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Jerry Hagstrom

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USDA officials pitch in to help with White House garden

April 13, 2009 While helping First Lady Michelle Obama plant a White House fruit and vegetable garden last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said it is his job to make sure the federal school lunch program is funded sufficiently so children get fruits and vegetables in their daily diets. President Obama proposed in...

USDA nominees get confirmation hearing

April 2, 2009 Following a confirmation hearing Wednesday on President Obama's nominees for three key posts at USDA, Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he will try to get the nominations through the Senate before Congress leaves this week for recess. Harkin said he would ask the Senate to discharge the committee...

USDA secretary favors strong link between performance measures and goals

March 27, 2009 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes results-oriented management is central to running his department effectively -- and technology and federal employees are essential to that effort. "Tying what we do to specific articulated results is a very important function of what the management side of this agency has to do," Vilsack...

Vilsack says USDA must sharpen focus on civil rights

February 23, 2009 ALBANY, Ga. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced he intends to place civil rights front and center at USDA, including calling on Congress to elevate the position of assistant secretary for administration to the undersecretary level and making sure civil rights get as much attention as other program areas...

First lady touts green initiatives in USDA visit

February 19, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Agriculture Department headquarters on Wednesday to thank employees for their service and present USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack with a seedling from a White House tree to be planted in a new "People's Garden" to be built in front of the building. The garden is...

Vilsack: U.S. should have single food inspection agency

February 10, 2009 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday he favors a single food safety agency, but he has not decided whether it should be located in the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Food and Drug Administration or an independent agency. Commenting on the salmonella peanut butter scandal, Vilsack told...

Speculation swirls around candidates for USDA posts

January 22, 2009 Speculation on who might fill USDA subcabinet posts is intensifying on Capitol Hill and among lobbyists, but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he would not discuss any personnel matters until they are announced. After being sworn into office by Vice President Joe Biden, Vilsack told reporters in his office at...

Holidays give no rest for administration job-seekers

December 19, 2008 President-elect Barack Obama's transition team will work through the Christmas and New Year's holidays to name many sub-Cabinet-level appointees as quickly as possible, a mid-level transition official said this week in informal conversation. President-elect Obama wants the lower-level officials in place as early as possible after the Jan. 20 inauguration...

Colorado Democrat says he's under consideration for USDA

December 3, 2008 President-elect Obama is considering nominating Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., for Agriculture secretary, according to a statement from Salazar. "I am humbled that I may be under consideration as a possible nominee for Secretary of Agriculture," Salazar, 55, said in a statement responding to a request for comment from the Denver...

Former civil servant might head Obama USDA transition team

November 13, 2008 Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Bart Chilton and Carole Jett, a retired USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service civil servant, are top candidates to head the Obama transition team at the USDA, several lobbyists and a department source said late Wednesday. Transition lawyers must still determine whether Chilton can head the...