Vilsack Says USDA is for “Eaters” Too.

New USDA Secretary gives some indication he won’t be agribusiness as usual-

Here is the story from New West. Vilsack Says USDA is for “Eaters” Too and He Gets a To-Do List. By Courtney Lowery, 2-06-09

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115 Groups urge Ag Secretary Nominee to End Wildlife Service’s mass killing of wildlife

Groups want lethal control programs ended-

Here is the news release:

WILLIAMS, Ore.– Today, 115 conservation, animal protection, ranching, and faith-based organizations submitted a letter to Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary nominee, urging him to end the federal government’s systematic killing of wildlife, including wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, and prairie dogs. Members of the coalition – comprised of Big Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Creation Care Study Program, Christians for Environmental Stewardship, Humane Society of the United States, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, and Ranchers for Rural Responsibility, among many others – said that each year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services kills millions of wild animals, primarily on behalf of agribusiness. Coalition members said halting the agency’s “lethal control” programs should be one of the nominee’s first steps once he is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture. (See complete list of signatories below.)
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Iowa’s Vilsack Likely Pick For Secretary of Agriculture

WaPO says environmentalists and “food groups” reacted positively-

Obama to name Vilsack for Agriculture. By Philip Rucker and Dan Morgan. Washington Post Staff Writers.

Vilsack was a popular governor of Iowa. He has been a major politician. His expertise in agriculture seems to come more from being a governor than from intimate knowledge of policy. He has been an ethanol supporter, which many think has been a disaster when made from corn (the source of all U.S. ethanol), but Obama has supported ethanol too.

USDA does more than deal with farming. The Forest Service is a bureau in the agency. Most Secretaries of Ag leave the administration of that Forest Service to the assistant secretary over that area. Sometimes this assistant secretary come  from a conservation viewpoint,  such as Mike Dombeck under Clinton, or industry such as timber lobbyists Mark Rey under George W. Bush.

The Forest Service itself is formally managed by the Chief Forester which is not a political appointment requiring a nomination followed by a confirmation in the Senate.

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Reaction to Vilsack.

Daily Kos.
Firedoglake