Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Northey Confirmed Ag Undersecretary for Farm Programs

Washington--The US Senate confirmed Iowa's Bill Northey as USDA’s undersecretary for farm programs. The Senate confirmation came after Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, dropped a hold he had kept on the nomination for the past four months over a  biofuel policy dispute.

Northey, a farmer who has been Iowa’s agriculture secretary since 2007, came as President Trump was scheduled to start an 11 a.m. White House meeting with Cruz and three other Republican senators.

“While this process has taken longer than expected, I remain as excited as ever to work with Secretary Perdue and the staff at USDA to support our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” Northey said in a statement. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the Senate action.

“Northey knows farmers’ and ranchers’ heartfelt commitment to protecting our natural resources,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “He’s walked the same soil we have as a fourth-generation farmer from Iowa and has a proven track record as a strong advocate for agriculture in his role as agriculture secretary in his home state.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., welcomed Northey’s confirmation, which comes as his panel, and the House Agriculture Committee are preparing to write a new farm bill.

“I have no doubt he will be a champion for farmers and ranchers at USDA. Our committee worked in a bipartisan fashion to get Mr. Northey down the road to work at USDA,” Roberts said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded Northey’s confirmation, saying his he’s joining USDA at a “crucial time.”

“His knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new farm bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers," Perdue said in a statement.

“In addition, his leadership will be key in the newly-constituted mission area, where the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency will be providing an even better customer experience. I am excited to finally have Bill on board.”

Further action by Congress will be needed to allow Northey to have the title Perdue envisions: "undersecretary for farm production and conservation programs," said a spokeswoman for the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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