WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2017 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack left office Friday, one week ahead of President Obama. A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said a nominee to succeed Vilsack would be named “some time soon.”

As Agri-Pulse has reported, Vilsack will become president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. 

Vilsack left USDA headquarters for the last time at 11:30 a.m., a spokesman said. Michael Scuse, who has been undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, will be acting secretary.

Vilsack’s post is the sole remaining cabinet position for which Trump hasn’t named a nominee. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that the president-elect “understands the importance” of agriculture and trade “to job creation and economic growth in our country” and is searching for someone who understands “how to implement his agenda to achieve those goals.” 

“I would expect an announcement on that some time soon,” Spicer said. 

Vilsack was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 20, 2009, the same day that President Obama took office, and was sworn in the following day.  

In a farewell email to USDA employees on Friday, Vilsack told employees that their jobs were critical to all Americans. 

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“Your work allows America to have the most productive farmers, ranchers, and producers in the world,” Vilsack wrote. “Your work protects our families from unsafe food and our homes from dangerous forest fires. Your work ensures that struggling families have enough to eat and our school children have more nutritious meals and snacks. Your work protects our soil and water and creates new products in labs and universities that improve our quality of life.”