First, for a good review of what Tom Vilsack (above) will mean to rural America as the next Ag Secretary, go to Richard Oswald's article from a few weeks ago. For the best report on how the nomination came about, go to this story in the Des Moines Register. As for what others say….
The National Farmers Union is happy. (NFU President Tom Buis presents a good list of projects to be undertaken by the Obama administration, saying the new president's "rural vision is right on target.") So are the fresh fruit and vegetable folks. The Farm Bureau said that Vilsack and Sen. Ken Salazar (who was nominated for the Interior Department post) have demonstrated "experienced, steady judgment" on ag issues. And the cattle raisers.
There will be opposition from the political left. The Organic Consumers Association issued a blunt statement: "Vilsack has a glowing reputation as being a schill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto." The Nation magazine listed all the other people it would prefer to see in the Ag job, concluding that Vilsack is, "at best," a cautious pick. We can only hope that the new secretary of agriculture will break with some of his old friends in agribusiness