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Senate Confirms Vilsack As Agriculture Secretary

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, 57, as U.S. secretary of agriculture.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, 57, as U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Vilsack has said he plans to use the position to promote renewable energy and put healthier food in school meals in America.

Vilsack’s unanimous confirmation came just a couple of hours after President Barack Obama took office.

The new agriculture secretary faces two immediate tasks: working with Congress on whether to tighten eligibility rules for farm subsidies and child nutrition programs.

Vilsack is a lawyer who has no agricultural background, but in two terms as Iowa’s governor, was active on agricultural issues.

The last farmer to serve as agriculture secretary was John Block of Illinois, during the Reagan era in the early 1980s.