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Biden nominates two for USDA undersecretary posts

President Biden selected two veterans of U.S. agriculture and nutrition policy for sub-cabinet positions at the Agriculture Department. Stacy Dean was nominated to serve as undersecretary for nutrition and Alexis Taylor to be undersecretary for trade, announced the White House. Dean has been the senior official overseeing USDA nutrition programs since Biden took office and Taylor has been Oregon’s agriculture director since December 2016.

The nominations, which require Senate approval, would fill two of the four vacancies for undersecretary at USDA. The department has eight undersecretary posts and each oversees a part of USDA’s broad portfolio, from farm subsidies and agricultural research to the national forests and rural economic development.

Ag groups applauded the selection of Taylor, who was a USDA senior official during the Obama era, including 10 months when she was in charge of the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services division. The Iowa native worked on Capitol Hill and served on year in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

“I’m a purpose-driven agri-food industry executive with a career built around setting vision, driving strategy, and leading teams in implementing programs, plans, and policies that promote the safety, security, sustainability, and viability of the agricultural and food sectors,” said Taylor in her LinkedIn profile.

Now the Agriculture deputy undersecretary for nutrition, Dean headed the food assistance team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities before joining USDA in early 2021. She worked as a budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget, specializing in income support programs.

“Since taking on the role of deputy under secretary, Stacy has sought to increase nutrition assistance for struggling Americans and tackle barriers that have been long engrained into assistance programs,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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