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Ag Committee Sends USDA Nominees Ibach, Northey to Full Senate
Indiana Ag Connection - 10/20/2017

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Thursday announced the committee voted to favorably report nominees Gregory Ibach of Nebraska to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; and William Northey of Iowa to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Both Ibach and Northey may now be considered by the full U.S. Senate for confirmation.

"The Senate Agriculture Committee continues to advance USDA nominees as swiftly as possible, and we expect a quick confirmation in the full Senate," said Roberts and Stabenow. "Greg Ibach and Bill Northey are qualified and respected public servants who know agriculture firsthand, and they will serve rural America well at USDA."

Prior to the vote, a joint letter from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee was entered into the record.

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the nominees on Oct. 5. Both nominees have the support of more than 60 farm and conservation organizations.

The move comes just days after mainstream media began questioning The Trump White House;s lagging far behind the prior administration in putting nominations forward and getting them confirmed, including at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Several people within agriculture voiced concerns that notable absences could hamstring the agency's policy-making efforts dramatically, especially as Farm Bill discussions continue.

Almost from the start, the USDA has been hobbled. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was the final Cabinet member named, and his confirmation took three months to complete. Since Perdue was sworn in, though, the USDA has begun making dramatic organizational changes, while also dealing with some high-profile absences among its top leadership--obstacles that could complicate the agency's need to pass a new farm bill, advocate for a substantial slice of the shifting federal budget, and maintain its work in rural development, conservation, nutrition, and other essential programs that shape what we eat and how.

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