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Senator Thune Comments on New U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Former North Dakota Governor, Edward Shafer Confirmed as 29th Secretary of Agriculture

January 28, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Today U.S. Senator John Thune applauded the speedy Senate confirmation of Edward Shafer as the 29th Secretary of Agriculture.

"I was encouraged by Governor Shafer's remarks at last week's Senate Agriculture Committee confirmation hearing that he was prepared to work with the Senate and House Agriculture Committees on behalf of the Administration to have a Farm Bill in place by March 15, when the 2002 Farm Bill extension expires," said Thune.

"At last week's Senate hearing I questioned Governor Shafer about the ability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement farm bill programs in a timely way for farmer and rancher participation," said Thune. "He assured me that his track record as Governor in administering programs as well as his strong business background would serve him well in guiding USDA's farm bill delivery process."

In a meeting in Thune's Washington office and at the Senate Agriculture Committee's confirmation hearing Senator Thune outlined his farm bill priorities to the incoming Secretary of Agriculture. "I've made it very clear to the new Secretary how important the safety net provisions of the Farm Bill's Commodity Title, the urgent need for a permanent disaster program, the cellulosic ethanol provisions of the Energy Title, and the Conservation Title programs, especially the Conservation Reserve Program, are to South Dakota," said Thune. "Because he served as Governor of North Dakota for 8 years and has spent a lifetime on the Northern Plains, I'm confident the new Secretary understands and shares these priorities as well."