USDA memo lists acting heads of subcabinet agencies |

USDA memo lists acting heads of subcabinet agencies

Sam Clovis

The Agriculture Department Office of Communications on Jan. 28 released a list of civil servants former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack chose to act as the heads of subcabinet agencies when Obama administration personnel left. The memo notes that these people will be in position until someone else is appointed to take up the post.

The heads of mission are undersecretaries who require Senate confirmation, but the heads of divisions within those agencies do not.

The memo does not mention an acting secretary or acting deputy secretary, but notes that Michael Young, the head of USDA’s budget office, is the head of the department and using the title “acting deputy secretary.”

Heads of the mission areas are also using the title “acting deputy undersecretary” rather than “acting undersecretary.” The appointees may hold these positions for months since Sonny Perdue, the former Republican governor of Georgia announced as President Donald Trump’s nominee for agriculture secretary, is being vetted and is not expected to have a Senate Agriculture Committee confirmation hearing until mid to late February.

Sam Clovis, the Iowa college professor who is a former Trump campaign co-chair, is listed as “senior White House adviser for USDA.”

Previous administrations have had a White House liaison to the Agriculture Department and also had agricultural staff on the White House Domestic Policy Council, but it is unclear if that title means that Clovis is likely to hold that job. Sources close to the administration have told The Hagstrom Report that Kip Thomas, an Indiana farmer, is in line for White House liaison.

Here is a list of the personnel and the divisions they head:

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Jason Hafemeister

▪ Farm Service Agency — Acting Administrator Chris Beyerhelm

▪ Foreign Agricultural Service — Acting Administrator Holly Higgins

▪ Risk Management Agency — Acting Administrator Heather Manzano

Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Yvette Jackson

▪ Food and Nutrition Service — Acting Administrator Jessica Shabin

▪ Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion — Acting Director Jackie Haven

Food Safety

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Al Almanza

Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Kevin Shea

▪ Agricultural Marketing Service — Acting Administrator Bruce Summers

▪ Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration — Acting Administrator Randall Jones

Natural Resources and Environment

Acting Deputy Undersecretary Don Jiron

▪ Natural Resources Conservation Service — Acting Chief Leonard Jordan

Research, Education and Economics

Acting Undersecretary Ann Bartuska

Rural Development

Acting Undersecretary Roger Glendenning

▪ Rural Business-Cooperative Service — Acting Administrator Chad Parker

▪ Rural Housing Service — Acting Administrator Rich Davis

▪ Rural Utilities Service — Acting Administrator Chris McLean


▪ Departmental Management — Acting Assistant Secretary Malcolm Shorter

▪ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights — Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Winona Scott

▪ Office of Congressional Relations — Acting deputy assistant secretaries Abby Fretz and Doug Crandall

▪ Office of the General Counsel — Acting Principal Deputy General Counsel Inga Burnbary-Langston

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