Tom Vilsack will remain as USDA Secretary during President Obama’s second term. According to a Bloomberg article, full text here, it was reported that:
In a speech today to an American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Vilsack said he’s honored “to have another opportunity to continue this work.” Matt Paul, the Department of Agriculture’s communications director, said Obama asked Vilsack to stay on and Vilsack accepted.
While the next years will bring a number of challenges, key among those will be addressing concerns from the 2012 drought that continues in many parts of the nation. Obviously, another major issue for USDA and others will be crafting a new farm bill and dealing with the looming expiration of the recent farm bill extension that was passed as part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation at the beginning of the year. And, all of this will be done during an ever-tightening budget environment.
Along these lines, the Bloomberg article also reported that:
. . . building a consensus in an environment of cost-cutting will be difficult, said Chuck Conner, a former acting agriculture secretary under George W. Bush. “Programs are just going to get reduced significantly,” he said.
Additionally, Vilsack will “need to prepare to implement a farm bill without knowing what or when it is. That’s a challenge,” said Conner, now President of teh National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington.