Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has been tapped as the nominee by President-elect Barack Obama as the next USDA Secretary.
Here's a link to a thorough backgrounder on Vilsack from Jim Wiesemeyer, the Washington Insider contributor to ProFarmer.
"Because of the diversity of agriculture in Iowa, former governor Vilsack has had direct exposure to the policies and politics of many of the issues that he'll be faced with in the coming years," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation in a statement. " These include balancing competing needs in the areas of farm program payments, environmental regulations, renewable fuels mandates, trade policy, and more.
"NMPF looks forward to working with Gov. Vilsack and the new team he assembles at USDA. Agriculture is not immune to the recession hurting the global economy, and there will be many challenges, economic and otherwise, facing USDA's leaders starting right away in 2009."
Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said this in a statement, "During his tenure as Iowa's governor, one of the nation's top agriculture-producing states, Gov. Vilsack was an ardent supporter of furthering the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind, as well as an advocate for biotechnology. He has been a strong proponent of international trade and expanding our export markets. His understanding and experience with many of the pressing issues facing agriculture today will serve him well in his new position"