Bush Nominates Former North Dakota Governor As Agriculture Secretary

Wednesday, October 31st 2007, 1:32 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush on Wednesday nominated Edward Schafer, a former two-term Republican governor from North Dakota, to lead the Agriculture Department, which is hoping to influence the outcome of a new five-year farm bill.

``At every stage of his career, Ed has shown wisdom, foresight and creativity,'' Bush said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. ``Those same qualities will make him a valuable member of my Cabinet and they will make him a trusted friend to America's farmers and ranchers. His passion for agriculture has deep roots.''

Schafer, who chose not to run again in North Dakota in 2000, will replace Mike Johanns, who resigned as U.S. agriculture secretary last month to launch a bid for the Nebraska Senate seat being vacated by Republican Chuck Hagel at the end of next year.

Schafer, the grandson of Danish immigrants who farmed throughout their lives, gained extensive agricultural experience while serving as governor, from 1992 to 2000, in a state where nearly 25 percent of its residents work as farmers and ranchers or are employed in farm-related jobs.

He was elected to his first term by a margin of 17 percent and was re-elected to a second term four years later by a margin of 32 percent, becoming the first Republican governor elected to a second term in North Dakota since the 1950s.

``I realize that the mission of this agency goes far beyond the services delivered to the preservation of a way of life that I believe is the foundation of this country,'' Schafer said.