If confirmed by the Senate, Schafer would replace former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who stepped down last month to run for a Senate seat in Nebraska, where he once served as governor.
Schafer served as governor of North Dakota from 1992 to 2000, the first Republican elected to a second term in the state's history.
A supporter of biotechnology, Schafer was co-founder and co-chair of the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, established in 2000. This partnership was founded to increase public understanding and support for the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.
Schafer directed state response to eight statewide disasters, including the historic flooding and fire in Grand Forks in 1997, which led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of North Dakota residents.
He oversaw the initial development of North Dakota's biofuel industries and led in developing value-added products for the state's agricultural industry. These efforts helped provide economic security for farmers by creating opportunities beyond working solely as producers, the White House explained.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, had a positive reaction to the nominee, saying, 'I look forward to working with him and to learning his views on the new farm bill that we have just reported out of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry with overwhelming support.'