USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky will leave the agency and return to the helm of the American Soybean Association this fall, a position in which he previously served for 21 years.

Censky will be joining the farmer-led trade association after the previous CEO who was hired to replace him, Ryan Findlay, was let go after only 28 months on the job. Agri-Pulse chronicled the controversial and complicated steps that led to Findlay’s departure in this article.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue plans to announce later today that Censky will be departing Nov. 8 — after the presidential election — to become ASA’s CEO on Nov. 9. Some sources told Agri-Pulse that Censky will serve in the slot for at least a year while a more formal search continues, but we were not able to confirm that with ASA at this time.

“There is no doubt that I personally, as well as the whole USDA family will miss Steve’s experience, preparedness, and steady leadership. During his tenure as deputy secretary, we accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time even in the face of serious challenges in American agriculture,” Perdue said in a statement obtained by Agri-Pulse .“Steve’s roots are in agriculture and he is one of the best and most professional public servants America has. I join the entire USDA family in wishing Steve and his family all the best as he heads back to ASA in November.”

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Censky was sworn in on Oct. 11, 2017, after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He began his career working as a legislative assistant for Sen. Jim Abdnor, R-S.D. Later he served in both the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations at USDA, eventually serving as Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. He grew up on a soybean, corn, and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minn.

“It has been a true honor to serve my country on behalf of American agriculture," Censky said in the same statement. "These past few years have seen tremendous developments, and I am humbled to have served a role in implementing a Farm Bill, launching the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, supporting America’s farmers against trade retaliation, and now assisting farmers and ranchers and feeding families affected by the coronavirus pandemic,”

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