President-elect Joe Biden Jr. has selected Ohio Representative Marcia L. Fudge to serve as the secretary of housing and urban development and selected Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary. Vilsack served as the secretary of agriculture for eight years under President Barack Obama.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes the news that Tom Vilsack will be nominated to be Secretary of Agriculture. His leadership as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture and as Governor of a state reliant on agriculture is evidence of his qualification to serve in this role,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Tom Vilsack understands that the agriculture sector is far more complex than most people understand. He believes in a ‘big tent’ philosophy that supports all types of production and understands the importance of respecting farmers and ranchers as partners worthy of support in the race to achieve sustainability goals.
“Tom and I built a good relationship during his first term as Ag Secretary and we’ve built on that relationship in his current role with the U.S. Dairy Export Council. I look forward to sitting down with him again to continue our conversation on how to address the opportunities and challenges facing agriculture and rural communities. The pandemic revealed both the strengths and weaknesses of our food system, which Tom has had a front row seat to witness.”
The National Farmers Union also looks forward to working with Vilsack.
“Between pandemic recovery, the imminent threat of climate change, rampant corporate power, and chronic overproduction, family farmers and ranchers have significant challenges ahead of them in the next several years – and they need a strong Secretary of Agriculture behind them to make it through in one piece. After eight years leading USDA, Tom Vilsack has the necessary qualifications and experience to steer the agency through these turbulent times. He must use his impressive set of skills to implement and enforce rules that protect farmers from anticompetitive practices, enact meaningful structural reforms that balance supply with demand, restore competition to agricultural markets, strengthen local and regional food systems, advance racial equity in agriculture, and mitigate the threat of climate change,” said Rob Larew, OFU president. “However, the Secretary’s obligation is not just to serve farmers; it’s also to serve the American public at large. Many of the aforementioned reforms will benefit everyone by building a food system that is fairer, more sustainable, and more resilient to disruptions. In addition to those changes, we would urge Vilsack to expand nutrition assistance programs in order to ensure that millions of individuals who are facing unemployment and food insecurity are able to meet their most basic needs through the pandemic.”