Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks with members of the military at a VFW post in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, May 25. (Clay Masters/Iowa Public Radio)
There’s a lot at stake in the presidential election in Iowa. Considered a key swing state, both President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney made stops in the state in the last couple weeks.
Romney spent a lot of time talking about what he called the “prairie fire of debt” the nation faces and touting his time in the private sector as giving him the chops to turn the economy around. Obama talked renewable energy at a wind energy production factory in Newton, Iowa.
Neither, though, honed in on agriculture in a stated fueled by the sector.
Enter U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and former Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack, a Democrat, works on agricultural policy for the Obama administration.
Vilsack stopped Friday at the Boline-Manfredi VFW Post in Des Moines and talked ag with a handful of military service members. He said the USDA is making hiring veterans a priority.
“We’ve got a couple of programs within the USDA where we’re trying to connect veterans to farming opportunities,” Vilsack told reporters.
“I think there’s been an urgency since troops started coming back from Afghanistan,” Vilsack said. “I think it’s going to accelerate because of that conflict winding down and with no combat troops now in Iraq. So you’ve got all those young people who’ve come back… and with retirements taking place in the military as well, it creates a real need.”