The National Pork Producers Council today expressed its support for the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. The former North Dakota governor succeeds Mike Johanns, who resigned in September to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Nebraska. Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner served as Acting Secretary beginning Sept. 20.

“Ed Schafer will make a fine Secretary of Agriculture, and the pork industry looks forward to working with him,” said NPPC president Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Ill. “America’s pork producers will strongly support Secretary Schafer as he tackles issues of importance to the U.S. hog industry, including trade agreements, animal identification and the Farm Bill.”

One of Schafer’s first tasks is to get a Farm Bill through a House-Senate conference committee that is trying to work out a final version. The Bush administration has threatened to veto any Farm Bill that raises taxes. The White House is urging Congress to adopt a proposal that would ban subsidies to farmers whose gross income exceeds an average of $200,000 a year.

Schafer served as North Dakota’s governor from 1992 to 2000. In 1999, he served as the co-lead on agriculture for the National Governors Association, and in 2000 led an agricultural trade mission from North Dakota to China to help open new markets for his state’s farm products.

Schafer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota and an MBA from the University of Denver, most recently was CEO of Extend America, a start-up wireless communications firm. He also was president of the Gold Seal Co., a household products company founded by his father.

Source: NPPC