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One of the great rules of inventory management — first in, first out — could apply to the process of deducing who will be agriculture secretary in the Obama administration with a wry renaming. In this iteration, it is “first named, first discarded.”
The list of potential nominees deemed as front-runners or consensus choices to run USDA has churned continuously since Barack Obama won the presidential election. And it is unclear when a nominee will be named. Most of the front-runners have faded from attention like flowers at the approach of winter.
In early November, the list of potential nominees was filled with Washington heavyweights, like National Farmers Union president Tom Buis or former Texas Rep. Charles Stenholm, along with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.
They were superseded by a series of state officials, such as Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. Still more potential names surfaced, including first-tem Montana Sen. John Tester and John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association.