Speculation of who will lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Biden Administration is circulating across farm and ranch country.
Some obvious potential candidates to lead the USDA include defeated lawmakers who have served in Congress.
The front runner is former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) who lost reelection in 2018. Seen as a moderate, she broke from her party on controversial issues, such as her support for the Keystone XL Pipeline and voting for both of President Trump’s EPA nominees. Heitkamp served on the Senate Ag committee from 2013 to 2019 and was reportedly considered by President Trump to head USDA under his administration.
Another prominent name in agriculture in the Beltway is House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson. The Minnesota Democrat was soundly defeated in the 2020 election after serving 30 years in Congress. Peterson in respected by agriculture groups for his work to bridge that gap between Democrats and Republicans on import issues impacting rural America.
Other potential picks include:
- Former USDA Under Sec. Michael Scuse who is now Delaware's Ag Secretary
- Krysta Harden, former deputy secretary and chief of staff to former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
- Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
- Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
- Beth Ford, Land O'Lakes
More names are expected to be added to that list in the coming weeks.