The United States Secretary of Agriculture is the head of the United States Department of Agriculture. The current secretary is Tom Vilsack, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 20 January 2009. The position carries similar responsibilities to those of agriculture ministers in other governments.
The department includes several organizations. The 297,000 mi (770,000 km) of national forests and grasslands are managed by the United States Forest Service. The safety of food produced in the United States and sold here is ensured by the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service. The Food Stamp Program works with the states to provide food to low-income people. Advice for farmers and gardeners is provided by the United States Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.
The line of succession for the Secretary of Agriculture is as follows:
1. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
2. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services
3. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
4. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development
5. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
6. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment
7. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics
8. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety
9. General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture
10. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Administration
11. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Congressional Relations
Flag of the Secretary of Agriculture:
Seal of the Department of Agriculture
Incumbent, Tom Vilsack, since 20 Jan 2009:
Interesting USDA facts:
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