The U.S. Senate has confirmed Tom Vilsack to once again lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). By a vote of 92-7, Vilsack will assume the position of being the 32nd Agriculture Secretary. Vilsack had previously held the position for eight years under former President Obama. Vilsack had received some criticism from various progressive groups, but the agricultural industry has been largely supportive.
“Secretary Vilsack and I have spoken several times in recent weeks about opportunities and challenges facing America’s farmers and ranchers, and I look forward to close collaboration,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. “We stand ready to work with Secretary Vilsack and USDA on issues that benefit this nation’s farmers and ranchers – his success means rural America’s success.”
Vilsack had received bipartisan support from the Senate Agriculture Committee, which unanimously advanced his nomination. During the confirmation process, Vilsack has highlighted a number of issues he would focus on as Secretary of Agriculture. Climate change, fair markets, and food security have been named as priorities for USDA to continue making progress on. Vilsack has noted his enthusiasm to once again work with industry members on solutions that can be facilitated by USDA.
“No one is more qualified to lead the USDA than Tom Vilsack,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “After serving as Secretary of Agriculture for eight years, he knows the agency inside and out, giving him the insight he needs to get to work right away on behalf of family farmers, rural communities, and hungry Americans.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers, North American Meat Institute, Western Growers, and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture have also expressed support for Vilsack’s confirmation. Vilsack will be assuming the role of Agriculture Secretary once again during a difficult time. The pandemic has created significant turmoil in the food supply chain. Vilsack has indicated there is a lot of work ahead, but he is grateful for the opportunity to rise to the challenge.