The Agricultural Science Association (ASA) has announced that US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address at its annual conference this year.

Vilsack served as Secretary for Agriculture under President Barack Obama from 2009-2017 before being nominated again for the role in February of this year by President Joe Biden.

He was the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original cabinet. Secretary Vilsack is a vastly experienced politician who prior to his cabinet role served as governor of Iowa, a state in the heart of the US corn belt with a strong agricultural-based economy.

He was also a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination ahead of the 2008 presidential election.

Between his terms as Secretary for Agriculture, he served as president and CEO of the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) from 2017 until February 2021.

Regarding confirmation of such a high profile speaker, Dr. Anne Marie Butler, ASA President said: “We are honoured to have Secretary Vilsack join us to give an overview of the role science is playing in US agricultural policy and the impact of climate change on the industry.

"His insights will offer an important global perspective to help to inform the discussion and debate on the day which we warmly welcome. We greatly look forward to his contribution.”


This year’s ASA conference theme is Science: Driving Innovation & Addressing Challenges in Agri-Food, sponsored by FBD Insurance, will explore the important role that science has to play in the future of the industry.

It will be live streamed from the Killashee Hotel in Naas on Friday 10 September and anyone looking to attend can register here.