WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer yesterday commended President-Elect Barack Obama's nomination of former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack to be the 30th Secretary of Agriculture, citing the former governor's experience in agricultural issues and expressing confidence in Vilsack's ability to effectively continue USDA's success in expanding America's agricultural economy



"USDA plays an integral role in supporting our agricultural economy and working on behalf of America's farmers and ranchers. I am confident that Tom Vilsack's background and experience will help him continue the progress we have made here.



"With his opportunity to build on the accomplishments of USDA during the Bush Administration, Tom Vilsack would lead a department that has made great strides in strengthening our agricultural economy, expanding conservation, leading biofuels development, securing our food supply, improving nutrition, and increasing markets for American agriculture worldwide.



"I wish Governor Vilsack well and believe that he will succeed in continuing to move American agriculture forward."



SOURCE: USDA.