While President-elect Trump has chosen Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor and Congressman Tom Price for Health and Human Services Secretary, he still has not appointed one of the most important positions in the new administration—the new Secretary of Agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has nearly 100,000 employees and oversees federal laws on farming, forestry, and food production. Its mission is to “provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.” The Department serves our nation’s farmers and ranchers by improving food production, providing economic opportunity, increasing nutrition, and preserving natural resources.
There have been several names floating around for the last few months including Chuck Conner, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under George W. Bush and current president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; Former Governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue; Former California Lieutenant Gov. Abel Maldonado; and Indiana agribusinessman Kip Tom, according to Tom Philpott on Mother Jones.
But who would you like to see as the next Secretary of Agriculture? Which issues are most important to you? What kind of background would you like the Secretary to have?
Is it a seasoned politician like Chellie Pingree, Debbie Stabenow, or Kathleen Merrigan? Maybe it’s Ricardo Salvador, Director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists; Fred Kirschenmann, President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, or Wes Jackson, Founder and Former President of the Land Institute? Perhaps guerrilla gardener Ron Finley would be a strong candidate for the job?
At Food Tank, we would love to see a Secretary of Agriculture who really knows what it’s like to farm and has spent his or her career working with farmers to make the food system more sustainable.
We want to hear your suggestions—let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, and stay tuned for updates on President-elect Trump’s impending selection.