Reports: Vilsack to stay on as agriculture secretary
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to remain in his Cabinet post during President Barack Obama’s second term. Multiple news outlets reported Vilsack accepted Obama’s offer Monday to continue to serve as secretary of agriculture.
(Update 4 p.m. CST: Matt Paul, director of communications for the USDA, confirmed that Vilsack has been asked to continue to serve as secretary of agriculture.)
Vilsack’s reappointment comes amidst many unresolved agriculture issues. Most notably, lawmakers failed to pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill at the end of 2012 and merely extended parts of the expired farm bill legislation, leaving farmers and ranchers in flux. With drought still raging across the country, disaster relief for farmers and ranchers will also continue to be near the top of Vilsack’s to-do list.
Vilsack has overseen a time of plenty for many in agriculture, as Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga reports:
During his first four years in office, Vilsack, 62, pushed for expanded export markets as U.S. farmers earned near record profits and enjoyed the highest land values ever. Should he serve until 2017, Vilsack would be the first person to head the Department of Agriculture for two terms since Orville Freeman led the agency under presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.
Prior to his Cabinet appointment, Vilsack served two terms as governor of Iowa as well as in the Iowa State Senate.