President Bush has nominated Edward Schafer as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Schafer, former two-term North Dakota governor, would replace Mike Johanns, who resigned as agriculture secretary in September to run for the Senate seat.
Schafer served as governor from 1992 to 2000. As governor, he managed a $4.6 billion budget with 12,000 employees. During his two terms, Schafer directed state response to eight statewide disasters, including drought, flood, and fire. He also launched a pilot project to revive rural communities by using technology to deliver education, healthcare, and economic development. He dealt with grain and livestock import issues and led an ag trade mission to China in 2000 to help open new markets for North Dakota farm products. Schafer oversaw initial development of North Dakota's biofuel industries and led in developing value-added products for agriculture.
North Dakota Farm Bureau spokesmen think Schafer’s nomination would be good for farmers and ranchers across the country, according to the Western Farm Press.
“The governor understands agriculture,” says Sandy Clark, public policy director for the North Dakota Farm Bureau. “Gov. Schafer is a businessman, and he will understand the business of agriculture in this country and agriculture in the global market.”
Clark says Schafer has been involved in lobbying for farm bills and trade agreements at the national level. If confirmed, he says, the governor will bring a keen sense of the importance of agriculture to states such as North Dakota.
“Gov. Schafer comes from a smaller farming state compared to Illinois, California, and Texas,” says Clark. “It’s to our advantage he comes from a less populated state because agriculture is the number one economic engine in North Dakota – always has been and always will be.”
For more on Schafer’s background, visit: http://westernfarmpress.com/news/110207-secretary-agriculture/.