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Agricultural News

The Ag Community Cheers the Confirmation Vote of Bill Northey to Serve at USDA

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 15:47:35 CST

The Ag Community Cheers the Confirmation Vote of Bill Northey to Serve at USDA For whatever reason, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas released his hold on the nomination of Bill Northey to be confirmed for a position within the USDA. The announcement that a vote was being held came as President Trump welcomed Cruz and several other Senators to the White House to discuss the Renewable Fuel Standard. The release happened ahead of the meeting- and word came from the meeting by Senator Chuck Grassley that no deals were made in that meeting- so you have to wonder- was the price of getting a face to face meeting with President Trump by Senator Cruz to end his hold on Northey?

The bottom line is that the hold is now history- and the Senate wasted absolutely no time in confirming the Secretary of Agriculture from Iowa to be the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricutural Service. While that is the job that he was confirmed for earlier today- USDA did note that his actual job will be different- saying "As part of a reorganization of USDA, Secretary Perdue has created, the President appointed, and the Senate confirmed a new Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, as directed by the 2014 Farm Bill. The creation of the new mission area prompted the realignment of several agencies under a newly-named Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), the position for which Northey is intended. FPAC will encompass the USDA’s domestic-facing agencies: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency."

Lots of statements were issued about the Northey vote- here are several from Secretary of Ag Perdue to Senate Ag Leadership to farm groups:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

“I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA. We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation. Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers. 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.”


U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today is pleased to announce that William Northey was approved by the U.S. Senate.

Upon swearing in, William Northey, of Iowa, will serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“I’m pleased the Senate advanced Mr. Northey’s nomination. 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.


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate confirmation of Bill Northey to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

“While his confirmation is long overdue, I am pleased that Mr. Northey can finally serve our farmers and ranchers at USDA. I strongly supported Mr. Northey’s nomination and I look forward to working with him to strengthen American agriculture.”


Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“With the confirmation today of Bill Northey as USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation, America’s farmers and ranchers have another ally in our work to ensure the sustainability of the agriculture industry for our families, for consumers and for generations to come.

“Under Secretary Northey knows farmers’ and ranchers’ heartfelt commitment to protecting our natural resources. 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. Under his leadership, Iowa has become a national leader in conservation, and we know Under Secretary Northey will bring the same innovation and farm-grown work ethic to helping farmers across the country fulfill our commitment to conservation.

“We are also confident he will be a key member of Secretary Perdue’s team working with the House and Senate Agriculture committees on the next farm bill, and have no doubt he is ready to hit the ground running in his new role.”


American Soybean Association President John Heisdorffer, a farmer from Keota, Iowa, issued the organization's congratulations via statement from the 2018 Commodity Classic in California.

"All of us at ASA are very happy for Bill. As an Iowa farmer, I've been fortunate to work collaboratively with him to move Iowa agriculture forward, and I'm excited to see him take his skills to USDA so that farmers can benefit nationwide.

"We'd like to thank the Senate for moving Bill's nomination forward. Specifically, Senators Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar have been instrumental in not only gathering support for the nomination, but also working to move past those issues that have delayed his confirmation to date.

"USDA impacts not just farmers but all Americans on so many different levels, but we can't realize those impacts without good people like Bill in the right spots. As Under Secretary, Bill will be a great advocate for U.S. Soybean farmers and we look forward to working with him in this capacity."


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement applauding the confirmation of Bill Northey as a U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary.

“We are thrilled Mr. Northey is approved; he will be a fantastic addition to the USDA. Having served as the Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa, Mr. Northey has first-hand knowledge and experience regarding how the integration of biofuels into both domestic and international fuel markets has positively impacted the farming economy in America.”


Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see Bill Northey finally confirmed by the Senate. This is long overdue. Bill is eminently qualified to help our nation’s farmers, but unfortunately his nomination fell victim to political games. There is no better champion for farmers than Bill Northey. He is the right man for the job and will be an enormous asset to USDA Secretary Perdue.”

“We would also like to express our gratitude to Senators Grassley, Ernst, Stabenow, Klobuchar and other champions in Congress for their persistence to ensure the hold on Bill’s nomination was lifted.

“In 30 years advocating for ethanol, I have met and worked with hundreds of state AG secretaries. I can tell you without question or hyperbole that Bill has been the hardest working, most knowledgeable, and most committed to farmers of anyone I have ever known. He will now bring that passion and expertise to farmers all across the country. Congratulations to Bill and we look forward to working with him on behalf of rural America.”


National Pork Producers President Ken Maschhoff:

“Secretary Northey will be great asset at USDA for U.S. agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “Farmers and ranchers couldn’t ask for a better person to lead this important USDA department.”

Before heading the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Northey served as president of the National Corn Growers Association and on Iowa’s USDA Farm Service Agency state committee. He also was a Dickinson County (Iowa) Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner.

In his job at USDA, Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. Programs within those departments include crop insurance, conservation, disaster assistance and producer lending services.

“The secretary is a farmer and has been a great leader for Iowa agriculture over the past 11 years,” Maschhoff said. “He’s coming to USDA at a critical time, with Congress getting down to work on the next Farm Bill, which the livestock industry wants to include a vaccine bank to address a Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak."



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