USDA Set To Get New Boss

Former Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack, is expected to be named as the new head of the USDA, replacing Ed Schafer, at a Chicago news conference later today.

Vilsack will join Obama at the news conference scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. Chicago time.

Vilsack dropped out of the presidential race in 2007 and backed Senator Hillary Clinton before campaigning for Obama in the general election.

Vilsack’s experience as a state legislator and leader of the nation’s largest corn-producing state makes him well-qualified to lead the third-largest Cabinet department in spending.

Amongst other things, Vilsack will be responsible for administering the President-elect's promised $150 billion in renewable energy investment over the next 10 years, making ethanol production a key issue for the new man.

Like Obama, he has publicly nailed his colours to the ethanol mast, linking farming to energy independence and national security.