Last month, we posted some possible Obama appointees for the Secretary of Agriculture position in “Wanted: an rBGH-free Appointment.” We voiced our support for the picks touted at FoodDemocracyNow.org and also skepticism at the change-making capabilities of potential candidate Dennis Wolff. Since then Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has been put forth for the post, leaving the sustainable agriculture movement somewhat nonplussed (see The Ethicurean’s post, “AgSuck”). Rumors are now circulating that Vilsack may be shifted to the office of Secretary of Commerce in light of a federal probe into possible ethics violations by former pick Gov. Bill Richardson (NM). While these rumors are unconfirmed by the Obama administration, they turn the public eye once again to this all-encompassing post and the issues in its jurisdiction. If Vilsack is in fact relocated, this would reopen the debate over who best to oversee this kitchen sink of an agency and the seventeen secretaries and officers answering to him or her.
Regardless of who is ultimately chosen as Secretary of Agriculture, there remain seven Under Secretary positions to fill – positions which may hold more collective sway even than that of their boss. For a nice visual representation of USDA structure and a list of these positions check out the USDA’s Organization Chart. Food Democracy Now has expanded its list of recommendations to a “Sustainable Dozen” – twelve possible picks for these positions at the USDA. If you have not yet signed the petition and would like to endorse these candidates, visit www.fooddemocracynow.org to add your name.