Coalition Launches “No Big Ag Money” Pledge Targeting Presidential Candidates

New poll shows 77% of Iowa Democratic Caucus goers want candidates to reject Big Ag money

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today a coalition of food, farming, food chain worker and environmental groups called upon 2020 presidential candidates to pledge to reject contributions from large food and agribusiness corporation executives, lobbyists, and PACs. This follows the release of a new poll showing 77 percent of Iowa Democratic Caucus goers agree that presidential candidates should reject donations from large food and agribusiness corporations, with 55 percent strongly holding this view. The Lake Research Partners poll of 400 likely Democratic Caucus goers also found that:

  • 64 percent favor breaking up the largest food and agriculture corporations, including over a third (37 percent) who strongly favor this.
  • 64 percent favor temporarily stopping the development of new factory farms and expansion of existing ones.
  • 89 percent favor increasing resources and spending in order to help family farmers increase use of conservation practices that protect soil, water, and wildlife.
  • 72 percent support increasing resources and spending to help family farmers adapt to climate change while meeting our food needs.


“Democratic candidates must reject Big Ag money and break up the massive corporations that are harming Iowa and this country,” said Lisa Archer, food and agriculture director for Friends of the Earth Action. “Voters want family farmers to have the resources they need to protect our environment and survive the growing climate crisis. Iowans are looking for a candidate who will stand with farmers, food chain workers, consumers and our environment, and reject corporate agriculture’s influence. To win in Iowa, candidates must listen to the majority of their voters, who are tired of factory farms and polluting agribusiness wrecking their communities.”

Currently in the United States, four corporations (many of them foreign owned) control 84 percent of the market for beef, 70 percent of the market for soy, 66 percent of the market for hogs, 80 percent of the market for corn, 59 percent of the market for poultry, 84 percent of the market for pesticides and 60 percent of the market for seeds.

“Iowa voters know that the way to create a thriving agricultural economy is through sustainable small and mid-sized farms, not large factory farms and corporations,” said Mark Schlosberg, Political Director, Food & Water Action. “Democratic candidates who are interested in supporting Iowa’s family farmers will embrace policies like breaking up big agribusiness and stopping the expansion of factory farms. This starts with rejecting money from these large corporate interests and a pledge to reject Big Ag money.”

“The polling released by Friends of the Earth Action is a strong indicator of the grassroots momentum building in Iowa for reigning in the factory farm industry and all of the negative impacts they create,” said Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI Action Board President. “In one of the country’s most productive agricultural states, the voters of Iowa are sending a clear message to presidential candidates about the food and farm system we want to see: factory farms run by giant corporations are not part of it.”

“Like voters across the country, Iowans have shown that they want a candidate who will break the stranglehold that big corporations have on farming, our health, and our environment, who will put people and the planet over profit,” said Navina Khanna, Director of HEAL Food Action. “Today’s voters know that the best candidates will invest in independent family farmers, support farm and food chain workers, address climate change, and work for racial justice.” 

“Agribusiness monopolies have used campaign cash and lobbying dollars to put a strangle-hold on federal food and farm policy. They’ve blocked common-sense proposals that this poll shows Iowa voters overwhelmingly support,” said Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of Citizens Regeneration Lobby. “Candidates should stand with these voters by rejecting large contributions from agribusiness, their law firms, lobbying groups, trade associations and employees.”

These findings are from a poll commissioned Friends of the Earth Action and conducted by Lake Research Partners by telephone January 2-5, 2020 of 400 registered Iowa voters who were screened as likely participants in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Caucus. Click here to read LRP’s memo on the poll. The No Big Ag Money Pledge can be found here.

Expert contact: Lisa Archer, (510) 900-3145,
Communications contact: Aisha Dukule, (202) 893-3502,