Biden Picks Obama’s Agriculture Head To Lead USDA (REPORT)

(¬†Democrat Joe Biden’s choice to head up the United States Department of Agriculture has drawn mixed reactions.

Once again, Biden has gone back to the well, choosing an Obama-era official to lead one of the departments in his administration.

On Tuesday, Politico reported that Biden will name Tom Vilsack to serve as the head of the United States Department of Agriculture. It’s a position that would be familiar to Vilsack. He served as the head of the USDA for all eight years of the Obama administration.

Since Obama left office, Vilsack has been serving as the head of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He also once served as Iowa’s governor.

Despite support from some legislators on both sides of the aisle, Vilsack is not without his detractors. Representative James Clyburn from South Carolina, Democrat, is one of those people who isn’t fond of Biden’s selection.

He said he would have preferred Representative Marcia Fudge from Ohio. She, however, was chosen by Biden to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to reports, Clyburn said he didn’t believe Vilsack represented black farmers when he was head of the USDA under Obama. Clyburn commented:

“I don’t know why we’ve got to be recycling (people who worked under Obama). There’s a strong feeling that black farmers didn’t get a fair shake.”

Clyburn also told the New York Times that he believed the USDA should be a department that “deals with consumer issues and nutrition and things that affect people’s day-to-day lives.”

Mitch Jones, who serves as the policy director for the environmental advocacy group, Food and Water Watch, is also not pleased with the selection. He said recently:

“Vilsack has made a career of catering to the whims of corporate agriculture giants — some of whom he has gone to work for.”

And while a leading official at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ricardo Salvador, said Vilsack did OK the first time around, he says he’s no longer qualified for the task at hand. He said:

“If we measure what we need against what he accomplished, he falls short.”

Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota was also reportedly in the mix for the position.

Despite Clyburn’s thoughts, Vilsack still has his supporters in Congress. One of those is Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa. He said he’d support Vilsack during the confirmation proceedings, and he’d speak on his behalf, too, if asked to do so.

Grassley told the Des Moines Register:

“I liked what Vilsack did as the secretary of agriculture for eight years, and if he was in for another four years, it would be OK with me. I would be glad, if he wants me to, to speak for him before the Agriculture Committee.”

The USDA is set to have millions of dollars to work with for whomever takes over the department next. The Trump administration has sent up to $46 billion directly to farmers in 2020, as a way to help them through the pandemic.

While Biden hasn’t formally announced his pick for USDA head, Politico said it’s possible he could do so next week.