WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following comment after former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was confirmed as agriculture secretary by the U.S. Senate. Harkin is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, the committee that held nomination hearings on Vilsack's appointment.

"President Obama could not have made a better selection for Agriculture Secretary than Tom Vilsack. He knows how to bring change that will help to strengthen and rebuild the farm and rural economy on a sound foundation. As governor, Tom Vilsack was committed to better nutrition and providing food assistance to those who need it. He built a strong record in promoting renewable energy, rural economic opportunity, and conservation. These qualifications will serve him well as he transitions into Agriculture Secretary.

"Tom Vilsack's confirmation today signifies new leadership for the USDA, but also a new focus on the issues important to all Americans, including nutrition, conservation, energy and promoting the rural economy."

SOURCE: U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture.