Bush names Johanns to be new ag secretary


WASHINGTON – The president nominated Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns as the country’s next secretary of agriculture.
Johanns replaces Ann Veneman who resigned from her USDA position last month. Veneman served as agricultural secretary since the Bush administration took office in 2001.
“I know firsthand [of Johanns’] deep commitment to a strong farm economy,” Bush said in a White House conference Dec. 2.
Ag background. “I’m very, very proud of my ag background,” Johanns said in the appearance with Bush, noting he was raised on a dairy farm near Osage, Iowa. “I do feel that those years on that dairy farm did much to define who I am as a person.”
Prior to serving two terms as governor, Johanns was first an attorney, then a county commissioner, a city council member and mayor of Lincoln, Neb.
As governor, he’s led trade missions to Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and Chile.
Johanns also was a leader in drought relief in the Midwest and is a proponent of ethanol and biodiesel, Bush said in his nomination announcement.
“These are all key issues for America’s beef producers and we’re grateful to have a nominee with such passion in these areas,” said Terry Stokes, chief executive officer for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
These comments echo those made by other agricultural groups, including National Pork Producers Council, which said Johanns’ international trade experience is critical for U.S. producers.
Approval. The nomination will require Senate approval.


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