Sunday, January 08, 2012

Alan Guebert: Farm and Food: Colonialism 101 @ Journal Star

It's hard to see Iowa State University's key role in a plan by one of its top officials to develop an 800,000-acre farm in Tanzania as anything other than institutional polish to a land deal for the politically well-connected.
And, yet, there sits ISU, in a geopolitical web that stretches from its corn-and-soybean encircled campus in Ames to Wichita, Kan., home to Koch Industries, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, one of two offices of Pharos Financial Group, and then back to Alden, Iowa, the base of AgriSol Energy LLC, a closely-held ag enterprise that's partnered with Pharos to use its "expertise to create agricultural businesses in underdeveloped global locations."

The link to all is Bruce Rastetter, a one-time Iowa farmboy that now, according to the Associated Press, serves as Iowa's political "kingmaker."

Rastetter is CEO of Summit Group, an "umbrella organization" that includes Summit Farms, his Iowa farming operation, and AgriSol, the Pharos-partnered company on the prowl for "global locations that have attractive natural resources." Rastetter was CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings, a 450 million-gallon ethanol maker that, after a bankruptcy, was sold to a subsidiary of Koch Industries in 2011. ...  Read more at Journal Star.

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