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John Block Reports: Biden Picks Tom Vilsack to Return to USDA

By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block.

After the election we all read about President Trump challenging the results.  However, we also are reading about President-Elect Biden’s possible nominees for his cabinet.  We know they are all important, but for agriculture and rural America, the choice for Secretary of Agriculture has been at the top of the list.  In one of my commentaries, I suggested Collin Peterson would be an outstanding pick.  I said we needed someone who knows rural America and the farmers and ranchers.  Thank you to Joe Biden for turning to Tom Vilsack and asking him to come back to USDA and take charge.  He served as Ag Secretary for President Obama for 8 years.  He knows where the office is and where to hang his coat.  Marshall Matz, a partner in the OFW Law Firm chaired the Obama rural campaign in 2008. 

Here is what he said, “Tom Vilsack’s commitment to rural America is as strong as the President Elect’s commitment to fight for the soul of America.  A long list of farm, food, and rural leaders across the nation have stood up in support of Tom Vilsack’s second tour.”

I want to be sure to thank Sonny Perdue for the outstanding job he has done as Secretary of Agriculture.  The minute he was confirmed he hit the road speaking and meeting with farm leaders all across the nation.  In these tough times with trade wars and the coronavirus pandemic, he has helped to find financial support for our farmers and feed the poor.  We say, Thank you Mr. Secretary, for your service.

Thinking about feeding people.  Here is what the World Food Programme Chief had to report.  “For millions and millions of people on earth, famine is at humanity’s doorstep.”  100 million received food from the World Food Program this last year.  We averted famine after doing so much over recent years to eliminate extreme poverty in nations around the world.  Today 270 million are on the brink of starvation. 

Finally, in closing I ask the question – will the politicians at long last pass an annual budget and a coronavirus relief package?  Or will they shut down the government?  We should know this week.

John Block served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. John hosts a weekly radio show going back more than 20 years. The commentary and opinions shared are a summary of the discussion from the broadcast and not a reflection of the opinions of the firm at large. For more from John Block Reports from Washington visit


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