Ed Schafer has been confirmed and sworn in as the 29th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Schafer succeeds Mike Johanns, who resigned in September to run for the Senate in Nebraska.
Secretary Schafer brings a record as an innovative two-term governor of North Dakota to USDA along with extensive private sector experience as both an entrepreneur and a business executive. He made diversifying and expanding North Dakota’s economy, reducing the cost of government and advancing agriculture his top priorities in office.
He also worked to normalize trading relations with China and develop that nation as an export market for North Dakota farm products.
As governor, Schafer managed a state workforce of 12,000 people, oversaw a budget of $4.6 billion, and led the state’s response to emergencies such as the severe floods that hit the Grand Forks area in 1997.
Born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota, Schafer graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and earned an MBA from the University of Denver in 1970.
As chair of the Western Governors Association, Schafer led regional efforts to demonstrate how technology could improve the efficiency and lower the cost of delivering government services. He was an executive with the Gold Seal Company in Bismarck, co-founded Extend America, a venture capital-backed company, and served as a director of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)