Former Ag Secretary Vilsack says USDA science nominee lacks credibility

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said President Trump’s nominee to head the USDA’s research division wouldn’t be a credible choice with the scientific community, according to Harvest Public Media. Trump nominated former conservative talk radio host and economics professor Sam Clovis to be the USDA’s chief scientist in July, setting off a wave of criticism.

Vilsacks become strategic advisers for CSU project

Colorado State University has appointed former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie, as strategic advisors for three years in launching new initiatives, including the National Western Center in northern Denver, said the Denver Post. The university intends to turn the site of the National Western stock show into a university-like setting for innovators to tackle global water, food and population issues.

Perdue ‘faces a real set of challenges’ due to late start, says Vilsack

Since January, Sonny Perdue's job has been simple yet slow to come into reach: Win Senate confirmation as agriculture secretary. Perdue's predecessor at USDA, Tom Vilsack, said during a public radio interview, "Gov. Perdue faces a real set of challenges because his confirmation has been delayed as long as it has."

Vilsack backs Perdue as his USDA successor

On the same day that Senate Democrats toughened their opposition to President Donald Trump's cabinet nominees, former agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said he supports Sonny Perdue as his successor at USDA. With Vilsack, Perdue "is the only cabinet nominee to secure the support of his predecessor in the Obama administration," said the Trump transition team.

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.

Vilsack’s new job — promoting dairy exports

Two weeks from now, Tom Vilsack, the longest-serving agriculture secretary in half-a-century, will start his new job on the opposite side of the Potomac River from the USDA headquarters. As expected, he will be president and chief executive of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, based in Arlington, Va., which works to expand sales of American dairy products and ingredients.

Vilsack departure puts spotlight on empty chair at USDA

Farmers and other rural voters were instrumental in putting Donald Trump in the White House, but the president-elect, four days away from inauguration, has yet to return the favor at USDA. Democrat Tom Vilsack, the longest-serving agriculture secretary in half a century, underlined the absence of a Trump nominee to head USDA by leaving the job a week before the change of administration.

Weeks from departure, Obama team revamps fair-play rules in livestock marketing

As quickly as the Obama administration unveiled a package of rules meant to make it easier for livestock producers to prove unfair treatment at the hands of processors and packers, the largest cattle and hog groups called on the incoming Trump administration to blunt their impact.

USDA and VA are last on Trump list for nominees

President-elect Donald Trump has selected 13 of the 15 nominees for the cabinet. "He's been on a tear," says the Washington Post. The remaining slots are secretary of Agriculture and of Veterans Affairs. There hasn't been much talk about USDA since Republican activists objected to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, being considered for the post.

USDA tweaks Conservation Reserve to protect water, wildlife, wetlands

With enrollment in the land-idling Conservation Reserve nearing its statutory limit of 24 million acres, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced revisions in the program to protect water quality and to benefit wildlife, pollinators and wetlands. Under one of the changes, USDA will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of environmentally beneficial practices, such as bioreactors and saturated buffers that clean up run-off from drainage lines running beneath cropland.