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Tom Vilsack

Senate confirms 31st Secretary of Agriculture: Sonny Perdue

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue is president-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of agriculture.

Sonny Perdue today is the 31st Secretary of Agriculture, having won confirmation by the U.S. Senate in an 87-to-11 vote on Monday. The former governor of Georgia succeeds Tom Vilsack, who led the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the past eight years and who endorsed Perdue as his successor once the former Georgia governor was… Continue Reading

Sonny Perdue set to face Senate ag committee Thursday

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Secretary of Agriculture-designate Sonny Perdue will finally get his hearing tomorrow before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. President Trump nominated the former Georgia governor to serve as America’s 31st Secretary of Agriculture nine weeks ago. It is not clear why there’s been such a delay in getting the Committee hearing scheduled. The Senate… Continue Reading

Top food safety job and others remain to be filled at USDA

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With the somewhat tardy appointment of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture combined with Senate Democrats taking their time with the confirmation process, there’s going to be a backup of some other important appointments at USDA and across the federal government. And the backup is occurring even though one man came close to… Continue Reading

China to lift ban on US beef instituted after 2003 BSE incident

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Chinese officials say they will lift a ban on U.S. beef imports imposed in 2003 after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as BSE or mad cow disease, was confirmed in a Washington state cow imported from Canada. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called Thursday’s announcement “a critical first step” following a recently concluded review of the… Continue Reading

USDA, Obama commit to food safety research

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing grants totaling more than $30 million to fund 80 research projects aimed at improving food safety, reducing antibiotic resistance in food and increasing the resilience of plants. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grant awards Wednesday, also saying that President Obama’s 2017 budget proposes investing $700 million for… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: On Coloring Inside the Lines

Opinion

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First off, I don’t mean to disparage anyone on the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. They are all probably fine folks. It seems that they are all the big names in nutrition working for the big universities — Harvard, Yale, Tufts and those others — that make sideline profits from the ink-stained nutrition newsletter industry…. Continue Reading

Senators Still Want Answers From Antibiotic Resistance Task Force

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Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are still waiting for answers to animal antibiotics questions posed eight months ago. The senators originally wrote to the co-chairs of the Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in December 2014 wanting to know about how the task force plans to address issues in enforcement,… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: Agriculture’s Most Popular Man

Opinion

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I spent a couple of hours last week watching Thomas James (Tom) Vilsack wrap the House Education and Workforce Committee around his little finger. It came on his 2,338th day as United States Secretary of Agriculture. He is the boss of 85,000 USDA employees. Those who promote the narratives for such events said the Secretary… Continue Reading

A Look Back at Food Safety During Obama’s First Six Years

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Since the Obama administration took over the executive branch more than six years ago, foodborne illnesses from meat, poultry and eggs — products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — has been falling. In fact, just from fiscal year 2013 to 2014, illnesses from meat and poultry has fallen by 10 percent, according to… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: How to Live Long and Prosper

Opinion

Mr. Spock

We don’t do enough on the role of technology in food and in advancing food safety. Just like the overall economy, new technologies in food and food safety are driving down costs and delivering greater efficiencies. I was planning on writing about this even before we lost actor-director Leonard Nimoy last week at the age… Continue Reading