Biden to nominate Vilsack as ag secretary

By Erin Voegele | December 10, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has announced he will nominate Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture. Vilsack is a former two-term governor of Iowa who served as secretary of agriculture during all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration.  

Representatives of the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board have spoken out in support of Vilsack’s nomination. 

“We congratulate Tom Vilsack on his nomination to once again lead USDA and know that he will hit the ground running,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “Secretary Vilsack was the most effective advocate the biofuels industry had in the Obama administration and we are excited about working with him again, particularly with helping get the RFS back on track, continued infrastructure support for higher ethanol blends, and making sure farmers and biofuel producers are part of the solution to future policies designed to tackle climate change.”

“We congratulate Mr. Vilsack and are pleased that the Biden transition team has chosen such a steadfast champion of rural America to lead USDA,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “After years of public and private service to the agriculture community, Vilsack is intimately familiar with the benefits biofuels present for reaching a net-zero carbon future and the economic vitality the industry provides to rural America. He has been a tireless champion of the biofuels industry over his career and his advocacy has been crucial, including most recently during the Iowa caucuses, where we were proud to have had him join Growth Energy on tours with the president-elect and other candidates at our member plants.

“We are looking forward to working with the incoming administration and Mr. Vilsack to build on the success of biofuels as a solution to our climate goals, providing American drivers access to a cleaner fuel option, and supporting rural economies,” Skor continued.

“Tom Vilsack is an excellent choice to serve in this role,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “During his last term as secretary, he has shown clearly and continually that he can work effectively with the broad spectrum of interests who have a stake in the wide body of issues under USDA’s portfolio, including renewable fuels. We are especially happy to have someone in the Biden administration who intimately understands the crucial role renewable fuels and agriculture can play in confronting climate change. We thank the president-elect and look forward to working once again with the new secretary once he takes office.”

“It’ll be great to have an Iowan at the helm of USDA that understands the challenges facing the family farmers who dominate American agriculture,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. “Secretary Vilsack knows first-hand the importance of robust biofuels markets at home and abroad to the economic vitality of the farm economy. He has stood up for the RFS and expanded exports. And Secretary Vilsack has created innovative solutions like the Biofuels Infrastructure Program that really began the growth of E15 availability. We look forward to Sec. Vilsack continuing to push creative solutions, whether it be for growing higher-blend markets, ensuring farmers are rewarded for their ability to sequester carbon in the soil, or in expanding export opportunities.”

“We applaud President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to choose Tom Vilsack as U.S. agriculture secretary,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the IBB. “Vilsack is a seasoned leader who knows agricultural issues inside and out. During a critical time for biofuels like biodiesel, we need a strong advocate as head of USDA who recognizes the benefits that policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard deliver to the American energy supply, the economy and to U.S. farmers, who have struggled.

“In particular, we look forward to Vilsack’s steady voice as he interacts with new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency,” Kimberley added. “We know we can count on him to reinforce the benefits of growing biodiesel demand, including that it is among the very best ways to mitigate greenhouse gases. We congratulate Vilsack on this well-deserved honor.”



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