My View of Vilsack

President-elect Obama's choice of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture has gotten as much or more attention as any cabinet appointment.
There have been Vilsack detractors, the most vigorous from among the foes of agricultural biotechnology.  And some farm organizations expressed concern, behind the scenes, about Vilsack's desire to reform farm programs.
 
Last month I stuck my neck out and said that I think Vilsack is a good choice (www.cfra.org/blog).  He and I don't always agree, but he's smart and he listens.  He shares Obama's views on reforming farm programs, investing the savings in conservation and rural development, and on the need for livestock market reforms, such as banning packer ownership of livestock and ending volume-based price discrimination.
 
Vilsack's biggest challenge will be bringing his skills and intelligence to the task of supporting the President and implementing their shared vision.
 
Toward that end, the Center recently launched a grassroots letter to Secretary Vilsack (www.cfra.org/08/grassroots-letter). We will deliver the letter, with signatures and comments, to Secretary Vilsack personally.  Over 1,100 have signed and many have added their thoughts on needed reforms.
 
At the Center, we will continue working to ensure that President Obama and Secretary Vilsack live up to their potential and their promises to rural America.  We will keep fighting for a rural America that offers genuine opportunity to all who live there.  We will fight alongside Obama and Vilsack when we can, but we'll also take them on when we have to.  We've done it before.  

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