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Senate Confirms Censky and McKinney as Senior USDA Executives
One day after a committee cleared their nominations, the Senate confirmed by voice vote Steve Censky as deputy agriculture secretary and Ted McKinney as undersecretary for trade, the first Trump appointees to reach USDA since April. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the new members of his executive team and urged the Senate to act on other USDA nominees.
The Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on Bill Northey, nominated for undersecretary for farm production and conservation, and Gregory Ibach, nominated for undersecretary for regulation and marketing. Senate Democrats have threatened an all-out fight on the remaining Trump nominee for agriculture undersecretary, Sam Clovis, who also would serve as chief scientist without a pedigree in ag research or education.
“Steve Censky will help us be responsive to producers reeling from the effects of multiple hurricanes and also offer prudent counsel as Congress continues work on the 2018 farm bill,” said Perdue. “Ted McKinney will take charge of the newly created mission area focused on trade.”
Perdue had a historically late start to his tenure at USDA, 13 weeks after President Trump took office. Perdue has an executive team of the deputy secretary and seven undersecretaries to run USDA programs. The White House has yet to announce nominees for the undersecretary of food safety, public nutrition, and national forests.
“Secretary Perdue, help is on the way,” said Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, crediting bipartisan support for the swift Senate vote.