The selection of the next Secretary of Agriculture is of obvious interest to those of us involved in farming and the rural lifestyle, and we continue to await the announcement from President-elect Obama as to who he has chosen to lead the USDA. In the last 48 hours, heightened interest in the naming of the US Trade Representative has surfaced with the leaking of Obama’s choice of California Congressman Xavier Becerra to the post. Becerra, it is widely reported, has a mixed record on trade issues, supporting some key agreements while fighting many others of importance to agriculture.
Even so, there are still two other jobs that will have a significant impact on farmers and rural residents; who will lead the Environmental Protection Agency in the new administration, and who will be the next Secretary of the Interior? The Department of the Interior isn’t one we come into contact with in the Midwest all that much, but to our Western brethren, the various arms and entanglements of the DOI are very important. And as this piece at TownHall points out, the potential for an Interior Secretary who will bow to activists on issues like the Endangered Species Act might have wide-reaching effect beyond the scope of just public lands management and such. Case in point, the Indiana Bat and its potential to prevent farmers from developing wind energy in Logan County.