By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A Missouri Farm Bureau spokesman says agricultural interests
hope former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will have quite a bit of
influence when he resumes his old job under President-elect Joe Biden.
Eric Bohl says it has been interesting to see Biden call on
members of the former Obama Administration to join his team, saying Vilsack is
a key appointment for agriculture.
“Secretary Vilsack had a little better understanding of rural America
than I think a lot of the other people in that (Obama) administration did,”
Bohl tells KFEQ Agriculture Director Dione Bertling on the KFEQ Hotline. “He is
the former governor of Iowa. He has worked in the ag industry for many years
and seems to have a little bit better understanding about what is important for
us, especially on the trade front.”
Bohl says trade is vital to agriculture and he hopes the Biden
Administration will seek expanded trade opportunities.
Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, served all eight years
under President Obama. Biden persuaded Vilsack, who is 70 years old, to leave a
lucrative job in the private sector to return as the head of the USDA.
Bohl says it eases the concerns agriculture has about the
incoming administration that Biden spent years as a senator before becoming
Vice President and then winning the presidency.
“He will have a different approach than someone who is fresh
out of governorship or someone who was like President Trump who had never
served in government before,” according to Bohl. “Of course, his past
experience is going to influence him. Now, exactly what that means, I don’t
know if we can predict that. I think we’ll have to wait and see.”
Biden says he hopes the reports are true that Vilsack has a
close relationship with Biden.
“He’s someone President-elect Biden really respects and
listens to as a voice of rural states and rural reason,” Bohl says. “Unfortunately,
there doesn’t look like there’s going to be a lot of other voices, rural state
voices, that are in the cabinet.”