Written by Beth Grabau, Public Affairs Specialist, Iowa State FSA
The Woodbury and Monona Count Farm Service Agency Service Centers in Iowa welcomed an unexpected guest on Tuesday as Christie Vilsack — wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — stopped by for a visit.
“It was a real privilege to meet with her,” said Woodbury County Executive Director Bryan Stocking.
While there, Vilsack dropped off food and a poster for the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families program and spoke candidly with employees about issues she and her family has encountered while operating their farm. She also discussed the Secretary’s initiative to hire more women and minorities and improve the computer system through the MIDAS project.
Although a large supporter of rural America, she shared stories of her trips to the nation’s capital and her experience of watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the rooftop of the USDA headquarters. When asked if she had ever flown in Air Force One she responded “no, but my husband has.” A quieter response was given when asked if she would run for a political office.
“The Vilsack’s are Iowa landowners and Christie can relate with the same small town farming as the county office staff,” said Monona County Executive Director Angela Christian. “She is enthusiastic, sincere and extremely knowledgeable.”
Staff members gave an overview of several farm programs and highlighted initiatives and issues affecting Iowa farmers such as the loss of honey bees, foreign relationships developed with Japan and Russia and the People’s Garden initiative.
Despite the thrill of the unexpected guest, Iowa FSA staff felt something was missing.
“We told her to bring her husband with her next time,” said Stocking. “She said he would love to come, but he keeps incredibly busy with his job.”