Secretary of Agriculture

Vilsack: Get stuff done quickly

President Biden's nominee for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said he would arrive at the USDA with a "serious focus on getting stuff done quickly," considering the many challenges facing the department, from the pandemic to racial equity and rural development.

Confirmation hearing Feb. 2 for Vilsack

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Feb. 2 for Tom Vilsack, President Biden's nominee for agriculture secretary, said the panel's Democratic and Republican leaders on Wednesday.

Biden makes it official: Vilsack for agriculture secretary

Two days after the news leaked, President-elect Joe Biden formally announced Tom Vilsack as his nominee for agriculture secretary on Thursday. The Vilsack nomination was one of five announced for officials in charge of domestic programs.

Farm groups cheer, progressives lament return of Vilsack to USDA

President-elect Joe Biden's selection of Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary angered farm and food activists who feuded with Vilsack during the Obama years and had hoped for a progressive agenda under Biden. The largest U.S. farm groups welcomed Vilsack on Wednesday as an experienced leader for the recovery from the trade war and the pandemic.

A Biden possibility: Tom Vilsack as three-term agriculture secretary

Tom Vilsack could be on the verge of competing with a fellow Iowan, “Tama Jim” Wilson, for the record of longest-serving cabinet secretary in U.S. history. But as soon as Vilsack was identified on Monday as the leading contender for agriculture secretary in the Biden administration, …

Not looking to run USDA, says Peterson

House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson threw cold water Thursday on suggestions that he should be agriculture secretary in the Biden administration. "There's plenty of people out there that want the job," he told reporters, adding that he was "not looking for a full-time, four-year job" after 30 years in Congress.

Progressive groups back Fudge for agriculture secretary

An array of farm, animal welfare, climate change, and environmental groups urged President-elect Joe Biden to select Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge for agriculture secretary. "She has long been an ally to farmers, food-chain workers, consumers, and rural communities," the groups said.

Biden review of USDA may have a climate mitigation perspective

Robert Bonnie, an Obama appointee at the USDA and now the head of an initiative to identify agriculture's role in mitigating climate change, will lead a review of the Agriculture Department to prepare the way for the incoming administration, said the Biden transition office. Meanwhile, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge said on Wednesday that she would be honored to serve as Biden's agriculture secretary. If chosen, she would be the first Black woman to hold the cabinet post. (No paywall)

Women dominate list of potential nominees for agriculture secretary

Obama-era officials and lawmakers top the list of potential nominees for agriculture secretary in the Biden administration, and, for the first time, most of the contenders are women. Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, co-founder of the One Country Project to boost Democratic support in rural America, was the most frequently mentioned name.

Soybean leader Censky is Trump nominee for deputy ag secretary

President Trump selected Steve Censky of the American Soybean Association to be deputy agriculture secretary, announced the White House in a decision applauded by farm groups. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has put agricultural trade at the top of his agenda, and Censky would reflect that priority.

New interim USDA team looks a lot like the original interim team

In the second step of reorganizing the USDA’s executive portfolios, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue named three acting deputy undersecretaries to oversee the department’s ag export, crop subsidy, and forestry arms until Trump administration nominees report to work.

With new rural development leader, Perdue puts USDA reorganization into gear

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has put the first reorganization of the USDA in a generation into action by hiring an assistant, who will be based in his office, to oversee rural economic development efforts.

Seven big school districts say they won’t relax school lunch standards

Seven of the largest school districts in the nation say they won’t relax school lunch standards despite Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s offer of flexibility in school meals.

U.S. beef in Brazil for first time since 2003

Last August, Brazil said it would remove barriers to U.S. beef that were imposed in 2003 to prevent mad cow disease. Nine months later, the first shipment of fresh U.S. beef has cleared customs for sale to Brazilian consumers.

A solid majority likely in Senate for Perdue, says Grassley

Sonny Perdue can expect a broad and bipartisan vote in the Senate next week to become agriculture secretary, though it won’t be unanimous, said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley.

A smooth path to USDA for Perdue, but not speedy

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, the last of President Trump's nominees for the cabinet, is sailing, albeit slowly, to confirmation as agriculture secretary with the backing of the major U.S. farm groups. The agricultural community talks so much about Perdue buckling down to work at USDA that today's confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee or Senate approval of the nomination seems like a formality.

Who is running USDA while the Trump team arrives?

The headlines go to the president's appointee for agriculture secretary — this year, President Trump's selection of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. But the Agriculture Department has approximately 400 executive jobs, the great majority of them filled by the appointee. Michael Young, the USDA budget director, is the top officer at USDA for the moment, awaiting Senate confirmation of the new secretary.

Inauguration nears without nominee for agriculture secretary

Like other farm leaders, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says he's at a loss to explain why President-elect Donald Trump has waited so long to name his nominee for agriculture secretary. Trump "has met with numerous people," Grassley told reporters, so "you can't say he has ignored" the position although the long wait has inspired grumbling, and now rumors, in farm country.

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