Image courtesy of The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association honored secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with the “Lifetime Champion of Renewable Fuels” award at the 2024 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona, Iowa.

“Secretary Vilsack has been an outstanding and unrelenting champion of renewable fuels throughout his career as a state legislator, governor and now USDA secretary,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw. “As a lawyer, he dealt first-hand with families losing the farm during the 1980s Farm Crisis. Knowing that new markets were needed, he was a champion for biofuels as both state legislator and governor. Now, secretary Vilsack continues to push for innovative new opportunities for farmers across the country, including sustainable aviation fuel. Looking at secretary Vilsack’s entire career, it is clear he understands not just the economic value of biofuels, but the intrinsic values of hope and confidence in the future they provide for rural America.”

Vilsack received the Lifetime Champion of Renewable Fuels award for his many years of supporting and advocating for biofuels throughout his distinguished career. This is only the second time this prestigious honor has been awarded. The first recipient, governor Terry Branstad, received the award in 2017 as he was transitioning from the governors office to be the U.S. ambassador to China.

Nominated by president Joe Biden, secretary Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd United States secretary of agriculture on Feb. 23, 2021 by the U.S. Senate. Vilsack was the longest-serving member of president Barack Obama’s original Cabinet. Prior to his appointment, he served two terms as the governor of Iowa, served in the Iowa State Senate and as the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Albany Law School in New York.