Bush Picks Ex-Governor to Head the Farm Team

Schafer could overhaul way Agricultural Department does business
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2007 9:25 PM CDT
Agriculture Secretary-designate Edward Schafer speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Edward Schafer has extolled the virtues of smaller government, but he is President Bush’s nominee to head the mammoth Agriculture Department, which employs more than 100,000 people and spends $90 billion a year. If approved by the Senate, the former North Dakota governor would likely be thrust into tense negotiations over a new farm bill, the New York Times reports.

Congress supports the legislation, but Bush hopes to trim the $288 billion that the bill would dole out to farm programs over the next five years. While governor, Schafer said, “Smaller government is every bit as visionary as adding a whole bunch of new programs.” Schafer is the grandson of Danish immigrant farmers, and he gained extensive agricultural experience in farm-heavy North Dakota.