President Bush announced Thursday that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will resign his cabinet position. In a joint announcement at the White House, Bush accepted the resignation calling Johanns "not only a decent person, an honest person, but a person who gets things done."
It is widely speculated Johanns left his post to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska where he previously served two terms as governor. Johanns resigned the Nebraska governor seat in 2005 to become agriculture secretary.
The announcement was made just a day after Johanns addressed members of the National Pork Producers Council where he commended the U.S. pork industry for its leadership on trade and animal identification. “One of the really, really great partners we (USDA) have had over the last three years has been this industry, the pork industry,” Johanns told more than 150 producers. “You’ve been leaders in so many areas, including trade, and I want you to know, it’s appreciated. We appreciate it immensely.”
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner, who has been USDA’s point person on the 2007 Farm Bill, will serve as acting secretary. “The USDA and the agricultural community is in very capable hands with Chuck Conner at the helm, and we look forward to working with him,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks.
“We wish Secretary Johanns good luck in his future endeavors,” Dierks said. “He was a very good agriculture secretary and a good governor, and we’re confident he’ll be successful in whatever he does.”