USDEC CEO nominated for U.S. Agriculture Secretary

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Vilsack has already served as United States Secretary of Agriculture, from 2009 to 2017. Pic: Getty Images/Elisank79
Vilsack has already served as United States Secretary of Agriculture, from 2009 to 2017. Pic: Getty Images/Elisank79

Related tags USDEC Usda nmpf Milk US Dairy Export Council Dairy

The US Dairy Export Council president and CEO, Tom Vilsack, has been nominated as U.S. agriculture secretary when the new administration takes office.

Vilsack, 70, was United States Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017, and was Governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007.

National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO Jim Mulhern, said, “Tom Vilsack has dedicated his life to service. While we will miss him as a colleague and friend, all of us in the dairy community who have had the opportunity to work with him over the past four years know his deep passion and commitment to rural America and his understanding of its interdependence with our urban and suburban communities.

“The challenges that lie ahead are many – from a battered farm economy to climate change, the environment and sustainability, to nutrition and the importance of addressing the nation’s growing food insecurity, as well as the need for better trade policy and expanded markets abroad, and much more. No one is better suited to tackle these challenges than Tom Vilsack.

“We applaud President-elect Biden’s decision, and we look forward to Secretary Vilsack’s next chapter of leadership in American agriculture.”

Brody Stapel, president of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, said, “On behalf of our dairy farmer members across the Midwest, Edge welcomes the announcement of Tom Vilsack as the forthcoming nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We believe he will be a strong advocate for dairy farmers and processors in the next administration. 

“Edge stands ready to work with Mr. Vilsack and his future team to tackle existing and arising challenges facing today’s dairy farmers. From ag workforce shortages to expanding export opportunities for our products, he has a proven understanding of the issues our farmers care about.”

John Boyd, president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, said, "Secretary Tom Vilsack will certainly be a big improvement over Secretary Sonny Purdue. And while Black farmers had legislative successes during the Obama Administration, far too little was done during his tenure to address the long legacy of discrimination against Black farmers.

“Doors continue to be closed to many Black farmers and today our members face enormous challenges - including a system that disproportionately leaves them behind. To level the playing field and right these historic wrongs, Mr. Vilsack as Secretary must expand Black farmer access to land and credit and reform USDA's income support and insurance programs to end systemic discrimination. He must create outreach programs to help Black farmers participate in these programs and lift the veil of secrecy that hides the true extent of racial discrimination at USDA. I stand ready to work with Secretary Vilsack to meet these challenges - and to hold him accountable."

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