The vote was 92-7.
Vilsack, 70, will now be tasked with helping farmers plagued by former President Donald Trump’s trade wars and the coronavirus epidemic, which has sickened thousands of workers in meat packing plants and deepened the challenges of hunger and food insecurity.
During his confirmatory hearing earlier this month, Vilsack made it clear that the challenges facing the Department of Agriculture are different from those of 12 years ago.
“The world and our nation today is different than when I served as Secretary of Agriculture in a previous administration,” Vilsack said. “Today, pandemics, racial justice, justice and climate change must be our top priorities.”
Biden called, “The best agricultural secretary, I think this country has ever had.”
Vilsack is urged to meet the needs of rural communities who have overwhelmingly supported Trump over Biden and are worried that Democrats will adopt new rules.
Vermont’s independent senator Bernie Sanders has joined six Republicans to vote against the nomination.
“I think we need a little stronger in protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture,” Sanders told reporters. “I think he’ll be fine, but he’s not as strong as I’d like.”
In 1998, Vilsack became the first Democrat elected Iowa governor in more than 30 years. From 1999 to 2007, he served as governor and was president of the Union of Democratic Governors for a year. In 2009, the Senate unanimously confirmed Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture.
After his resignation in 2017, Vilsack became chairman and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Last year, he won the $ 150,000 Powerball Prize in the Iowa Lottery.
This story was updated on Tuesday with further enhancements.
CNNs Ted Barrett, Arlette Saenz and Kate Sullivan contributed to the report.