Schafer nominated as next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
President Bush nominated former North Dakota governor Ed Schafer to serve as the country’s next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on Oct. 31. Schafer was on hand at the Roosevelt Room of the White House as Bush made the announcement.
“I’m proud to announce my nomination of Ed Schafer to be the next Secretary of Agriculture,” said Bush. “The Secretary of Agriculture heads a Cabinet department of more than 100,000 employees. I rely on the Secretary to provide sound advice on issues ranging from our nation’s farm economy and food supply to international trade and conservation programs. To carry out these responsibilities, the Secretary of Agriculture needs to be someone who understands the challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and consumers.”
Schafer was born in Bismarck, ND and became governor in 1992. He was re-elected to a second term four years later, becoming the first Republican elected to a second term in the state’s history. After leaving office, he has been living in Fargo, ND, working with several business interests.
Schafer received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota in 1969 followed by an MBA from the University of Denver in 1970.
“Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post,” said Bush. “He was a leader on agricultural issues during his eight years as the governor of North Dakota. He worked to open new markets for North Dakota farmers and ranchers by expanding trade with China. He oversaw the development of the state’s agricultural biofuels industry. He helped families recover from natural disasters – including drought, fires and floods. And he pioneered innovative programs to increase economic opportunity in rural communities.”
In his announcement, Bush also touted Schafer’s family background.
“Ed’s passion for agriculture has deep roots,” said Bush. “His maternal grandparents were Danish immigrants who worked as farmers on the plains of North Dakota. Ed has always kept their story close to his heart. And they’d be proud to see their grandson rise to become our nation’s top agriculture official.”
If Schafer receives Senate confirmation, he will replace former Ag Secretary Mike Johanns, who resigned in September to run for the Nebraska Senate.
“It is humbling to follow my friend, Secretary Johanns, into this position,” said Schafer during the announcment. “And I hope that I can live up to the high standards of performance that he set at the agency… And if I am honored with a Senate confirmation, it will be a great pleasure to join forces with the dedicated, talented and loyal employees of the USDA to enhance our country’s vibrant agriculture economy, to advance renewable energy and protect America’s food supply, improve nutrition and health, and conserve our natural resources.”
If confirmed, Gov. Schafer will become the country’s 29th Ag Secretary. He will head the USDA in its mission of providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues. USDA is charged with providing financing to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities, and infrastructure in rural America; enhancing food safety; improving nutrition and health; and managing and protecting America’s public and private lands, working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector. USDA also works with other agencies to expand markets for agricultural products, support international economic development, and further develop alternative markets for agricultural products and activities.
In a released statement, Jay Truitt, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said “Ed Schafer has been a strong advocate for North Dakota cattle producers and for American agriculture. He is keenly aware of the challenges being faced by rural communities and especially by our nation’s ranchers and farmers. I know from speaking with many of our North Dakota members of his efforts to help agriculture and farming communities during some very difficult times. Our cattlemen can be assured that Schafer will look to them to provide input and to establish an open dialogue about the policies that affect their operations.”
Schafer’s resumé includes serving as president of the Gold Seal Company, a North Dakota-based household cleaning and personal care products company his father founded. Ed Schafer served a president of the company from 1978 to 1985.