WASHINGTON – President Bush has nominated Edward T. Schafer to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Schafer served as governor of North Dakota from 1992 to 2000 and during that time, he worked closely with the state’s agriculture industry.
Ag experience. As governor, Schafer effectively directed state response to eight statewide disasters, including drought, flood and fire. This included historic flooding and fire in Grand Forks in 1997, which led to the evacuation of thousands of North Dakota residents.
He also launched a successful pilot project to revive rural communities by using technology to deliver education, health care and economic development.
Schafer led an agricultural trade mission from North Dakota to China in 2000 to help open new markets for North Dakota farm products.
Earlier in 2000, the former governor also represented the United States with Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman on a presidential delegation to China to promote Permanent Normal Trading Relations.
Other agricultural knowledge includes extensive experience with grain and livestock import issues, overseeing the initial development of North Dakota’s biofuel industries and developing value-added products for agriculture.
Leadership. If confirmed, Schafer will head the USDA in its mission of providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues.
In addition to his agriculture background, Schafer has also held several leadership positions.
In 1999, he served as the co-lead on agriculture for the National Governors Association. He also served as chair of the National Governors Association Economic Development Committee in 1999.
Schafer was co-founder and co-chair of the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, established in 2000. This partnership was founded to increase public understanding and support for the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.
He served as the chair of the Republican Governors Association in 2000, chair of the Western Governors’ Association in 1997 and chair of the Midwest Governors’ Conference and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in 1995.
History. Schafer became president of the Gold Seal Company in 1978. His father founded this North Dakota-based household cleaning and personal care products company, where the former governor began his career working in the mailroom at age 14.
Returning after his graduation, Schafer eventually became president of the company, a position in which he held from 1978 to 1985.
Schafer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota in 1969 and an Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver in 1970.
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