Secretary Tom Vilsack
President and CEO
Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He took the position in February 2017 after serving eight years as the nation's 30th Secretary of Agriculture.
As president and CEO, Vilsack provides strategic leadership and oversight of USDEC's global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. This includes working with industry leaders to develop a long-term vision for building sales and consumer trust in U.S. dairy. Together with the USDEC board, he creates strategies to successfully achieve the shared vision. He serves as the organization's primary spokesperson and ambassador to a host of global and domestic stakeholders.
USDEC routinely partners with other dairy industry groups such as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation to address the needs of its members, which include producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. An important component of Vilsack's role is working with and through these organizations to achieve results on behalf of the value chain.
As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Vilsack worked hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the tremendous innovation of rural America.
In eight years at the Department, Vilsack fought to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last. Under his leadership, USDA supported America's farmers, ranchers and growers who are driving the rural economy forward, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, carried out record conservation efforts, made record investments in our rural communities and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people.
Vilsack was the longest-serving member of President Obama's original Cabinet. Prior to his appointment, he served two terms as the Governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate and as the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Vilsack received his bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Albany Law School in New York.
Vilsack has been honored for his public service and work to advance American agriculture by the Congressional Hunger Center, Global Child Nutrition Foundation, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau, and National Farmers Union.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. After graduating from law school, Vilsack moved to Mt. Pleasant Iowa, his wife Christie's hometown, where he practiced law. The Vilsacks have two adult sons and two daughters-in-law-Doug, married to Janet; and Jess, married to Kate. They also have four grandchildren.