With all the activity in the nation's capital on Tuesday, one more item of particular interest to agriculture can be added to that list. Congress moved to confirm former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as the next USDA Secretary.

The quick and unanimous confirmation of Vilsack will help ensure a speedy transition and smooth policy implementation at USDA, National Corn Growers Association officials said.

“We’re pleased the Senate moved so quickly to confirm Tom Vilsack,” said NCGA President Bob Dickey. “The implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill is one of our top priorities for this year, and we’re looking forward to working with the new administration on this and other issues.”

During his eight years as governor of Iowa, from 1999 to 2007, Vilsack was active on a number of issues that are important to agriculture and society today. He chaired the Governors Ethanol Coalition, Governors Biotechnology Partnership, and the National Governors Association’s Natural Resources Committee, which handles agriculture and energy policies. He also chaired the Democratic Governors Association in 2004.