As Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration draws closer, attention has turned to who will fill his cabinet, including the role of agriculture secretary. Whoever is appointed to the position will oversee the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, with it, child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program and Summer Food Service Program. Here’s an overview of some top contenders for the position.
Heidi Heitkamp is considered to be the frontrunner for the next agriculture secretary. The former senator from North Dakota served on the Senate Agriculture Committee, is known for her criticism of Trump’s trade policies and is an advocate for issues facing rural America. President Trump briefly considered her for the role of Agriculture Secretary back in 2016.
Another potential candidate is U.S. Rep.Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who made her case for why she should hold the position in an interview with Politicolast week. Fudgeis member of the House Agriculture Committeeand chairs its Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations Subcommittee. She is known for defendingthe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)from cuts during the Trump administration. If appointed, she would be the first African-American woman to hold the position.
Along with being a contender for attorney general, Amy Klobuchar is also thought to be in the running for agriculture secretary. The Minnesota senator, who ran for president earlier in 2020, has been an advocate for increasing support for disaster programs, federal crop insurance and agriculture commodities.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is also up for consideration. Pingree is an organic farmer and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Recently, she introduced bills aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from farming and expanding processing capabilities for small meat processers.