The Ag Lobby

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Over at Grist, Tom Laskawy reacts to the recent changes in the Senate Agriculture Committee:

As suspected, agribusiness is indeed turning cartwheels over the news that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln is now chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. The public policy director for the retrograde American Farm Bureau told The Hill, “We couldn’t have handpicked a chairman better than this.” The giant sucking sound you’re hearing is agricultural reform rushing down the drain.

The headline of The Hill’s piece tells you all you need to know:  “K Street welcomes Lincoln as the new head of Ag committee” — K Street being the center of the lobbying biz. If you read on, however, you’ll discover all sorts of lovely little Lincolnian tidbits. Did you know that in 2007 Lincoln tried to exempt agribusiness from toxic waste lawsuits? The fact that Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken (and chickensh*t) producer, is based in Arkansas and is a major campaign contributor to her is, of course, a total coincidence.

I wouldn’t normally link to this, but I just got finished writing a piece for the magazine about the ag lobby and its malign effect on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, so this stuff is on my mind right now.  While I wouldn’t say the ag lobby is the most powerful lobby in the country — that title is probably reserved for the finance lobby, the target of my next piece — it’s definitely right up there.  And it’s equally powerful no matter which party is in charge, too.  The ag lobby owns ’em both.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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