President Bush has nominated Mike Johanns, governor of Nebraska, as the new secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, succeeding Ann Veneman.

"Governor Johanns is an experienced public service servant from America's agricultural heartland. As a son of Iowa dairy farmers, he grew up close to the land. He will bring to this position a lifetime of involvement in agriculture, and a long record of a faithful friend to America's farmers and ranchers. He will lead an important agency with the executive skill he has learned as mayor and as a two-term governor of Nebraska," the president said.

Bush also mentioned Johann's support of alternative energy sources, such as ethanol and biodiesel, and his promotion of American farm exports around the world.

Looking ahead, the president said the government would continue with policies that are "pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-farmer" in its new term.

"We'll keep working to open new markets to American grain and beef and cotton and corn. We'll enforce trade laws to make sure other countries play by the rules. We will expand conservation programmes to help farmers, and to protect our soil and water and wildlife," he added.