President Donald J. Trump has nominated Nebraska’s director of agriculture and Iowa’s secretary of agriculture for key under secretary positions at USDA.
Trump announced Nebraska’s Gregory Ibach as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP), Iowa’s Bill Northey as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), and Stephen Vaden as USDA’s General Counsel.
The Under Secretary for MRP oversees three critical USDA agencies: the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS); and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). The Under Secretary for FPAC oversees three critical USDA agencies: the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA).
“I look forward to the confirmations of Greg Ibach, Bill Northey, and Stephen Vaden, and urge the Senate to take up their nominations as quickly as possible,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “This is especially important given the challenges USDA will face in helping Texans and Louisianans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.”
Ibach, a lifelong Nebraska farmer and cow/calf producer, became director in 2005 after more than six years as assistant director. He also has worked for Farm Credit Services. Greg holds a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with majors in animal science and agricultural economics.
“Greg Ibach will bring the experience and vision necessary to serve as a first rate Under Secretary for MRP at USDA,” Perdue said. “His exemplary tenure as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture places him squarely in tune with the needs of American agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. His proven track record of leadership will make him a great asset to USDA’s customers, the hard working, taxpaying people of U.S. agriculture.”
Northey, Perdue said, “will continue his honorable record of public service in leading FPAC. Having served the people of Iowa for the last 10 years as their Secretary of Agriculture, and as a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, Bill has a unique understanding of issues facing farmers across the nation. He will be an invaluable member of the team.”
Iowans elected Northey to be Secretary of Agriculture in November 2006 and re-elected him in 2010 and 2014. Northey ran on a platform of expanding opportunities in renewable energy, promoting science and technology to better conserve our air, soil and water, and telling the story of Iowa agriculture. He is past-president and past-chairman of the National Corn Growers Association.
Ibach and Northey have extensive experience with trade, having led trade missions throughout the world.
“Stephen Vaden has a keen legal mind, as we have already experienced through his work since he joined USDA as part of the beachhead team on day one,” Perdue said. “He has a firm grasp of the legal issues facing American agriculture, and very importantly, understands the breadth and complexity of the regulatory burdens placed on our producers. Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers will be well served by his counsel.”
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said she recommended Ibach for the position.
“I have known and worked with Greg for many years. He is an agriculture expert who has extensive knowledge of the industry and its numerous contributions to Nebraska, our country, and the world. … Once he’s confirmed, I look forward to working with Greg to ensure Nebraska’s producers have the tools necessary to continue feeding the world.”
Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau, said Ibach has “a tremendous track record of serving Nebraska agriculture. His years of service in leading the Nebraska Department of Agriculture make him an outstanding choice for the position of USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.”
Northey is a fourth-generation Iowa farmer who grows corn and soybeans on his farm near Spirit Lake. He started farming with his grandfather, Sid Northey, after graduating from Iowa State University in 1981 with a degree in Agricultural Business. He also has a master’s degree in Business Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University.
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