Sunday, November 11, 2007

Obama Bashes Big Agriculture

Illinois Senator Barak Obama is running seriously behind New York Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. Obama's strategy at this point is to try and win the Iowa caucuses in January. He is spending a considerable amount of time there and this weekend he was bashing 2 large agri-businesses. This is very interesting considering the companies he named were ADM and Conagra - 2 companies with an extremely large presence in Illlinois employing thousands of people. But it is election season and any thing goes:

"It's about time Washington started listening to rural America," Obama said. "You can't simply sit in Washington, talking to lobbyists. That's why the Washington insiders who matter to me live in Washington County, Iowa, not Washington, D.C. That's why as president, I'll be listening to the LRV, not ADM."

The LRV is the League of Rural Voters and ADM is Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Corp., one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soybeans and corn.

Obama also contended that $1.3 billion in federal farm subsidies is going to people "who aren't even farmers."

"You've got farm money going to Fortune 500 companies. Meanwhile, for an expensive steak, a small farmer gets less than a dollar. For a loaf of bread, it's a dime. That's what's happens when rural policy gets made in the backrooms by lobbyists in Washington," Obama said.

"We'll tell ConAgra that it's not the Department of Agribusiness," the Illinois Democrat said. "It's the Department of Agriculture. We're going to put the people's interests ahead of the special interests."

ConAgra has a major headquarters in west suburban Chicago.

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