Although the scientific community and Democratic members of Congress have questioned the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the next USDA undersecretary of research, education and economics, a number of agriculture interest groups on Friday called for his swift nomination to the post, in a letter to Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Roberts is the chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and Stabenow is the ranking member on the committee. Stabenow last week expressed concern about the Clovis nomination.
"As you know, we are strong proponents of our premier agriculture research and education system in this country," the letter said.
"It is the backbone for the productivity on our farms and ranches across the country. We believe Dr. Clovis shares this passion and will work with you and interested stakeholders to maintain and improve this great American heritage.
"Some have suggested that Dr. Clovis is not qualified for this position due to his lack of hands-on science and research experience. We do not share this point of view. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already employs some of the finest and most dedicated scientists in the world. They do not need a peer. They need someone to champion their work before the administration, the Congress, and all consumers around the world.
"Dr. Clovis is dedicated to preserving and improving this remarkable system. Most importantly, he is dedicated to making sure that the world's best-available science is being used by all government agencies to determine appropriate regulatory and policy decisions."
The letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Barley Growers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grange, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Potato Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, Southwest Council of Agri-Business, United Egg Producers, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, U.S. Apple Association, USA Rice Federation, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dry Bean Association and the Western Growers Association.
When his nomination was announced, the Union of Concerned Scientists immediately expressed opposition because of Clovis' lack of scientific background. In addition, the Consumers Union, http://bit.ly/…, raised questions about the nominee's background.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN
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