President George Bush has nominated former North Dakota Governor Edward Schafer to be the 29th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Schafer will replace Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner.

“The secretary of agriculture needs to be someone who understands the challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and consumers,” Bush said. “Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post.”

Bush also promised Schafer would finish work on the pending farm bill.

“With Ed’s leadership, we will work with Congress to pass a farm bill that provides farmers with a safety net, protects our lands and the environment and spends our tax dollars wisely,” Bush said.

For his part, Schafer promised to work closely with USDA employees on agency priorities.

“It will be a great pleasure to join forces with the dedicated, talented and loyal employees of the USDA,” said Schafer, “to enhance our country’s vibrant agricultural economy, to advance renewable energy and protect America’s food supply, improve nutrition and health and conserve our natural resources.”