U.S. secretary of agriculture
As head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack guides the nation's efforts in food safety and security and animal health — all areas in which Kansas State University is a recognized national and international research and outreach leader."
Vilsack has served since January 2009 as the nation's 30th secretary of agriculture. His focuses have been on strengthening the American agricultural economy, revitalizing rural communities, protecting and conserving our natural resources, and providing a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply.
Under Vilsack's leadership, the USDA is getting assistance from Kansas State University to improve the health of the nation's children. The USDA-funded Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs at the university involves an interdisciplinary team of university experts conducting food safety research that impacts child nutrition programs across the country.
Vilsack has been active in USDA efforts to strengthen rural America, including helping to create economic opportunities by expanding broadband access, promoting renewable energy, increasing agricultural exports, taking advantage of ecosystem markets and linking local farm production to local consumption.
Prior to becoming secretary of agriculture, Vilsack served two terms as governor of Iowa. He also was a state senator and the mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Vilsack earned a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and a law degree from Albany School of Law.