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United States Secretary of Agriculture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Secretary of Agriculture
Seal of the United States Department of Agriculture.svg
Seal of the Department
Flag of the United States Secretary of Agriculture.svg
Flag of the Secretary
Sonny Perdue

since April 25, 2017
United States Department of Agriculture
StyleMr. Secretary
The Honorable
Member ofCabinet
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatJamie L. Whitten Building, Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument7 U.S.C. § 2202
FormationFebruary 15, 1889
First holderNorman Jay Coleman
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Agriculture
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level I

The United States secretary of agriculture is the head of the United States Department of Agriculture. The secretary is former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue. Perdue took office on April 25, 2017 after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate by an 87–11 vote. The position carries similar responsibilities to those of agriculture ministers in other governments.

The department includes several organizations. The 297,000 mi2 (770,000 km2) of national forests and grasslands are managed by the United States Forest Service.[2] The safety of food produced and sold in the United States is ensured by the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service.[3] The Food Stamp Program works with the states to provide food to low-income people.[4] Advice for farmers and gardeners is provided by the United States Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.[5]

List of secretaries of agriculture

When the Department of Agriculture was established in 1862, its executive was a non-Cabinet position called the commissioner of agriculture. The commissioners of agriculture were:[6]

United States Secretaries of Agriculture
No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 Newton seated Isaac Newton Pennsylvania July 1, 1862 June 19, 1867 Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Horace Capron.jpg
Horace Capron December 4, 1867 July 31, 1871
Ulysses S. Grant
3 Frederick Watts Pennsylvania August 1, 1871 1877
4 William Gates LeDuc Minnesota July 1, 1877 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes
George B. Loring - Brady-Handy.jpg
George B. Loring Massachusetts July 1, 1881 1885 James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Norman Jay Coleman Missouri April 3, 1885 February 14, 1889 Grover Cleveland

The position of secretary of agriculture was created when the department was elevated to Cabinet status in 1889. The following is a list of secretaries of agriculture, since the creation of the office in 1889.[7]


  Democratic (14)   Republican (18)

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
Norman Jay Coleman Missouri February 15, 1889 March 6, 1889 Grover Cleveland
Jeremiah McLain Rusk - Brady-Handy.jpg
Jeremiah McLain Rusk Wisconsin March 6, 1889 March 6, 1893 Benjamin Harrison
J. Sterling Morton, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left.jpg
Julius Sterling Morton Nebraska March 7, 1893 March 5, 1897 Grover Cleveland
James Wilson(U.S. politician)-seated.jpg
James Wilson Iowa March 5, 1897 March 5, 1913 William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
David F. Houston Missouri March 6, 1913 February 2, 1920
E.T. Meredith, ggbain.16011u.jpg
Edwin T. Meredith Iowa February 2, 1920 March 4, 1921
Henry Cantwell Wallace.jpg
Henry Cantwell Wallace Iowa March 5, 1921 October 25, 1924 Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Howard Mason Gore.jpg
Howard Mason Gore West Virginia November 22, 1924 March 4, 1925
W.M. Jardine.jpg
William Marion Jardine Kansas March 5, 1925 March 4, 1929
Arthur M. Hyde.jpg
Arthur M. Hyde Missouri March 6, 1929 March 4, 1933 Herbert Hoover
Henry A. Wallace Iowa March 4, 1933 September 4, 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Claude R. Wickard Indiana September 5, 1940 June 29, 1945
Harry S. Truman
Clinton P. Anderson, 13th Secretary of Agriculture, June 1945 - May 1948. - Flickr - USDAgov.jpg
Clinton Presba Anderson New Mexico June 30, 1945 May 10, 1948
Charles F. Brannan.jpg
Charles F. Brannan Colorado June 2, 1948 January 20, 1953
Ezra Taft Benson - USDA portrait.gif
Ezra Taft Benson Utah January 21, 1953 January 20, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture (1961-1969).jpg
Orville Freeman Minnesota January 21, 1961 January 20, 1969 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Clifford Morris Hardin - USDA portrait.png
Clifford M. Hardin Nebraska January 21, 1969 November 17, 1971 Richard Nixon
Earl Lauer Butz - USDA portrait.png
Earl Butz Indiana December 2, 1971 October 4, 1976
Gerald Ford
John Albert Knebel - USDA portrait.png
John Albert Knebel Oklahoma November 4, 1976 January 20, 1977
Robert Bergland - USDA portrait.jpg
Robert Bergland Minnesota January 23, 1977 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
John Block.jpg
John Rusling Block Illinois January 23, 1981 February 14, 1986 Ronald Reagan
Richard E. Lyng, 22nd Secretary of Agriculture, March 1986 - January 1989. - Flickr - USDAgov.jpg
Richard Edmund Lyng California March 7, 1986 January 21, 1989
Clayton Yeutter (cropped).jpg
Clayton Keith Yeutter Nebraska February 16, 1989 March 1, 1991 George H. W. Bush
Edward R. Madigan (cropped).jpg
Edward Rell Madigan Illinois March 8, 1991 January 20, 1993
Mike Espy (cropped).jpg
Mike Espy Mississippi January 22, 1993 December 31, 1994 Bill Clinton
Rominger Official USDA Portrait.jpg
Richard Rominger
California December 31, 1994 March 30, 1995
Dan glickman.jpg
Dan Glickman Kansas March 30, 1995 January 20, 2001
Ann Veneman (cropped).jpg
Ann Veneman California January 20, 2001 January 20, 2005 George W. Bush
Mike Johanns.jpg
Mike Johanns Nebraska January 21, 2005 September 20, 2007
Charles F. Conner, official USDA photo portrait.jpg
Charles F. Conner
Indiana September 20, 2007 January 28, 2008
SchaferEd-official (cropped).jpg
Ed Schafer North Dakota January 28, 2008 January 20, 2009
Tom Vilsack, official USDA portrait (cropped).jpg
Tom Vilsack Iowa January 20, 2009 January 13, 2017 Barack Obama
Michael T. Scuse official portrait (cropped).jpg
Michael Scuse
Delaware January 13, 2017 January 20, 2017
Michael Young 20170216-DM-RBN-7992 (32557392300).jpg
Mike Young
January 20, 2017 April 25, 2017 Donald Trump
Sonny Perdue headshot.jpg
Sonny Perdue Georgia April 25, 2017 Incumbent

