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Northey confirmed by Senate

U.S. Senate confirms Iowa Sec. of Ag as as the undersecretary for farm production and conservation

February 27, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

DES MOINES, Iowa -- On Tuesday, the long wait for Iowa Secretary Bill Northey ended. He has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the undersecretary for farm production and conservation. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley stated on a conference call with reporters that this step came separately from their negotiations with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about the renewable fuel standard.

The senators announced there was no deal on the RFS with the White House today.

The timing for Northey's resignation and swearing-in is still being finalized and will be announced at a later date, according to a statement released by Secretary Northey's office.

"It is a tremendous honor for me to be confirmed to serve as an undersecretary of agriculture. I want to thank President Trump for nominating me and Secretary Perdue for his support and encouragement throughout the confirmation process. I also want to thank Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for their strong support and their tireless work on behalf of my nomination. I greatly appreciate Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, and the entire Senate Ag Committee for their bipartisan support of my nomination. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in this new role," Secretary Northey stated.

He added, "While this process has taken longer than expected, I remain as excited as ever to work with Secretary Perdue and the staff at USDA to support our nation's farmers and ranchers.

"I want to express my deep appreciation to the people of Iowa for affording me the opportunity to serve in this role for the past 11 years. Working with and learning from the men and women who make Iowa agriculture the dynamic and productive industry that feeds the world has been honor of a lifetime," Northey stated Tuesday.

Over three months after being appointed to the USDA post by Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, an easy confirmation and unanimous Senate committee vote, Secretary Northey's appointment was being held up by Texas (R) Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz is up for reelection this year. The Texas senator is pushing for changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard, regarding requirements for oil companies mandated to blend ethanol into gasoline.

Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, made the motion to vote on Secretary Northey's appointment Tuesday.

Secretary Northey, while overseeing over 20,000 employees, will be in charge of Conservation, Crop Insurance, and Farm Programs.

"It's a position that oversees 20,000-plus folks who work in programs that a lot of farmers care about," Northey told Successful Farming, during an interview recently at the Iowa Land Investment Expo.

Though his position has been described as third in command, under Secretary Sonny Perdue and Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky of St. Louis, Northey had a more polite way of labeling his power.

"I will be amongst equals in the USDA and everybody has a role, including the staff who are in the agency permanently. They are very important people out there."



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