Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tom Vilsack will remain as agriculture secretary; calls for help in sharing rural America's importance

Tom Vilsack, right, will remain agriculture secretary during President Obama's second term, the Department of Agriculture announced Monday. Vilsack said in a statement that he and Obama "share a deep appreciation for rural America and its unlimited potential in the year ahead to feed a growing world population, revolutionize America’s energy, further protect our natural resources and create more jobs here at home." (USDA photo)

The farm economy boomed in Obama's first term, Mary Jalonick of The Associated Press reports. Vilsack's job hasn't been easy, though. Last year saw the worst drought in more than 50 years, and he said Congress's failure to pass a new Farm Bill showed rural America was losing its political relevance, which received some backlash. Vilsack will likely spend the next several months lobbying the body to pass a Farm Bill, Jalonick reports.

During a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville yesterday, Vilsack said the bill should also encourage more soil and water conservation and support more agricultural research, Charles Abbott of Reuters reports. Vilsack wrote in an op-ed piece in The Tennessean that there is "a future of unlimited opportunity for rural America." He asked agricultural leaders for "help to build new partnerships, and encourage new understanding among all Americans of the importance of our rural areas." For the text of the speech, click here.

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