Senate confirms Northey by unanimous consent
The Senate last week confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey to be the Agriculture undersecretary for farm production and conservation.
The confirmation means that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, quietly lifted his hold on Northey as Trump planned to meet with senators to discuss a resolution to Cruz’s objections to the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said in a statement, “I’m pleased the senate advanced Mr. Northey’s nomination. I have no doubt he will be a champion for farmers and ranchers at USDA. Our committee worked in a bipartisan fashion to get Mr. Northey down the road to work at USDA.”
The Renewable Fuels Association immediately praised the confirmation and thanked the senators its leaders considered key to the senate approving the nomination after Cruz’s four-month hold.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said, “We are pleased to see Bill Northey finally confirmed by the senate. This is long overdue. Bill is eminently qualified to help our nation’s farmers, but unfortunately his nomination fell victim to political games. There is no better champion for farmers than Bill Northey. He is the right man for the job and will be an enormous asset to USDA Secretary (Sonny) Perdue.”
Dinneen expressed gratitude to Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, “and other champions in congress for their persistence to ensure the hold on Bill’s nomination was lifted.”
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “We are thrilled Mr. Northey is approved; he will be a fantastic addition to the USDA. Having served as the secretary of agriculture for Iowa, Mr. Northey has first-hand knowledge and experience regarding how the integration of biofuels into both domestic and international fuel markets has positively impacted the farming economy in America.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the senate’s long-awaited confirmation of Bill Northey to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA. We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation. Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new farm bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers. In addition, his leadership will be key in the newly constituted mission area, where the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency will be providing an even better customer experience. I am excited to finally have Bill on board.”
*NOTE: As part of a reorganization of USDA, Secretary Perdue has created, the president appointed, and the senate confirmed a new Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, as directed by the 2014 farm bill. The creation of the new mission area prompted the realignment of several agencies under a newly named Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, the position for which Northey is intended. FPAC will encompass the USDA’s domestic-facing agencies: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. ❖