Agriculture Secretary Perdue swears in Censky, McKinney

The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue swore in Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky and Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney on Oct. 10.

In brief remarks, Perdue said Censky’s job “primarily deals with operations and the innards of USDA.”

Censky said he enters the job facing the devastation caused by the hurricanes and forest fires and helping Congress write the next farm bill. Censky said he was pleased President Donald Trump early in his term signed the executive order establishing an interagency task force on agriculture.

McKinney said he is humbled to be the first stand-alone undersecretary for trade.

When he studied at Purdue, McKinney said, one of his professors was Don Paarlberg, who was involved in writing P.L. 480, the U.S. food aid program. From that experience, McKinney said, he learned “having something to eat is very important.”

During his career of more than 20 years in plant science, McKinney said he learned the importance of conventional, organic and natural agriculture, and on the farm he learned about animal science.

McKinney said he realizes he comes into office in a period of low commodity prices and one of the answers is trade. Protein demand around the world is rising, he added.

McKinney said his motto will be: “You grow it, we’ll help sell it.”

Perdue said he is pleased that McKinney would wake up with the only thing “solely on his mind (is): Where can he sell more?”

Both McKinney and Censky said they would follow Perdue’s motto: “Do right. Feed everyone.”