Censky Returns to Lead Soybean Growers

Stephen Censky to Head American Soybean Association for Second Time

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky is returning to the American Soybean Association to be the organization's chief executive officer. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky has been rehired as the chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, replacing Ryan Findlay who stepped down in June.

Censky's nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October 2017, after he served as CEO at the American Soybean Association for 21 years. According to a USDA news release Censky will start his new position on Nov. 9.

"There is no doubt that I personally, as well as the whole USDA family, will miss Steve's experience, preparedness and steady leadership," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

"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. Steve's roots are in agriculture and he is one of the best and most professional public servants America has. His wise counsel helped us make USDA the most efficient, effective, customer-focused department in the entire federal government and I am forever grateful for his invaluable guidance and input."

Censky began his career as a legislative assistant for Sen. Jim Abdnor, R-S.D., and served in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations at USDA. He was sworn in to his USDA position on Oct. 11, 2017, after unanimous confirmation by the Senate.

Censky served as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service where he was involved in running export programs. He grew up on a soybean, corn and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minnesota.

"It has been a true honor to serve my country on behalf of American agriculture," Censky said in a 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."

When Findlay left ASA, the group's Chief Financial Officer, Brian Vaught, stepped in as the interim CEO.

Findlay held the position for about two years after Censky moved on to USDA.

Findlay previously worked for ASA on farm policy and held positions at the Michigan Farm Bureau and Syngenta. In addition, Findlay was a staff employee in the Michigan Legislature.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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Todd Neeley