WaPO says environmentalists and “food groups” reacted positively-

Obama to name Vilsack for Agriculture. By Philip Rucker and Dan Morgan. Washington Post Staff Writers.

Vilsack was a popular governor of Iowa. He has been a major politician. His expertise in agriculture seems to come more from being a governor than from intimate knowledge of policy. He has been an ethanol supporter, which many think has been a disaster when made from corn (the source of all U.S. ethanol), but Obama has supported ethanol too.

USDA does more than deal with farming. The Forest Service is a bureau in the agency. Most Secretaries of Ag leave the administration of that Forest Service to the assistant secretary over that area. Sometimes this assistant secretary come  from a conservation viewpoint,  such as Mike Dombeck under Clinton, or industry such as timber lobbyists Mark Rey under George W. Bush.

The Forest Service itself is formally managed by the Chief Forester which is not a political appointment requiring a nomination followed by a confirmation in the Senate.

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Reaction to Vilsack.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Iowa’s Vilsack Likely Pick For Secretary of Agriculture

  1. avatar JimT says:

    How do we get him to appoint Gloria Flora to the USFS position? I mean, how much can someone from Iowa understand about forests? ~S~ Gloria knows first hand about the problems with USFS; she is well respected by staff for her knowledge, integrity and toughness. She would be an excellent choice.

  2. avatar Wolfy says:

    The jobs below Undersecretary of Ag, like the Forest Service Chief position are not supposed to be political, but they are. Even jobs as low as the Supervisor of a national forest are somewhat political in nature. Kimbell and some former chiefs have even had a hand in the appointments of certain student trainees to fill diversity quotas or to do favors for congressmen/cronies. Obama needs to flush the waste out of the forest service ranks. There are many embedded “drones” in the system. Its time to walk the talk.

  3. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    salle – you’re not allowed to point out the conflicts of interest and direct violation of Obama’s campaign pledge until two or three years after the confirmation. give the guy a chance – jeez. when Obama said :

    No political appointee will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.

    you totally projected your naive personal hopes that he would not appoint the head of USDA a man who is a partner of a lobbying firm that gave advice to unnamed ag clients for at least two years. Obama is a pragmatist – we should respect and trust his decisions and keep silent so as not to seem extremist to the mainstream.

  4. avatar Salle says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that part…

    ‘scuse me!

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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