Ag Policy Blog

Iowa, Nebraska Ag Secretaries Plucked for USDA Under Secretary Posts

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the President Donald J. Trump's selection of 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.

The under secretary for MRP oversees three USDA agencies: the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the Agricultural Marketing Service; and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration. The under secretary for FPAC oversees three critical USDA agencies: the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.

"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."

The appointments add to a busy fall for the Senate Agriculture Committee to hold hearings and Senate confirmation of additional leaders at USDA. Trump had nominated other USDA sub-cabinet positions in late July just before Congress began its break.

Ibach has been director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture since 2005. He is also the immediate past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

"Greg Ibach will bring the experience and vision necessary to serve as a first rate under secretary for MRP at USDA," Perdue said. "His exemplary tenure as Nebraska's Director of Agriculture places him squarely in tune with the needs of American agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. 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."

Northey is a fourth generation farmer from Spirit Lake, Iowa and is currently serving his third term as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Northey was also president of the National Corn Growers Association from 1995 to 1996.

"Bill Northey will continue his honorable record of public service in leading FPAC. Having served the people of Iowa for the last 10 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. He will be an invaluable member of the team," Perdue stated.

Vaden, a Tennessee native, has practiced law at the Washington, D.C. firms of Patton Boggs and Jones Day.

"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. 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," Perdue said in the announcement.

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