Vilsack

Amy Mayer/IPR

President Obama’s two-term agriculture secretary will soon slip through one of Washington’s revolving doors and switch from government official to private sector executive eager to push for an industry agenda.

 

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group that pushes for access to foreign markets, the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

 

USDA/Flickr

And then there was Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary is the only post in President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet without a nominee, mystifying many in rural America and spurring worries that agriculture and rural issues will land near the end of the line among the new president’s priorities.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who served for all 8 years of Barack Obama’s presidency, announced Friday was his last day in office.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack may be on Hillary Clinton's short-list for a vice presidential running mate. Several national media outlets have reported that while Vilsack has not confirmed he's being vetted, Clinton insiders say he's in the running.

Vilsack served as the Democratic governor of Iowa from 1999-2007. He's been in President Obama's cabinet since 2009.

Flickr / Jason Mrachina

U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack will be at the National Governors Association's summer meeting in Des Moines Saturday to discuss the value of local foods to rural economies.

Vilsack says in order to repopulate rural communities, smaller farming operations need consumers that don't put a premium on size and speed. One strategy to carve out markets for these smaller producers is through food hubs.

Photo by Amy Mayer

The path to normalized relations between the United States and Cuba made a stop in farm country Friday.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his Cuban counterpart, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, toured Aaron Lehman's corn and soybean farm in central Iowa. They talked about water, soil, and energy and compared strategies for managing hog manure, which has been a problem in Iowa.

 

Amy Mayer/IPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture touches Americans from the field to the cafeteria, with a bevy of programs that include subsidies for farmers and for school lunches. 

For several years, the beef industry has struggled over how and whether to collect additional funds for industry promotion and research. The money is part of a program called the Beef checkoff.   

Last month U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proposed a second, supplementary checkoff, implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

John Pemble / IPR

IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell joins Morning Edition Host Sarah McCammon for a weekly preview of Iowa legislative politics.

Iowa State University

Farmers are already making changes to adjust to global warming. A researcher from Iowa State University meets with agriculture officials, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, in Washington, D.C. Thursday.  ISU Climate Science Program Director Dr. Gene Takle is briefing Vilsack and other officials on how to prepare and plan for global warming.  He says climate change actually has some benefits for farmers, at least in the short-term. But he the greatest risk for the industry is unpredictability and wild fluctuations in weather patterns.