Iowa’s Vilsack Likely Pick For Secretary of Agriculture

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.

Daily Kos.






  1. JimT Avatar

    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. Wolfy Avatar

    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. Brian Ertz Avatar

    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. Salle Avatar

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that part…

    ‘scuse me!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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