Obama to deliver much needed aid to drought-stricken California
February 14th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
5 months ago

Obama to deliver much needed aid to drought-stricken California

Palm Springs, California (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel Friday to California and announce a new federal initiative aimed at helping farms and communities there in the grips of a devastating drought.

The President will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who told reporters Thursday that the program will include $100 million in livestock disaster assistance for California farmers and producers, along with funding for water conservation projects, and aid for states across the country affected by the drought.

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Filed under: California • Jerry Brown • President Obama • Tom Vilsack
Vilsack not running for Senate in Iowa
February 15th, 2013
02:22 PM ET
1 year ago

Vilsack not running for Senate in Iowa

(CNN) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former two-term Iowa governor, will not seek retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat in 2014, according to Democratic officials.

Soon after Harkin announced his decision to retire at the end of his term, Vilsack's name was floated among others as a potential Democratic candidate for the seat.
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Filed under: Iowa • Senate • Tom Harkin • Tom Vilsack
Short-term agreement reached for farm legislation
December 30th, 2012
04:26 PM ET
2 years ago

Short-term agreement reached for farm legislation

(CNN) – Following increased pressure to pass farm legislation by the end of the year, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Saturday that the House and Senate have developed a short-term farm bill extension to prevent dairy prices from soaring in the new year.

The bill "also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy," Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement.
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Filed under: Agriculture Department • Tom Vilsack
December 30th, 2012
09:14 AM ET
1 year ago

Vilsack: Economy will suffer without farm bill

Update 4:30 p.m. ET: Following increased pressure to pass farm legislation by the end of the year, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Sunday that the House and Senate have developed a short-term farm bill extension to prevent dairy prices from soaring in the new year.

The bill "also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy," Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement.

Rep. Frank Lucas, Stabenow's Republican counterpart in the House, said the extension would last one year, but GOP leadership aides tell CNN there has been no decision on whether to bring the stopgap measure for a vote by January 1.

(CNN) - While Congress faces escalating pressure to avoid the fiscal cliff, a key Cabinet member is issuing dire warnings for the economy if Washington fails to immediately act on other vital legislation waiting in the wings.

"It is unconscionable that we don't have a farm bill," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "This is just historic."
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July 21st, 2010
06:27 PM ET
4 years ago

Vilsack, White House apologize to former USDA official

Washington (CNN) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he apologized to Shirley Sherrod for forcing her to resign based on incomplete and misleading reports of a speech she gave.

Vilsack told reporters that he alone made the decision regarding Sherrod, with no White House involvement.

He spoke to Sherrod earlier Wednesday and said he asked for her forgiveness, which she gave. Vilsack also said he offered Sherrod another job in the department, and she was taking a few days to think about it.

"She's a good woman - she's been put through hell," Vilsack said of Sherrod. He admitted acting too hastily in the case, acknowledging that he was focused on reversing a history of racial discrimination at the agriculture department.

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Filed under: Shirley Sherrod • Tom Vilsack
July 21st, 2010
01:24 PM ET
4 years ago

Aides: White House trying to distance Obama from Sherrod controversy

White House aides said Wednesday they do not expect President Barack Obama to call Shirley Sherrod.
White House aides said Wednesday they do not expect President Barack Obama to call Shirley Sherrod.

Washington (CNN) - White House aides said Wednesday they do not expect President Barack Obama to call Shirley Sherrod, the black former USDA employee who resigned after a video clip of her discussing a white farmer surfaced earlier this week.

Obama did not appear at the White House briefing Wednesday to discuss the issue. At the briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs apologized to Sherrod on behalf of the administration.

Last year, the president did make a surprise appearance at a briefing to address reporters regarding the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., even though White House officials had said he wouldn't speak publicly about it.

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Filed under: President Obama • Tom Vilsack
July 21st, 2010
08:28 AM ET
4 years ago

Former USDA official: Department's reconsideration is 'bittersweet'






(CNN) – A black former Agriculture Department official who resigned under pressure after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer said Wednesday the agency's decision to review her case is "bittersweet," but said she isn't sure she would accept her job back if it is offered.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday that he will review the case of Shirley Sherrod, who resigned Monday after the video clip first appeared on a conservative website and later on Fox News.

In the video, Sherrod, the former USDA director of rural development for Georgia, seems to tell an audience at an NAACP function in March that she did not do her utmost to help a white farmer avoid foreclosure.

However, Sherrod later said the clip only shows part of her comments, and that she tells the story of her experience - from nearly a quarter century ago when she was not a federal employee - to illustrate the importance of moving beyond race.

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Filed under: Agriculture Department • Shirley Sherrod • Tom Vilsack • USDA
July 20th, 2010
07:17 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama briefed after Sherrod incident

(CNN) - President Obama was briefed after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack decided to seek Shirley Sherrod's resignation and fully supports that decision, a White House official said Tuesday.


Filed under: President Obama • Tom Vilsack