President Joe Biden moved efficiently to build his list of cabinet nominees. Some faces are familiar, one more than others, as Tom Vilsack was tapped to return as Secretary of Agriculture. He's moving into the confirmation process and we wondered what our Farm Progress PANEL members thought of the 'new' guy.
Already farm groups are calling for a quick move to get Vilsack into position. They're position is that the farm and food industry is facing significant challenges and leadership should be at work on the issues. Many will be curious what his new priorities in the office may be after being out of the job for four years. We looked at that near the end of 2019.
But what did PANEL members say? Turns out on the whole nearly 80% feel it's a great idea, or that you're at least willing to give him a try in the role.
In the response, 39% say that appointing Vilsack was "a great idea, he does 'get' agriculture." And another 40% say they're "skeptical, but I'll give him a shot." Not bad for a return cabinet post with someone familiar. Farmers know his track record, though it's the first time in USDA history that the someone has returned to the post.
Just over one-fifth of respondents, however, thing appointing Vilsack is a "bad idea, he'll mess up farm policy." Those in the negative are clearly in support of former President Trump noting "if Biden picked him he is probably not going to help," as one respondent comments.
While the support appears solid enough to give Vilsack that chance, naysayers are watching. You can see the results below.
The Farm Progress PANEL is your chance to share your thoughts on key issues. To take part, start by signing up for our daily mobile text service Farm Progress NOW. Just text FARM to 20505, then respond to the text you get back. Later in one of our daily texts we'll provide information about how to sign up for the PANEL.