Forget Agriculture—We Need a Secretary of Food

Take on the corrupt factory farming system, Obama
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2008 10:33 AM CST
Dairy cows look out from their stalls at Tim Forry's Oregon Dairy Farm in Lititz, Pa. When a cow dies, Forry dumps in onto a 200-foot compost pile, where dozens of dead cattle are slowly decaying.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Once upon a time, more than one-third of Americans worked on farms, and a Department of Agriculture seemed logical. These days just 2% of Americans work the land, and the factory-farm lobby dictates agriculture policy, writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. To help remedy the situation, Kristof contends, Barack Obama should appoint a reformer to a renamed post: “secretary of food."

"The need for change is increasingly obvious, for health, climate, and even humanitarian reasons," Kristof writes. A Department of Food "would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change, and makes Americans unhealthy—all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars."