WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2017 – President Donald Trump on Friday announced his intent to nominate Greg Ibach, Bill Northey, and Stephen Vaden to key positions at the Department of Agriculture.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded Trump’s picks.

“I look forward to the confirmations of Greg Ibach, Bill Northey, and Stephen Vaden, and urge the Senate to take up their nominations as quickly as possible,” Perdue said. “This is especially important given the challenges USDA will face in helping Texans and Louisianans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.”

Trump tapped Northey, currently serving as Iowa’s Agriculture Secretary as his pick for Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Agri-Pulse was first to report that Northey was the pick for the position in May.

The position has jurisdiction over the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.

Northey is currently serving in his third term as Iowa’s ag secretary, to which he was first elected in 2006. The Iowa State University grad has been farming since 1981 and is a past president of the National Corn Growers Association and NASDA.

Perdue said Northey will “continue his honorable record of public service” in his new role.

Trump selected Ibach for the position of Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. If confirmed, Ibach will serve in the position with jurisdiction over USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Ibach has been Nebraska’s ag director since June of 2005, serving under two different governors over the last 12 years. He was originally appointed to the position by Governor Dave Heineman after serving more than six years in the role of Assistant Director. Governor Pete Ricketts reappointed Ibach to director after his election in 2014. Ibach – the immediate past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture – also spent six years working for Farm Credit Services and operates a cattle and grain operation with his family in Nebraska.

“His exemplary tenure as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture places him squarely in tune with the needs of American agriculture, particularly the cattle industry,” Perdue said. His proven track record of leadership will make him a great asset to USDA’s customers, the hard working, taxpaying people of U.S. agriculture.”

“Having served the people of Iowa for the last ten years as their Secretary of Agriculture, and as a fourth generation corn and soybean farmer, Bill has a unique understanding of issues facing farmers across the nation,” Perdue said. “He will be an invaluable member of the team.”

Finally, Trump selected Stephen Vaden to be USDA’s Chief Counsel. He is a Yale-educated attorney who has been at USDA since Trump’s inauguration, first as a Senior Advisor to the Office of General Counsel and then as Acting General Counsel beginning in March. Vaden also spent time at two D.C. law firms and clerked for two judges.

“Stephen Vaden has a keen legal mind, as we have already experienced through his work since he joined USDA as part of the beachhead team on day one,” Perdue said. “He has a firm grasp of the legal issues facing American agriculture, and very importantly, understands the breadth and complexity of the regulatory burdens placed on our producers. Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers will be well served by his counsel.”

In addition to the nominees announced Friday, the White House has also announced Steve Censky as its nominee for USDA deputy secretary, Ted McKinney as USDA’s first undersecretary for trade and foreign affairs, and Sam Clovis as undersecretary for research, education and economics. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not yet announced dates for consideration of any USDA nominees.


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