, president of the National Pork Producers Association (NPPC) and owns and operates a giant hog CAFO on her land in Nebraska. She is still one of the chief pooh-bahs of the NPPC, on its national board of directors. Big Pig. Big Meat.

The NPPC is notorious for promoting takeovers by corporate agribusiness and generally being opposed to most legislation in our nation’s Capitol. For instance, the NPPC opposes country-of-origin labeling, opposed any attempt to impose environmental regulations on CAFOs (“hog excrement don’t stink”) and is opposed to local control. However, the NPPC was totally in favor of NAFTA and has all of the major hog-rearing corporations behind it – Cargill, ConAgra, Smithfield, Seaboard and Tyson among them. There are no independent hog farmers on the board of directors of the NPPC.

Philippi seemed to be an enemy of the independent farmer and was in favor of most things that would lead to their demise.

Midkiff also googled the other two co-chairs of Clinton’s advisory committee on rural matters. He found them to be people who listen to the folks in their districts and who haven’t done anything heinous to promote CAFOs. But why, Midkiff couldn’t help but wonder, would Hillary choose Philippi?

I was left with only two conclusions:

  • Hillary Clinton is under the impression that the NPPC is an organization of real farmers.
  • Clinton was courting the largesse of the members of the NPPC that include some of the largest corporations in the United States.

In the first of the two conclusions, Clinton comes across as an ignoramus. Given that she is a rather brilliant person, the second conclusion is more likely. Money. Influence. Power. She is singing the same song that has always been No. 1 on the D.C. hit parade.

This is one of those areas Bersin and Clark discussed where real policy differences exist between our primary opponents. You can see the difference between them on rural issues by listening to what the three said at an event sponsored by the League of Rural Voters.

Clinton advocated better links between local farmers and the local institutions, such as hospitals and schools, that might buy from them. That’s OK, but it isn’t much. Obama went much further. He wanted a $250,000 cap on farm program payments.

“When I’m President, I’ll have a department of agriculture, not simply a department of agri-business,” Obama vowed.

Now we’re getting somewhere!

But Edwards made the other two look pale.

Edwards, for his part, railed against the destructive influence on American agriculture of what he called “corporate farms.”


“I think we need a national moratorium on CAFOs – these concentrated animal feeding operations – so that we’re not expanding them and we’re not building new ones,” Edwards said.  

If I were a farmer, I’d be voting for Edwards.