USDA

The White House

After a majority Senate vote, Tom Vilsack is now reprising the role of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He said during a news conference that one of his biggest priorities is responding to the pandemic.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for the largest private land conservation program in the country, following a shortfall in enrollment and change in the White House.

The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers and ranchers to preserve land for 10 to 15 years, but it saw a shortfall of 4 million acres under the Trump administration. As of December 2020, there are 20.8 million acres enrolled in the program.

With President Biden’s focus on mitigating climate change, the USDA extended the deadline for enrollment.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

More than 20 years ago, Black farmers across the country won a discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, advocates and experts are saying more is needed to repair the decades of discrimination.

During the Trump administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers published and funded objective analyses of issues such as climate change, the efficiency of food assistance programs, and tax cuts that mostly benefit the richest farmers. It wasn't received well.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

Many farmers may not re-enroll in a conservation program that plays an important role in regenerating soil and water. Lower payments are influencing their decisions.

AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

While president-elect Joe Biden has been under pressure to choose a very diverse and forward-thinking cabinet, he’s gone back in time for his nomination to be Secretary of Agriculture.

LUKE RUNYON / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose Tom Vilsack as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, previously served in the position for eight years during the Obama administration. He’s the longest-serving person in the position since Orville Freeman left in 1969.

Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, likes Vilsack’s years of experience.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Obama Cabinet veteran and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture, a source familiar with transition discussions confirmed to NPR.

Vilsack returns to an agency he helmed for eight years as Barack Obama's agriculture secretary.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a source familiar with the transition discussions said Tuesday. The source spoke on condition of anonymity about private conversations.

AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Balance sheets for farms may look better at the end of 2020 than they have in years. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest forecast.

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