For the full article, click on the headline above.
Two weeks have passed since Barack Obama won the presidential race. And for agriculture, the speculation about who would take over the reigns at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is brewing.
Ironically many "Toms" are on the the list. Some of the top names include former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, National Farmers Union Tom Buis, and former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle from
Mark Maslyn, executive director of public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said he expects the next secretary to be one who has held an elected office. If true, this rules out Buis.
Obama promised during the campaign against appointing lobbyists for key appointments. This narrow the list even further. Stenholm lost his election after Republicans redistricted lines in 2006 and since has lobbied for livestock groups against ethanol subsidies.
Vilsack remains maybe one of the safest bets for the job. Even though he's from
Another name includes current House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson from
Often the talked about names for positions don't end up making the final cut. This is very true in recent secretaries as no one expected a
During President Bush's tenure three secretaries filled the position and each brought a very different feel to the post. Former Ag Secretary Ann Veneman came to office at the start of Bush's first term. She hailed from
Secretary Mike Johanns,
Current Secretary Ed Schafer has had an uphill battle with fighting for a farm bill the President didn't like as well as meat packing plant scandals and a fledgling Doha Round. In many ways, Schafer was a lame duck in Bush's final year on the job, but didn't ruffle feathers as Veneman did during her time as secretary.
Time will tell who will come to USDA in the next few months.