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.
Follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Twitter @USDA.
Secretary Tom Vilsack's Posts
- September 24, 2010 at 4:44 PM EST
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses Recovery Act funding to 129 rural libraries in 30 states to create, expand, and improve our nation’s rural libraries – benefitting over 1.7 million rural residents.
- September 1, 2010 at 6:01 PM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discusses encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy.
- August 18, 2010 at 4:45 PM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines and announces renewable energy and energy efficiency loans and grants to help meet the needs of rural America.
- June 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveils a new report outlining both the current state of renewable energy efforts in America and a plan to develop regional strategies to increase the production, marketing and distribution of biofuels.
- June 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM EST
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack introduces the USDA's comprehensive report on the Recovery Act and rural broadband.
- June 2, 2010 at 10:36 AM EST
Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses the Administration’s upcoming National Summit of Rural America: A Dialogue for Renewing Promise. Watch the livestream tomorrow, June 3, 2010 at USDA.gov.
- November 28, 2009 at 12:49 PM EST
I have seen the consequences of a health care system in need of reform – too few insured, too costly for others and too little quality for all. Unsustainable growth in the cost of health care and the continued denial of coverage to millions of Americans is evidence that our health care system has failed.
- November 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM EST
With Thanksgiving just a week away, the USDA is hosting a Live Facebook Thanksgiving chat at 3:00 p.m. EST to make sure you have the information and resources to cook safe and healthy food.
- July 1, 2009 at 10:03 AM EST