Living former secretaries of agriculture

(Back L to R) Yeutter, Glickman, Espy, and Block. (Front L to R) Johanns, Vilsack, Veneman, and Schafer.
(Back L to R) Yeutter, Glickman, Espy, and Block. (Front L to R) Johanns, Vilsack, Veneman, and Schafer.

As of August 2020, there are eight living former secretaries of agriculture (with all secretaries that have served since 1993 still living), the oldest being John R. Block (served 1981–1986, born 1935). The most recent secretary of agriculture to die was Robert Bergland (served 1977–1981, born 1928), on December 9, 2018. The most recently serving secretary to die was Edward Rell Madigan (1991–1993, born 1936) on December 7, 1994.

Name Term Birth date (and age)
John A. Knebel 1976–1977 (1936-10-04) October 4, 1936 (age 83)
John R. Block 1981–1986 (1935-02-15) February 15, 1935 (age 85)
Mike Espy 1993–1994 (1953-11-30) November 30, 1953 (age 66)
Dan Glickman 1995–2001 (1944-11-24) November 24, 1944 (age 75)
Ann Veneman 2001–2005 (1949-06-29) June 29, 1949 (age 71)
Mike Johanns 2005–2007 (1950-06-18) June 18, 1950 (age 70)
Ed Schafer 2008–2009 (1946-08-08) August 8, 1946 (age 74)
Tom Vilsack 2009–2017 (1950-12-13) December 13, 1950 (age 69)

Line of succession

The line of succession for the secretary of agriculture is as follows:[8]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
  2. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services
  3. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Administration
  4. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
  5. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics
  6. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety
  7. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment
  8. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development
  9. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
  10. General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture
  11. Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary
  12. State Executive Directors of the Farm Service Agency (in order of seniority by length of unbroken tenure) for the States of:
    1. California
    2. Iowa
    3. Kansas
  13. Regional Administrators of the Food and Nutrition Service (in order of seniority by length of unbroken tenure) for the:
    1. Mountain Plains Regional Office (Denver, Colorado)
    2. Midwest Regional Office (Chicago, Illinois)
    3. Western Regional Office (San Francisco, California)
  14. Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Agriculture
  15. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights
  16. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Congressional Relations


  1. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". LII / Legal Information Institute.
  2. ^ "USDA Forest Service - Caring for the land and serving people". Retrieved September 24, 2005.
  3. ^ "Home". Retrieved September 24, 2005.
  4. ^ "FNS Food Stamp Program Home Page". Retrieved September 24, 2005.
  5. ^ "Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)". Retrieved September 24, 2005.
  6. ^ Baker, Gladys L.; Rasmussen, Wayne D.; Wiser, Vivian; Porter, Jane M. (1963). "Century of Service: The First 100 Years of the United States Department of Agriculture". U.S. Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2018. Alt URL
  7. ^ "Former Secretaries". U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Amendments to Delegations of Authority, United States Department of Agriculture". Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved October 29, 2016.

External links

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Bernhardt
as Secretary of the Interior
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of the Agriculture
Succeeded by
Wilbur Ross
as Secretary of Commerce
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of the Interior
David Bernhardt
9th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Commerce
Wilbur Ross
This page was last edited on 31 August 2020, at 13:50
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