US agricultural secretary Johanns resigns
US agricultural secretary Mike Johanns (photo) has
resigned from his position, president Bush announced on Thursday. Deputy
agriculture secretary Charles Conner will take over as acting secretary.
Johanns is expected to return home to run for the Senate seat being vacated
next year by the Republican senator Chuck Hagel hagel.senate.gov/ from the state
became the 28th secretary of agriculture on
January 21, 2005. He was born in Iowa as the son of a dairy farmer. Prior to
taking up the job at the USDA, he was governor of the state of Nebraska.
Focus and energy
Johanns 'brought focus and energy to the department,' president Bush said.
"He was a champion of renewable fuels. He expanded the department's
commitment to conservation. He worked endlessly to open up foreign markets for
American beef. He provided timely assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated
by natural disasters. I couldn't have asked for a better secretary of
In his resignation letter, Johanns wrote that growing up, he never dreamed
of becoming agriculture secretary. "For a farm boy from Iowa, this truly has
been an opportunity of a lifetime."
The new agriculture secretary, Charles Conner
, was on the National Economic Council as a
special assistant to the president for agricultural trade and food assistance,
prior to joining the USDA.
He also was president of the Corn Refiners Association, and held several
staff positions with the senate committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and
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