Paul Krugman believes that hiring Chuck Hassebrook to be deputy secretary of Agriculture will redeem Barack Obama for his safe and stale choice of Iowa’s Tom Vilsack to head the agency. Vilsack is considering Hassebrook, whom Krugman calls “a Nebraskan ag expert who has long called for reforms and argued that the high limits on farm payments encourage consolidation in agriculture at the expense of the family farm.” But such thinking may be too adventurous for some members of Congress, who are opposing Hassebrook’s appointment. Food Democracy Now has several other suggestions for under secretary at the USDA; they’ve been dubbed “the Sustainable Dozen.” Candidates range from Kathleen Merrigan, a driving force behind the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and our hometown pick, Fred Kirschenmann of Stone Barns. There is, of course, a petition.
Tom Vilsack, our secretary of Agriculture. Photo: Getty Images,