Washington Post Live and The Rockefeller Foundation are bringing together prominent leaders to discuss how to build a more sustainable and healthy food system that prioritizes the science of nutrition and reduces food waste.
Join Washington Post Live on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Mike Johanns, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (2005-2007)
Mike Johanns has a unique background acquired through more than 30 years of service at virtually every level of government, in both the legislative and executive branches. Recognized worldwide as a leader in agriculture and development, he has successfully led large and complex organizations. His bipartisan approach has earned the respect of colleagues and constituents across the political spectrum. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, Johanns served in the 111th-113th Congresses as a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Agriculture, Banking, Commerce, Environment & Public Works, Indian Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs (varied by Congress).As the 28th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Johanns directed 18 agencies employing 90,000 staff worldwide and managed a $93 billion budget. He opened or expanded access to 40 international markets and accomplished agricultural breakthroughs as a member of the U.S. negotiating team for the Doha Development Round. He conducted 32 international trips to advance trade, aid, food safety and as a representative of the President of the United States. Domestically, Johanns promoted the growth of the renewable fuels industry and advanced cooperative conservation. He guided the country through challenges relating to bird flu, BSE, TB and drought. An unprecedented achievement was the development of a complete farm bill proposal based on 50 nationwide listening sessions, half of which he personally hosted. His proposal became the foundation for improvements and reforms adopted in the 2008 farm bill. Johanns currently serves on the Board of Directors for Deere & Co and Corteva Agriscience. He also serves on the Board of Managers for Burlington Capital and OSI Group. In 2016, he was appointed by the President and Senate-confirmed to serve a term on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board and was reappointed and reconfirmed in 2019. He also serves as Chairman of Agriculture for alliantgroup – Houston, TX.
Tom Vilsack, President & CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council
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. Vilsack joined USDEC in January 2017 after serving eight years as the nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture, where he worked to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the innovation of rural America. 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. Secretary Vilsack has been a proud member of the Iowa Bar Association since 1975 after graduating from Hamilton College and Albany Law School. He is a proud husband to his wife of 46 years, and father of two sons. He is fortunate to have 2 daughters-in-law and 5 grandchildren.