An Iowa Ag Radio group quoted my story involving the possibilities of Annette Sweeney, a former Iowa legislator, as a possible U.S. Secretary of Agriculture possibility. Her fellow Republicans on the Donald Trump Agricultural Advisory Committee, had told Agweek they’d prefer a Trump supporter like Sweeney to a Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota.
The RadioAg report by O. Kay Henderson, notes that Sweeney served as co-chair of America’s Renewable Future, a group agribusinessman Bruce Rastetter formed in 2015. The group’s aim was to lobby the presidential candidates to support the Renewable Fuels Standard. Sweeney was the lead speaker at the group’s kick-off event in January of 2015. “How important that Renewable Fuels Standard is to the economy, sustainability and to the future of fuels here in the United States,” Sweeney said.Sweeney, who is from the same hometown as Rastetter, told Agweek she’d had been in favor of him becoming ag secretary, but said that if the administration was looking for gender diversity in its cabinet that she would be able to do the job.
Sweeney feeds the cattle on her farm dried distiller’s grain. That’s the protein byproduct of ethanol production.
Agweek had reported that Sweeney spent four years in the Iowa House, including as some as Agriculture Committee chairman. Henderson noted that Sweeney was instrumental in passage of a 2012 state law that set up a misdemeanor charge for people caught getting a job at a livestock confinement or on a farm to go undercover or to disrupt the operation in some way.
“We are serious about protecting our agriculture that we have in this state,” Sweeney had said five years ago. Sweeney called some of the “stings” by groups like PETA a disservice to “bona fide” farmers.
“A lot of those videos have been edited and a lot of those videos have been staged,” Sweeney said, according to Henderson’s report.