Obama-era officials and lawmakers top the list of potential candidates for the Biden administration’s agriculture minister, and for the first time, the majority of candidates are women. Most often mentioned is former North Dakota Senator Heidi Haytkamp, co-founder of the One Country to Promote Democratic Support in Rural America.
Also, in circulation were California Secretary of State for Agriculture Karen Ross, representatives Marcia Fudge from Ohio, Cherie Bustos from Illinois, representative Chelley Pingree from Maine, and Delaware Secretary of State for Agriculture Michael Seuss.
In the second or third round, agriculture is usually chosen. Sonny Purdue was the last candidate for President Trump’s cabinet to be announced the day before his 2017 inauguration.
Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, and agriculture secretary through-out the Obama era was a prominent advocate for Biden and defined the careers of a number of potential candidates. He can play a role in deciding who gets the job at Biden.
Ross, California’s Secretary of Agriculture, was Chief of Staff and Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary. Christa Harden was Vilsack’s number two undersecretary of agriculture for three years and is now the chief operating officer of the US Dairy Export Council.
In April 2019, Heitkamp and former Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, another Senate Agriculture committee member who lost the 2018 election, launched the One Country Project to win back,” as Axios described it.
Pingree is an organic farmer and a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Appropriations, an unusual combination of roles that help her with food, agriculture, and USDA funding. He introduced bills to reduce food waste and expand the role of small-scale meat processors. Pingree is a favorite of peasant activist groups and an opponent of agricultural consolidation.
Fudge is one of the main supporters of foodservice programs like SNAP in Congress. As chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, she cited last summer’s hearings on the flaws in the Trump administration’s food-box distribution program. Fudge has also been named as a possible candidate for the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture.
The rising role of women in agriculture can play a significant role in the betterment of the agriculture sector.