U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack exited his office on January 13 -- one week before his term was to officially end.
Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, was the only original cabinet member appointed by President Barack Obama to remain in the administration throughout the eight-year time span. With his service, he became the longest-serving agriculture secretary since Orville Freeman, who was the secretary during both the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations.
“At USDA, we have spent the past eight years working to support these communities and create opportunity in rural America. Today, the United States is experiencing record agricultural productivity and exports, ensuring Americans are more food secure and spend a smaller portion of their paychecks at the grocery store than most developed nations,” Vilsack stated in his exit memo.
Michael Scuse, who has been serving as acting deputy secretary since January, will take on the role of acting secretary during the interim.
President-elect Donald Trump, who is scheduled to be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, as of the time of Vilsack’s departure had not yet appointed a person to fill the agriculture secretary position with his administration. His nominee will require Senate confirmation.