FACTBOX: Vilsack, Buis and Stenholm among USDA possibles

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 5, 2008 9:31am EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prominently mentioned by analysts and farm lobbyists for agriculture secretary in the Obama administration are a former Iowa governor, the National Farmers Union president and a former Texas congressman.

Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said on Wednesday the president-elect would "move with deliberate speed" on selecting nominees for cabinet and major White House posts.

Here is a list of potential nominees for agriculture secretary:

-- Tom Buis, 56, second-term president of National Farmers Union. Buis has elevated NFU's prominence in Washington and is former Senate aide to Tom Daschle, an Obama insider.

-- Tom Vilsack, 57, two-term governor of Iowa ending in 2006. Major issues were funding for education and bringing more high-tech agribusinesses to Iowa, the No. 1 corn and soybean state.

-- Charles Stenholm, 70, mentioned for USDA chief for two decades, regardless of who won the White House. A 13-term congressman from Texas through 2004 and a conservative "Blue Dog" Democrat who helped shape the 1990 and 2002 farm laws.

-- Marshall Matz, co-chair of Obama's rural outreach committee and lawyer known in Washington for representing school nutrition interests. Active in Democratic politics since the 1970s. Matz and Stenholm work at the same law firm.

-- Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, 60, elected to second term in 2006. Also mentioned for health and education secretary. She has worked on school funding, health care and renewable energy.

-- South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, elected to fourth term on Tuesday. Active on biofuels.

-- Roger Johnson, North Dakota agriculture commissioner, active on 2008 U.S. farm law, sought a stand-by disaster relief fund.

-- Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin agriculture secretary. Was leader of the state's largest cooperative business group and active in rural economic development.

-- First-term Sen. John Tester, organic farmer from Montana; regarded as a longshot.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by Walter Bagley)

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