President Clinton on Wednesday named Dan Glickman as his new secretary of agriculture, citing the lame-duck Kansas congressman's familiarity with farm issues.

"His knowledge, experience and understanding of the needs of the American farmer make him exactly the right person to become secretary of Agriculture when we write the farm bill in 1995," Clinton said at the Rose Garden ceremony.Glickman would replace Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, who resigned under an ethical cloud.

Glickman called his challenge daunting but promised that farm programs will undergo close scrutiny. "Agriculture is not and should not be immune to change," he said. He promised farm policies that "provide a stable and secure supply of food at reasonable prices."

Glickman lost the House seat he held for nine terms to a Republican who capitalized on Clinton's unpopularity. Glickman had sought the job two years ago when Espy, a fellow congressman, was chosen.

Espy, who joined his successor at the announcement, resigned in October, effective Saturday, after an independent prosecutor began examining gifts the Cabinet member received from individuals and firms doing business with the Agriculture Department.

Clinton heaped praise on Espy. "He did a superb job," Clinton said.

The president, who is chronically slow at filling personnel vacancies, will wait until the New Year to fill several open positions, including press secretary and surgeon general.

Glickman's selection comes at a time of retrenchment at the Agriculture Department: The sprawling bureaucracy is being forced to trim its staff by 11,000, reduce spending by up to $3.5 billion and close nearly 1,100 of its 3,600 county offices.

As an 18-year congressman with three farm bills behind him, Glickman brings valuable experience as Congress goes about writing the five-year farm legislation in 1995.

Glickman, 50, edged out Deputy Secretary Richard E. Rominger and Rep. E. "Kika" de la Garza, D-Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, for the Cabinet job.

Glickman said he hoped Rominger would stay in the job, and thanked de la Garza for his leadership. Glickman also praised the incoming chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, fellow Kansan Pat Roberts.

Glickman parted company with Clinton by voting against the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the new world trade pact the administration says will boost U.S. farm exports.

He also blamed the president's low popularity for his surprise election defeat. Republican state Sen. Todd Tiahrt, running ads tying Glickman to Clinton, beat the better-financed incumbent.

"The anti-Washington mood is strong," Glickman said after the election. "Clinton was relatively unpopular."

But his candidacy received a boost from White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, a former congressman and friend of Glickman.

The selection makes Kansas a political center of agriculture; incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is also from the Farm Belt state.