Clinton's rural co-chair is corporate ag advocate

The Des Moines Register reported on Saturday that some family farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates are upset about Hillary Clinton’s choice of Joy Philippi to co-chair "Rural Americans for Hillary."

Clinton has talked about more regulations of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), but  

Philippi is a recent past president of the National Pork Producers Council.

“That’s the poster organization for corporate agriculture,” said [family farmer Garry] Klicker, who owns about 120 acres in rural Bloomfield and raises about 130 cows and calves.

Klicker said that because Clinton picked Philippi, he doesn’t believe the candidate when she says she will champion small farms if she is elected president.

“I’m just very disappointed that Hillary would turn her back on us like this,” said Klicker, who said he is unsure whom he will caucus for but is leaning toward Democrat Joe Biden. “She says she’ll do one thing, yet when you surround yourself with people who are against the rest of us, we can’t expect anything good to happen on family farm issues.”

I know some Hillary supporters believe that she is just campaigning as a moderate and would govern as a true progressive. Stories like this are why I have a lot of trouble believing that. Corporate ag interests have too much power, and I can’t see Hillary taking them on.

  • This is a devastating article for Clinton, it could affect the race as it exposes her hidden agenda

    Let’s not forget that Hillary was on the WAL-MART Board of Directors for 6 years and never tried to rectify or ask about the company’s despicable labor or out-sourcing practices.

    I think this part of the article is particularly damaging to Clinton’s chances for first place, and second choice cross-overs:

    The pork producers council has lobbied against some environmental standards for the hog industry. Its members have fought what’s known as local control, which would give local authorities control over where livestock facility construction, how owners must control odor, or where or how they dispose of bi-products.

    That”s the opposite of Clinton’s stance. Clinton has called for tightening control over confined-animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs, and says she supports local local control over CAFO siting decisions. She has said she would seek more federal government control over air and water pollution from corporate factory farms.

    Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which advocates for small farmers, also questions Clinton’s choice to pick Philippi, who was the mouthpiece for the hog factory industry during her time as National Pork Producers Council president.

    Independent, sustainable hog farmers know NPPC does not stand up for their interests, said Lisa Whelan of the community improvement organization.

    When Philippi was asked Thursday if she is personally opposed to local control efforts and government regulations of CAFOs, she said: “That’s the opinion of some. I think that”s probably one of the misconceptions  I don’t mean to avoid your answer, but I don’t want something that’s going to be adversarial for the campaign.”

    As council president, Philippi testified against requiring fruit, vegetables and meat producers to label the food’s untry of origin so that consumers could make better decisions about what to buy. Clinton often hails this as a much-needed idea.

    In October, Philippi publicly criticized the federal farm bill, saying the legislation would make the U.S. pork industry less competitive globally.

    And she has been vocal in her opposition of ethanol subsidies, records show. She explained Thursday that her personal opinion is that the subsidies are not necessary, partly because they raise the price of feed corn for her animals.

    Klicker remains unconvinced. “It’ inconsistent for a pro-small farm politician to choose a confined-animal feeding operation owner like Philippi to be the face on her rural campaign, and to possibly influence policy in the future,” he said.

    Confined-animal feeding operation owners well-run facilities are a safe, efficient way to raise livestock and compete in the world market. But some Iowans like Klicker believe the facilities foul the air and the water, reduce neighbors’ property values, and drive small farmers out of business.

    It’ a terrible example for Hillary to set. It’ politics at its worst,” he said. “You pick someone to get a few more votes, someone who is actually the enemy of those who have been supporting you all along.”

    I let out an angry “Ooooooo!” when I read this line from Phillipi when cornered on her known opposition to local control: “I don’t mean to avoid your answer, but I don’t want something that’s going to be adversarial for the campaign

    That was really outrageous!  She won’t talk about it now BERFORE the election, because Hillary might lose votes, but AFTER the election Philippi will be pushing Hillary hard against local control!!

    I think this will really affect the second choice of the Biden, Richardson and Dodd Iowa voters, as they will now choose Obama or Edwards if their candidate is not viable and reach the magic 15% level.

    This is a far bigger issue for Iowans than anything happening in Pakistan.  Hillary just let her hidden agenda slip and it’s not for family farms at all.

  • Grist

    Didn’t like the look of it and neither do anyone who cares about the earth. If this story gets out more it could really hurt her. From the "rural" corporate lobbyist fundraiser to this I would be surprised if she places in any of the rural areas and that’s why despite her poll numbers I think she might come in third. I know you’re in the suburbs DMD but do you get that feeling? Have you talked to any Edwards rural precinct captains that have that feeling?

    This is going to be interesting.

    • I haven't talked to rural precinct captains lately

      so I have no idea what’s going on out there.

      I have been saying all year that Hillary would finish no better than third in Iowa.

      I would think this story would hurt her, but I also think that the Register’s statewide reach is not what it used to be—so maybe not many would hear about it.

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.