Jan 14, 2021 7:00 AM

Choice of Vilsack eases concerns some farmers have about Biden administration

Posted Jan 14, 2021 7:00 AM


By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

A Missouri Farm Bureau spokesman says agricultural interests hope former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will have quite a bit of influence when he resumes his old job under President-elect Joe Biden.

Eric Bohl says it has been interesting to see Biden call on members of the former Obama Administration to join his team, saying Vilsack is a key appointment for agriculture.

“Secretary Vilsack had a little better understanding of rural America than I think a lot of the other people in that (Obama) administration did,” Bohl tells KFEQ Agriculture Director Dione Bertling.

“He is the former governor of Iowa. He has worked in the ag industry for many years and seems to have a little bit better understanding about what is important for us, especially on the trade front.”

Bohl says trade is vital to agriculture and he hopes the Biden Administration will seek expanded trade opportunities.

Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, served all eight years under President Obama. Biden persuaded Vilsack, who is 70 years old, to leave a lucrative job in the private sector to return as the head of the USDA.

Bohl says it eases the concerns agriculture has about the incoming administration that Biden spent years as a senator before becoming Vice President and then winning the presidency.

“He will have a different approach than someone who is fresh out of governorship or someone who was like President Trump who had never served in government before,” according to Bohl. “Of course, his past experience is going to influence him. Now, exactly what that means, I don’t know if we can predict that. I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

Biden says he hopes the reports are true that Vilsack has a close relationship with Biden.

“He’s someone President-elect Biden really respects and listens to as a voice of rural states and rural reason,” Bohl says. “Unfortunately, there doesn’t look like there’s going to be a lot of other voices, rural state voices, that are in the cabinet.”