Francis Thicke- Grass Farmer Runs for AG Sec.

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Francis Thicke is a grass based dairy farmer and also certified organic farmer. He has written an excellent book on sustainable agriculture which includes a detailed technical explanation of the pyrolysis of animal manure and many other sustainable practices that must be adopted if industrial agriculture is ever to be compatible with air quality, water quality and human health. This in itself is not unusual because many farmers have reached the same conclusions as Francis Thicke. What is unusual is that Mr. Thicke is running for Agricultural Secretary in the State of Iowa, which many of us look at as the flagship of unsustainable agriculture. There are many interesting tapes on this post including a debate between Mr. Thicke and his opponent the current Secretary of Agriculture and a corn and soybean farmer. Sustainable agricultural advocates Michael Pollan, and farmer Joel Salatin are also taped. Iowans are just beginning to become aware of the destruction caused by industrial agriculture despite the fact that their water treatment plant in DesMoines was forced to install the worlds largest nitrate treatment plant years ago. Many other wells and water supplies are severely affected not only by nitrate but also by pathogens, antibiotics, arsenic, growth hormones and etc. The nitrate level at this plant is 5 times that of our Choptank River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However we are on our way to catching Iowa with nitrogen pollution up 63% in the last 8 years. I did have the opportunity to speak to Mrs. Vilsack at a recent Red Cross fund raiser and expressed my admiration for Mr. Thicke a fellow Democrat. Her husband Tom is US. Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Iowa. You will recall that he opposed the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force fertilizer reduction recommendation in 2000. She said that Mr. Thicke would not win. I sent him another donation when I heard that. Nothing could be more positive for the future of food and agriculture than a Thicke win or even a close election in Iowa.

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