U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Wednesday regarding the President's nomination of former North Dakota Governor Edward Schafer to serve as Secretary of Agriculture:
"Any candidate for Secretary of Agriculture must not only understand the diversity of the industry, but must also recognize the critical role the USDA plays in national security issues. Agriculture also plays a key part of the U.S. economy, amounting to $4 billion in cash receipts each year in my home state alone. We must ensure its continued security and prosperity.
"I look forward to discussing the unique challenges facing the agricultural industry with former Gov. Schafer. With the pending farm bill, I expect the Senate will move swiftly to ensure that Gov. Shafer has a fair and thorough hearing followed with a vote by the full Senate."
Gov. Edward Schafer served as the governor of North Dakota for eight years, during which time he worked extensively with the state's agriculture industry. Twenty-four percent of North Dakota workers are employed in farm or ranch-related industries. Schafer served as the co-lead on agriculture for the National Governors Association and co-founded the Governors Biotechnology Partnership which educates the public on the benefits of agriculture biotechnology.