Ag Policy Blog

USDA Acting Secretary and Candidates for Deputy Secretary

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Michael Young, the director of the Agriculture Department's Office of Budget and Program Analysis, became the acting Agriculture secretary on Friday at noon when President Barack Obama and Michael Scuse, who had been the acting secretary, left office, sources at the unofficial agricultural inaugural ball in honor of President Donald Trump told DTN late Friday evening.

Young is expected to serve until the Senate confirms an Agriculture secretary. It is traditional for a high-ranking civil servant to serve as secretary in the absence of political leadership.

Trump's nominee for Agriculture secretary, former Georgia Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, made an appearance at the ball, but said only that the Trump team and everyone in the room would "make America great again."

But sources at the ball named three candidates for Agriculture deputy secretary:

-- Charles Herbster, the Nebraska businessman and cattle producer who has headed Trump's agricultural advisory committee

-- A.G. Kawamura, a former California Agriculture secretary who has also served on Trump's agricultural advisory committee

-- Ted McKinney, a former agribusiness executive who was Indiana agriculture director when Vice President Mike Pence was governor of Indiana.

Kip Tom, an Indiana farmer, is considered a candidate for White House agricultural liaison.

Young has been director of the USDA Office of Budget and Policy Analysis since October 2010.

He has more than 25 years of experience in OBPA, previously having served as the associate director from January 2006 until his appointment as director.

Earlier, he served as chief of the Budget Control and Analysis Division of OBPA. In that position, Young was responsible for managing the review of USDA agency budgets during formulation and execution of the budget.

He has also been program analyst for Research, Education and Extension programs and budget analyst for Food and Nutrition.

Earlier in his career, Young held budget and program analyst positions at the Commerce and Veterans Affairs departments.

Young holds a bachelor of science degree in botany from Colorado State University and a master of business administration degree from George Washington University.

-- Jerry Hagstrom, DTN Political Correspondent

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