U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praised outgoing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, calling her a friend to agriculture and rural America.

"Lisa Jackson has served our country well as she balanced improving the environment and the health of the American people - while ensuring our country's economic competitiveness - because they are intrinsically linked. Throughout her tenure, she listened to stakeholders, including farmers and ranchers, and took their concerns into account while considering policies that impacted rural America. She was a friend to me and to those who live and work in rural America and her leadership will be missed," Vilsack said.

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Jackson has held the EPA's top spot for the past four years. On December 27, she announced her intent to resign in January 2013.