245 Organizations Urge Senate to Reject Hutchins for USDA Science Chief

Hutchins is a pesticide industry crony that could use the agency’s infrastructure and grant making to advance toxic chemical intensive agriculture

Washington, D.C. Nov. 14, 2018
245
organizations representing farming, farmworker, public
health, labor, food safety and environmental interests
sent a letter to the
U.S. Senate today urging them to oppose the nomination
of Scott Hutchins as chief scientist for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.

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Today’s
letter notes that Hutchins spent over 30 years of his
career working at Dow AgroSciences with a focus on
pesticides. Hutchins would be the third member of Dow
AgroSciences’ pesticide and seed division to hold a
high-level position in the Trump administration’s
USDA. Groups outline that his strong ties to corporate
agribusiness and pesticide companies present serious
conflicts of interest that will undoubtedly affect his
ability to serve as chief scientist for the USDA.

If
confirmed, Hutchins would be setting the agenda for
the agency’s $2.9 billion research budget earmarked to
advance scientific knowledge related to agriculture
through research, extension and education. He would be
tasked with leading and overseeing the Agricultural
Research Service, National Institute of Food and
Agriculture, National Agricultural Library and
National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Hutchins
is a pesticide
industry crony that could use the agency’s
infrastructure and grant making to advance toxic
chemical intensive agriculture,” said Tiffany
Finck-Haynes, pesticides & pollinators program
manager, Friends of the Earth. “The election last week
demonstrates that people across the country are tired
of this administration’s dangerous anti-science,
pro-industry agenda. We urge the Senate to listen to
the American people and reject this pesticide industry
loyalist who will put corporate profits over farmers,
public health and our environment.”

“In
nominating Scott Hutchins to the position of Chief
Scientist at USDA, the Trump Administration has,
again, proven that they are more interested in
promoting the agenda and profit of industrial
agribusiness over scientific integrity, the protection
of public health and the well-being of farmers, farm
workers and rural communities,” said Jim Goodman, board
president and organic dairy and beef farmer,
National Family Farm Coalition.

“Trump’s
coziness with corporations that are industrializing our
food, polluting our air, contaminating our water and
accelerating climate change is unprecedented, and this
nomination is more of the same,” said Wenonah Hauter,
executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The
Senate must oppose the nomination of Hutchins at the
USDA, a particularly egregious gift to the chemical
industry that imperils our food system from field to
plate.”

www.foodandwaterwatch.org