Thursday, November 01, 2007

Schaefer Named Agriculture Secretary

Former North Dakota Ed Schaefer was nominated as Secretary of Agriculture by President Bush for the remainder of his term. Chuck Conner has been acting Secretary since September when Mike Johanns stepped down to run for the US Senate seat in Nebraska. President Bush in announcing this appointment said:

Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post. He was a leader on agricultural issues during his eight years as the governor of North Dakota. He worked to open new markets for North Dakota farmers and ranchers by expanding trade with China. He oversaw the development of the state's agricultural biofuels industry. He helped families recover from natural disasters -- including drought, fires and floods. And he pioneered innovative programs to increase economic opportunity in rural communities.

Ed also has extensive management experience in the private sector. Before running for public office, he was the president of the family-owned business that his dad started. He's also launched a number of entrepreneurial ventures of his own. At every stage of his career, Ed has shown wisdom, foresight and creativity. Those same qualities will make him a valuable member of my Cabinet, and they will make him a trusted friend to America's farmers and ranchers.

Ed's passion for agriculture has deep roots. His maternal grandparents were Danish immigrants who worked as farmers on the plains of North Dakota. Ed has always kept their story close to his heart. And they'd be proud to see their grandson rise to become our nation's top agriculture official.

In his new job, Ed will carry on the work of another fine public servant, Mike Johanns. Mike became Secretary of Agriculture at the beginning of my second term. During his time in office, he helped open new markets for trade, promoted renewable fuels and conservation and provided timely assistance to our farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Mike leaves a legacy of integrity and dedication. And Laura and I wish Mike and his wife, Stephanie, all the best on their return home to Nebraska.

More coverage:


"Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post," Bush said at the White House. He would succeed Mike Johanns, who resigned six weeks ago to run for the Senate from Nebraska.

If confirmed by the Senate, Schafer, 61, would take charge of one of the largest federal departments with little more than a year left in the tenure of an unpopular president.

His immediate task would be the final negotiations on the new U.S. farm bill. U.S. subsidies are under attack at home and abroad as wasteful. The Agriculture Department was criticized for moving too slowly in a mammoth beef recall last month.

North Dakota Farm and Ranch

Indianapolis Star

WASHINGTON -- President Bush passed over Indiana native Chuck Conner to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Bush announced Wednesday that he is nominating Edward Schafer, a former two-term Republican governor from North Dakota, to be his next secretary of agriculture.
Bush thanked Conner for doing an "outstanding job" as acting secretary since Mike Johanns resigned in September to run for the Senate from Nebraska. Conner, who had been the department's No. 2 official, will remain acting secretary until Schafer is confirmed by the Senate.
Conner has been leading the administration's negotiations with Congress over a rewrite of agriculture and nutrition policy, and some analysts had speculated that he had a good shot at being picked to be secretary for the remainder of Bush's term.
Schafer said he is looking forward to working with Conner, "who has faithfully served" as interim secretary.
Conner offered his "full support" to Schafer.

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