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Northey Starts Work at USDA
After a four-month wait, Bill Northey starts his USDA work Wednesday after being sworn in by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a ceremony of statewide agricultural leaders in Des Moines, Iowa.
Northey, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, starts his new role as the Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) at USDA, which oversees the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency – key functions with production farmers across the U.S.
“After months of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally have Bill on board at USDA,” Perdue said. “The patience he displayed throughout this process is an indicator of what kind of steady leader he will be on our team, and we are eager for him to get to work.” Northey’s nomination – passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate – was held up by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) over issues between the biofuels and oil industries.
Perdue said the “four months have been painful. I know they were for me and for Bill.” But he used terms such as “solid,” “classy,” and “authentic” to describe Northey, who served as Iowa secretary of agriculture for more than a decade. “Bill comes to us at an important time, as farm incomes are down and expected to fall further. Additionally, with work on the 2018 farm bill already under way, Bill will play an integral role in the advice we offer to Congress.”
Northey admitted he was leaving “the best job in the world. This is more than a job; it’s a passion,” he said.
The USDA mission is currently named the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS). USDA is working with Congress to formally change the name to Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC).
RFS ALL THE WAY
Perdue also told the Iowa crowd he was unwavering in his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard. “Bill Northey, Sonny Perdue, and Donald J. Trump stand for the RFS,” he said, reiterating statements Perdue made March 1 in Anaheim at the 2018 Commodity Classic. He pledged that the USDA won’t do anything to diminish the demand for biofuels and increasing availability of E15 year-round.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Mike Naig as the new secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.