Vilsack confirmed by U.S. Senate as next USDA Secretary

Tom Vilsack has officially been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 32nd Secretary of Agriculture under the Biden Administration.

A total of 92 senators voted in favor of Vilsack’s confirmation Tuesday, an overwhelmingly majority, while only seven senators voted in opposition.

“Illinois Farm Bureau congratulates former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate,” said IFB president Richard Guebert Jr. “IFB members and Secretary Vilsack are in alignment on several key issues, including ensuring farmers are set to benefit from a voluntary and incentive-based carbon program, expanding the use of biofuels, mitigating impacts of COVID-19 on the meat processing industry and rebounding from the pandemic. Our members also appreciate his commitment to achieving price transparency in livestock markets.”

Vilsack was the longest serving cabinet member of the Obama administration and held office all eight years as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture.

Since 2017, he has served as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Previously, Vilsack served as governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate and as mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

“We remain optimistic that Secretary Vilsack, with his previous experience in the role and clear understanding of farm policy, is a strong choice to lead the USDA and its farm programs,” added Guebert. “We look forward to working with him and the agency.”

What others are saying:

  • American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “AFBF congratulates Tom Vilsack on his confirmation as the next Secretary of Agriculture. His strong track record of leadership and previous experience at USDA will serve rural America well. 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. We have a lot of work to do as we overcome obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We must commit to resuming CARES Act programs and continue to build on advances made in trade. We must move forward on the successes made in climate-smart practices while seeking partnerships to ensure new environmental policies remain market-based and voluntary. We also recognize the importance of strengthening the farm bill and bringing broadband to every community in America. 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.”

  • National Corn Growers Association President John Linder: “NCGA congratulates Secretary Vilsack on his confirmation. Corn growers appreciated his comments in support of biofuels, along with the positive role he sees agriculture playing in addressing climate change, during his confirmation hearing. Secretary Vilsack has consistently shown a willingness to listen to corn growers, to understand the issues they face on their farms, and we’ve welcomed his outreach to agriculture. Corn growers are looking forward to working together to build long-term demand for our product, mitigate the impact of climate change, seek new markets around the globe, and continue to feed and fuel the world.”

  • Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper: “Tom Vilsack is the right leader at the right time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and he intimately understands that agriculture can and should play a vital role in addressing our world’s most pressing challenges—from food and energy security to climate change and environmental justice. Secretary Vilsack knows that renewable fuels like ethanol provide a solution that is available today for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, slashing harmful tailpipe pollutants, enhancing domestic energy security, and bolstering the rural economy. We congratulate Secretary Vilsack and look forward to working with him to pursue President Biden’s vision for enhancing and expanding our nation’s production and use of clean, green renewable fuels.”