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Tom Vilsack to Return to Head USDA

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture throughout the Obama administration, is returning once again to lead the department.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Vilsack toured rural America and is seen as someone who is middle-of-the-road and who can bring together farm groups and legislators at a time when the country’s farmers continue to face a trade war with China and a global pandemic.

Having served eight years, Vilsack was the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 50 years - the longest being “Tama Jim” Wilson, who served for 16 years in the role under three different presidents.

This coming year will be one of opposing forces, according to the USDA, which forecasts that 2021 will usher in an economic recovery for U.S. farmers with rapid growth, low interest rates, and low inflation. However, almost 40 percent of U.S. farm income is due to subsidies that will be expiring in the coming weeks. Despite this, if commodity prices remain elevated, income levels would be higher than before the trade war, but still lower than 2020.

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