The suburban Minnetonka and Wayzata zillionaires that run the Republican Party of Minnesota threw a lot of money and effort this year into rebranding themselves as the party of rural Minnesota. If by “rural Minnesota” they mean “gigantic big-city business interests”, they’re absolutely right:
On the other side, a new group called A Greater Minnesota (AGM) retained the services of Himle Rapp & Co. The new outfit was formed by the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, the Minnesota Pork Producers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, among other existing agriculture interest groups. AGM also involved itself in electoral politics, challenging legislative candidates to sign its “five-point pledge.” The group’s opposition to “pseudo-science labeling proposals regarding GMOs” was one element of that policy platform. Other points call for environmental policies “based on sound science … [which] do not put Minnesota farmers and companies at a competitive disadvantage,” as well as “responsible
regulation and … voluntary practices” from farmers to insure food safety.
Perry Aasness, executive director of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, also pointed out that several dozen newly elected
members had taken the five-point pledge.
“I think the message, hopefully, that both parties took from [the AGM campaign] is that rural Minnesota, and these food and agriculture issues, they shouldn’t be ignored,” Aasness said.
That “Minnesota Agri-Growth Council”? It claims to be a “bipartisan” rural farming advocacy group, but the Twin-Cities-based outfit seems to be all about telling its newly-purchased-and-soon-to-be-installed Republican legislators what they should back — which seems to be factory farms and sewage lagoons the size of Rhode Island. Sustainable ag practitioners like the fine folks behind Stand for Food? They don’t count as “real” ag, according to State Senator Julie Rosen of the secretive Senate Rural Task Force, which keeps no minutes and doesn’t make audio or video recordings of its meetings. Rosen vastly prefers 8,860-cow dairy factories. (Of course, she doesn’t have to actually live next to stinky, polluting CAFOs. She lives in a huge 5700-plus-square-foot mansion in the Twin Cities suburb of Mendota Heights, whereas her official home in the rural district she claims to represent is barely 800 square feet.) Meanwhile, AGM, which claims to be equally for organic as well as non-organic farming, didn’t raise a peep of protest when Rosen went on the attack against sustainable agriculture. Quelle surprise. (more…)