As agricultural experts are quick to point out, incoming President Donald Trump largely has the nation’s growers to thank for his White House victory. According to most observers, growers across much of the Midwest helped the Republican candidate top his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, by more than 15 percentage points in many communities. Indeed, back during the 2016 Agricultural Retailers Association meeting in early December, the association’s Daren Coppock thought a new Ag Secretary would be named “by the end of the year.”
However, whether because of battles with the nation’s intelligence agencies regarding Russian computer hacking, tweeter wars with various celebrities, or other pressing matters, Trump has yet to name his new Secretary of Agriculture to replace Tom Vilsack. Thus far, plenty of names have been brandied about – Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, former Texas A&M President Elsa Murano, and former Governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue – but a formal nomination has yet to materialize at press time in early January 2017.
For some historic perspective, the past three Ag Secretary appointments all took place in late December. For example, President Barack Obama named Vilsack to the post on December 17, 2008. His predecessor, George W. Bush, named Ann Veneman to the job on December 20, 2000. And President Bill Clinton appointed Mike Espy to this office on December 24, 1992.
Whenever the final nominee is named, CropLife will provide some more perspective on the candidate at that time. In the meantime, all of agriculture will be anxiously waiting to see who will hold the nation’s top agricultural office for at least the next four years . . .