As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity The Cornucopia Institute is stridently nonpartisan and does not take positions in electoral races. However, we wanted to make this announcement public because of a high regard we hold Dr. Thicke in.

Francis Thicke is widely regarded in the organic dairy community is an expert in grass-based livestock production and direct marketing.

Contact: Francis Thicke
Tel. 641/472-8554 Cell Phone: 641/919-8554
Email: [email protected]


Francis Thicke (Tic-kee) announced today that he has formed an exploratory committee to advise him on the possibility of running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in the 2010 election. Thicke and his wife, Susan, are owners and operators of an organic, grass-based dairy farm near Fairfield. They process their milk on the farm and market it locally through grocery stores and restaurants.

Citing estimates that more than 80% of the $8 billion worth of food consumed in Iowa comes from out of state, Thicke said “Growing more of our food in Iowa represents a multi-billion dollar economic development opportunity.” This potential economic activity could “create thousands of new jobs and help revitalize rural communities in Iowa, as well as provide Iowans with fresh, nutritious food,” said Thicke.

The ethanol industry has been struggling to survive in today’s changing economic climate. “Iowa’s investment in ethanol production has brought economic development to agriculture, and we need to protect that investment,” said Thicke. “However, it is time to reassess, and consider how future investments in renewable energy can be better targeted to profit farmers, and better protect our natural resource base.”

Thicke has a Ph.D. in agronomy/soil fertility and has previously served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. as National Program Leader for Soil Science for the USDA-Extension Service. Thicke frequently speaks at conferences and workshops in Iowa, across the Midwest, and nationally on a wide range of topics, including local food systems and economic development, ecologically sound animal production systems, organic farming practices, and soil management for sustainable farming.

Thicke has served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission and the Iowa Food Policy Council at the appointment of Governor Vilsack, and on the Iowa Organic Standards Board at the appointment of Governor Branstad. He currently serves on Iowa’s USDA State Technical Committee.

“I am looking forward to engaging people across the state in a dialogue on opportunities to make Iowa agriculture more prosperous and sustainable,” Thicke said.

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