Important USDA Positions Reportedly Set

May 12, 2017 12:19 PM
Sonny Perdue

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the announcement of a reorganization of the USDA and the creation of a new position: undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

On AgriTalk, Jim Wiesemeyer, senior vice president of policy and trade issues for Informa Economics Inc., said “you can almost go to the bank” on three of the people to fill key positions at the USDA.

  • Deputy Undersecretary: Steve Censky, a South Dakota farmer and current CEO of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He worked at the USDA under the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations.
  • Undersecretary for the new Farm Production and Conservation: Bill Northey, Iowa’s agriculture commissioner. The position includes overseeing the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs: Ted McKinney, Indiana’s state agriculture director. He is close to Vice President Mike Pence and is a former director of global corporate affairs for Elanco Animal Health.

According to Wiesemeyer, other top USDA spots are close to being finalized. Sam Clovis, agricultural advisor to President Trump during the campaign, is being eyed as Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

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Spell Check

Jeff Thomas
Macomb, IL
5/15/2017 11:51 AM

  American agricultural competitiveness depends a lot on having the best scientific research to support it. The USDA Chief Scientist needs deep knowledge to anticipate the industry's needs decades into the future and how to make the strategic investments in research that will be of greatest benefit. Members of the industry need to insist that someone who is really terrific at those things is appointed.


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