Via a statement from the White House yesterday, President Donald Trump announced his intent to fill two key USDA posts: Ted McKinney for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, and Sam Clovis for Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised both selections.
“I have always seed that I want someone who wakes up every morning asking how we can sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets,” Purdue said regarding McKinney. “Ted McKinney is that person. His longstanding background in agriculture, economic development and global issues will make him an unapologetic advocate for U.S. products in the world marketplace.”
Meantime, of Sam Clovis, Perdue noted that he “was one of the first people through the door at USDA in January and has become a trusted advisor and steady hand as we continue to work for the people of agriculture. He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need.”
Clovis, however, has been criticized by the Union of Concerned Scientists and others for his outspoken skepticism over climate change and his overall lack of relevant expertise or experience.
McKinney’s role was newly created as of May 2017. Although it was directed under the 2014 farm bill, the Obama Administration hadn’t created the post. McKinney is touted as having more than 30 years of prior agriculture leadership experience and served as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture under then-governor Mike Pence prior to his current post.
Read more about these and other recently announced Trump Administration posts at the White House website.