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  • The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

USDA Secretary Vilsack honored for years of support at Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

Secretary Vilsack

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association honored Tom Vilsack, the U.S. secretary of agriculture, with the “Lifetime Champion of Renewable Fuels” award Jan. 11 at the 2024 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona, Iowa.


“Secretary Vilsack has been an outstanding and unrelenting champion of renewable fuels throughout his career as a state legislator, governor and now USDA secretary,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.


“As a lawyer, he dealt first-hand with families losing the farm during the 1980s Farm Crisis,” Shaw continued. “Knowing that new markets were needed, he was a champion for biofuels as both state legislator and governor. Now, Secretary Vilsack continues to push for innovative new opportunities for farmers across the country, including sustainable aviation fuel. Looking at Secretary Vilsack’s entire career, it is clear he understands not just the economic value of biofuels, but the intrinsic values of hope and confidence in the future they provide for rural America.”


Vilsack received the award for his many years of supporting and advocating for biofuels throughout his distinguished career.


This is only the second time this prestigious honor has been awarded.


The first recipient, Gov. Terry Branstad, received the award in 2017 as he was transitioning from the governor’s office to be the U.S. ambassador to China.


Nominated by President Joe Biden, Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd secretary of agriculture Feb. 23, 2021, by the U.S. Senate.


Vilsack was the longest-serving member of President Barack 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.


He received his bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Albany Law School in New York.


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