Tom Vilsack

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack, official USDA photo portrait.jpg
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
In office
February 3, 2009-Present
Years in position 6
Elections and appointments
NominatedDecember 17, 2008
ConfirmedJanuary 20, 2009
Appointed byBarack Obama
Prior offices
Governor of Iowa
Iowa State Senator
Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Bachelor'sHamilton College
J.D.Albany Law School
Date of birthDecember 13, 1950
Place of birthPittsburgh, PA
Office website
Thomas James "Tom" Vilsack (b. December 13, 1950, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is the current United States Secretary of Agriculture. The Senate voted to confirm Vilsack by unanimous vote on January 20, 2009.[1]

He previously served two terms as the governor of Iowa after serving as a state senator and as mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.


Vilsack was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in an orphanage before being adopted before he was one year old. He graduated from Hamilton College and earned his J.D. from Albany Law School before getting married and moving to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, his wife's hometown.[2] He worked in a private law firm before starting his career in politics.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Vilsack's academic, professional and political career:[2][3]

  • 1972: Graduated from Hamilton College
  • 1975: Earned J.D. from Albany Law School
  • 1975-1998: Lawyer at private law practice
  • 1987-1992: Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa
  • 1992-1999: State Senator in Iowa's 49th District
  • 1999-2007: Governor of Iowa
  • 2007: Dropped out of 2008 Presidential race
  • 2007-2008: Managing Partner for international law firm Dorsey and Whitney
  • 2009-Present: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Confirmation vote

Vilsack was confirmed by unanimous consent on January 20, 2009. He was among several of President Barack Obama's initial cabinet nominees.[1] Vilsack succeeded Ed Schafer at the position.

Secretary of Agriculture term initiatives


Executive Departments of the United States

Executive Departments
Department of DefenseDepartment of StateDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeDepartment of CommerceDepartment of EducationDepartment of the TreasuryDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of EnergyDepartment of LaborDepartment of TransportationDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Housing and Urban Development

Department Secretaries
Ashton CarterJohn KerryJeh JohnsonEric HolderPenny PritzkerArne DuncanJack LewTom VilsackErnest MonizTom PerezAnthony FoxxSally JewellSylvia Mathews BurwellRobert McDonaldJulian Castro

Drought assistance

The department announced on October 21, 2014, that a new farm bill provision providing drought affected farmers aid in certain states would be pushed ahead of its scheduled 2016 implementation. The provision allows farmers to drop production years that were below 50 percent of their county's Actual Production History (APH), which averages the past 10 years of crop production to determine crop insurance rates. After continuous droughts, the averages fall leaving farmers able to purchase less comprehensive coverage for their crop seasons. With the provision moved ahead of its scheduled implementation, farmers would be permitted to exempt certain years from their APH allowing them to purchase a higher amount of coverage for a higher premium fee.[4]

When confronted about whether or not the action was political, having been announced less than two weeks prior to the 2014 elections and particularly affecting some federal battleground states, Vilsack responded, "The timing of it has nothing to do with the election. You’re suggesting its pressure and politics and it’s basically people doing their job and doing a helluva job above and beyond the call of duty. … Federal workers just never ever, ever get their due."[4]

Climate hubs

On February 5, 2014, the Obama administration announced the creation of seven "climate hubs" to be located in rural areas across the country. The hubs were formed in order to help rural farmers get the scientific information needed to properly handle extreme weather conditions such as droughts, blizzards and flooding. Hubs will be located in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico. Vilsack explained the reasons for the hubs, stating, "USDA's climate hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."[5]

Department budget

U.S. Department of Agriculture[6] Annual Budget
YearBudget (in billions)% Difference from previous year
  • Note: 2014 only represents the Department's budget request, not an enacted budget.


Vilsack is married with two children and two grandchildren.[2] He served as President Obama's "designated survivor" during the 2012 State of the Union address.[7]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Tom + Vilsack + Secretary + Agriculture

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Tom Vilsack News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link


Political offices
Preceded by
Ed Schafer
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Succeeded by