On Wednesday President-elect Barrack Obama officially announced his nomination of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to head USDA. During the announcement, Obama called on Vilsack to lead the agency to unlocking a 21st century agricultural economy.
"As our next Secretary of Agriculture, Tom will not only help insure that rural America has a true partner in implementing the Farm Bill, and pursuing agricultural research, but that Washington is looking out for everyone," Obama said.
Vilsack said that that America's farmers and ranchers deserve a Secretary who respects them for all the contributions they make and hopes to be that Secretary. In talking about his vision of the mission of USDA, Vilsack highlighted improving profitability for farmers and ranchers and expanding opportunities in the rural communities in which they live.
Obama spoke of Vilsack's support of biotechnology as well as renewable energy.
"Tom understands that the solution to our energy crisis will be found not in oil fields abroad, but in our farm fields here at home," Obama said. "That's the kind of leader I want in my cabinet."
The nomination drew praise from many agricultural groups ranging from the National Farmers Union to the American Farm Bureau Federation, and from the ethanol industry to the livestock sector.