Dec 11, 2020
Tom Vilsack, the once and future US secretary of ag
Tom Vilsack is Joe Biden’s pick to head the USDA when the Biden administration takes office in January 2021.
According to widespread reports, Biden will nominate Vilsack, who was the Secretary of Agriculture during both of Barack Obama’s terms from 2009-2017. If confirmed, he’ll succeed current Secretary Sonny Perdue, whom he also preceded.
In a 2016 statement, Vilsack recognized the growth of U.S. organic sector:
“America’s organic industry is booming, creating important opportunities for farmers and ranchers and adding to the vibrancy of rural America. Under the Obama Administration, we’ve made transformative investments to help the organic sector thrive by making certification more attainable, providing more support for organic operations, and expanding international markets. As consumer demand continues to grow, USDA is here to support producers and help them access the hunger for American-grown organic products.”
Vilsack, who turns 70 on Dec. 13, was the Governor of Iowa from 1999-2007. He also served as a state senator in Iowa during the 1990s and as mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, from 1987-1992.
Since February 2017, Vilsack has been the President and CEO of the nonprofit U.S. Dairy Export Council.
The United Fresh Produce Association issued a statement in support of Vilsack’s return.
“United Fresh is pleased to see Secretary Vilsack return to USDA,” said United Fresh Produce Association CEO Tom Stenzel. “Under his steady leadership we worked together to further the gains of the industry and broaden access to fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly for children. There is no shortage of issues to work on over the next four years — from trade to climate change. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we have experienced leaders who can hit the ground running to ensure that there is a seamless transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, including making sure that the supply chain is utilized to address the immense and immediate food insecurity needs being faced around the country — and there is no one more familiar with how to make USDA work for the American people than Tom Vilsack.”
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who served one term as a U.S. Senator, also were reportedly being considered for Secretary of Agriculture. Fudge, however, will be Biden’s pick to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.