Tom Vilsack Chosen as New U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

  • Tom Vilsack has officially been confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture with a Senate vote of 92-7.
  • Vilsack previously served as the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and oversaw the USDA during the approval and implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • During his initial agriculture committee hearing, Vilsack touched on many key points for the agriculture industry, but did not mention hemp specifically. 

Three weeks ago, Tom Vilsack cleared his Senate agriculture committee hearing after having spent several years overseeing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the approval and implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill that allowed hemp experimentation to begin. He also spent the past four years serving as the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

And on Tuesday, the full Senate voted 92-7 to confirm Vilsack as the new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

During his initial Senate agriculture hearing (virtual), Vilsack touched on many topics surrounding hemp, such as Biden’s plan for making agriculture carbon neutral, which would open many doors for hemp. However, during this meeting, Vilsack did not directly mention or address any issues in the hemp industry.

It can be assumed that Vilsack will spend his early months in this role dealing with COVID-19-related financial aid for farmers. Currently, there exists $3 billion in farmer relief that Congress set aside for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, along with other initiatives. 

Hopefully, Vilsack has a focus on farmer relief for 2021. With the hemp industry still in its early phases, it will be important to ensure that it can support as many producers as possible in order to see maximum growth. Luckily, 2021 has the potential to be a great year for cannabis, as hemp and marijuana continue to grow in acceptance and legality.



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