Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

Tom Vilsack

Secretary of Agriculture

Thomas James Vilsack was born in December 1950 in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was adopted early the next year. He earned an undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.

He served six years as the Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, then six more years as a member of the Iowa Senate. For eight years after that, he was the Governor of Iowa.

He was an early candidate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election but dropped out after three months citing monetary constraints. He was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the Secretary of Agriculture. He was confirmed by the unanimous consent of the Senate and assumed office in January 2009. After his full-term tenure expired, he became President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

He was nominated by President Joe Biden to be Secretary of Agriculture and was confirmed by the Senate. He assumed office in February 2021.

Vilsack is married to Ann Christine “Christie” Bell, and they have two sons.

In the News…

On a visit to Illinois last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA’s latest round of funding for the Higher Blends Infrastructure Initiative Program. The USDA is accepting applications for $100 million in grants to increase the sale and use of biofuels derived from American agricultural products. 

When Secretary Vilsack was asked whether the goal of President Biden’s administration to increase electric vehicles runs counter to the announcement made in funding for renewable fuels for gas-burning vehicles, he says both will play a role.  “People are going to continue to keep their trucks and cars for an extended period of time. So, the future of this industry in terms of transportation from cars and trucks is still very, very valid.” 

He also says people around the world will continue to use combustion engines for a lot longer than the United States. “I want us to lead the world in selling them good American-grown ethanol,” Secretary Vilsack said. 

The $100 million available will support a variety of fueling operations, including filling stations, convenience stores, and larger retail stores that also sell fuel. The funds will also support fleet facilities including rail and marine, and fuel distribution facilities, such as fuel terminal operations, midstream operations, distribution facilities, and home heating oil distribution centers. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Secretary Vilsack today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1280 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250


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