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Vilsack staying on as USDA chief

01/14/2013 @ 1:34pm

Tom Vilsack will keep his job as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a second term under President Barack Obama, White House and USDA officials said Monday.

Mr. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, led the USDA during the worst drought to hit American farmers since the 1950s. He has been criticized for his staunch support for corn-based ethanol. Corn prices rose to record levels last year as drought conditions scorched fields across the country.

Mr. Obama has faced criticism for not nominating more women and minorities to cabinet positions in his second term. On Monday, Mr. Obama expressed commitment to diversity and said he's not finished with the lineup for his second term.

Mr. Vilsack was the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, before being elected to the Iowa state senate. He then served two terms as the governor before Mr. Obama chose him to lead the USDA.

Write to Bill Tomson at bill.tomson@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 14, 2013 13:20 ET (18:20 GMT)
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