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Tom Vilsack was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and sworn into office on January 21, 2009.
As Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack is working hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, to revitalize rural communities, to protect and conserve our natural resources, and to provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people. Because USDA’s work affects every American everyday, we are proud to be the ‘Every Way, Every Day’ USDA.
As Agriculture Secretary, Vilsack has worked to implement President Obama’s ambitious agenda to turn around the economy and put Americans back to work. USDA has supported struggling farmers and ranchers, provided food aid to 1 in 4 Americans, and worked to create jobs and build a foundation for future economic growth – especially in rural America.
At USDA, Secretary Vilsack is working to ensure that America’s forests and private working lands are conserved, implementing new strategies to restore our forests and clean our water supply. These efforts are already creating private sector jobs protecting and rehabilitating our forests and wetlands.
Under Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is working to improve the health of America’s children, targeting child hunger and obesity with efforts to encourage balanced meals, nutritious eating and increased physical activity. He has ordered a top to bottom review of USDA’s food safety standards and has begun to implement policy changes to ensure the safety of the American food supply.
Secretary Vilsack shares President Obama’s commitment to strengthening rural America, which is why USDA is helping create economic opportunities in America’s rural communities by expanding broadband access, promoting renewable energy, increasing agricultural exports, taking advantage of ecosystem markets, capitalizing on outdoor recreation, and linking local farm production to local consumption. And USDA is revitalizing rural America by investing in critical infrastructure such as homes, fire stations, water systems and health clinics that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for rural residents.
Secretary Vilsack’s USDA is promoting American agriculture production and biotechnology exports by conducting cutting edge agricultural research and maintaining an appropriate safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers. Vilsack is committed to President Obama’s National Export Initiative to expand American agricultural exports through travel, negotiations and improved promotion strategies. And he has worked to develop a United States Government-wide strategy to establish food security across the globe.
Secretary Vilsack has worked to make the Department more efficient, transparent and effective. He has instituted reforms at USDA that will save taxpayers more than $50 million. And he has made civil rights a top priority, taking definitive action to improve the Department’s record and to move USDA into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider.
Prior to his appointment, Vilsack served two terms as the Governor of Iowa. In that role, and as a state senator and the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Vilsack has a remarkable record of making positive change in the lives of those he has served.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. He received a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in 1972 and earned his law degree from Albany Law School in 1975. Following school, he and his wife Christie moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa – her hometown – where he practiced law. The Vilsacks have two adult sons, Jess and Doug; a daughter-in-law, Kate, who’s married to Jess; and two grandchildren.
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Secretary Tom Vilsack's Posts
- September 30, 2011 at 4:02 PM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces the release of the White House Rural Council feedback report which includes information gathered from nearly 200 roundtable discussions with business and agricultural leaders in rural communities.
- September 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlines how the President's plan to pay for the American Jobs Act will impact farmers and ranchers.
- September 13, 2011 at 11:18 AM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lays out how the American Jobs Act will help small businesses put people back to work and get the economy moving.
- September 9, 2011 at 4:47 PM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlines how the American Jobs Act will help rebuild rural American communities.
- August 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks about the Administration's commitments to innovation and small business development for the continued strength of small towns and rural areas.
- August 12, 2011 at 4:02 PM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announces the release of a new report by the White House Rural Council that describes the economic needs and opportunities found in rural America.
- July 5, 2011 at 10:08 AM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack meets with business leaders from across Colorado at a White House Business Council roundtable in Denver to discuss innovative ideas to help create jobs.
- June 9, 2011 at 10:23 AM EST
President Obama signs an Executive Order establishing a White House Rural Council, the first entity of its kind established to focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans.
- April 21, 2011 at 1:06 PM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explains how USDA is working with farmers and entrepreneurs to secure our nation’s long-term energy future and give Americans more choices about where to spend their gas dollars: at home or abroad.
- February 25, 2011 at 3:08 PM EST
The USDA announces a new claims process for Hispanics and women who believe they were the victims of discrimination in federal aid money. Secretary Tom Vilsack explains the claims process.