President Trump earlier this month nominated Gregory Ibach as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP), Bill Northey as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), and Stephen Vaden as USDA’s General Counsel at USDA.
Agricultural groups have been weighing in on the announcement. Here’s what they’re saying:
The American Soybean Association (ASA) announced its support for the nominations of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach to serve the USDA.
"Bill has been an exceptional public servant for Iowa farmers and we have no doubt that he will continue in this role on behalf of all American farmers at USDA," said ASA Vice President and Keota, Iowa, farmer John Heisdorffer. "Bill has always been both an open book and an open door to farmers. His accessibility and transparency as an advocate for farmers is something that will make him an excellent member of the team at USDA."
ASA Director Ken Boswell, who farms in Shickley, Neb., gave similar praise to Ibach. "Greg is a person that understands very well how different agricultural issues connect -- how row crop farmers rely on the livestock industry and how everyone in agriculture depends on consumers, both at home and abroad. That understanding will serve him and all of us very well."
In addition to supporting Northey and Ibach, ASA urged the Senate Agriculture Committee to take up both nominations, along with that of Stephen Vaden as USDA General Counsel, as soon as possible.
"It's no secret that farm country has serious needs that require immediate solutions, be they the dire situation facing producers in Texas following Hurricane Harvey , or the continuing pressure from low crop prices and farm income," said ASA President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore. "We hope that the Senate will take up and quickly confirm these nominations to help bring USDA to the staffing level it needs to be successful and effective."
The National Corn Growers Association asked for speedy confirmation of Northey.
“Bill Northey is a longtime friend of NCGA and a passionate advocate for farmers. We congratulate him on this well-deserved appointment, and we urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. “His roots in production agriculture run deep. He will give farmers and ranchers a senior-level voice on important issues such as risk management and conservation programs, especially as we craft the next farm bill.”
Northey is a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in a variety of agricultural groups, including serving as President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association from 1991-92 and President and Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association from 1995-97. In his three terms as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, he has promoted science- and technology-based solutions to better conserve soil, water, and air, and helped to expand the state’s ethanol infrastructure.
If confirmed, Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Source: ASA, NCGA