U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue may soon get a little help in the department. Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association, has been nominated by President Donald Trump as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Our work has only just begun in delivering results for the people of American agriculture, and the experience and leadership skills of Stephen Censky will only enhance our efforts,” Perdue said. “He will bring enthusiasm and a dedication to this country which will be great assets to USDA’s customers. I am extremely pleased with the nomination for this key position and am hopeful that the Senate will take it up in short order.”
Following the nomination, the American Soybean Association offered its strong support. Censky has led the association as CEO since 1996.
“Steve has guided our organization for 21 years and in that time he has proven himself as an effective, dedicated and visionary voice on behalf of soybean farmers nationwide. Nobody in agriculture is better equipped to assist Secretary Perdue in meeting the needs of farmers with practical solutions than Steve. He is a perfect fit for this role and we give him our strongest endorsement,” said Ron Moore, ASA president from Roseville, Ill.
The transition would mark a return to both Washington and USDA for Censky. Prior to his service at ASA, he served at USDA in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. Censky came to Washington originally as a legislative aide to then-Senator Jim Abdnor of South Dakota.
“ASA is better and stronger because of the work of Steve Censky,” said Richard Wilkins, ASA chairman from Greenwood, Del. “He has helped us grow through our advocacy for farmers in Washington, and our service to them in their communities. We will be sad to lose his leadership, but glad to know that it will benefit millions of Americans who rely on the work of the department every day.”
“One of the best things I did as ASA president was to hire Steve as our CEO,” said John Long, a farmer from Newberry, S.C., and ASA’s president when Censky was selected as CEO in 1996. “When Steve came to ASA, our industry was beginning a period of rapid growth. Since then, our acreage has grown by more than 20 million acres, we have established soybeans as the leader in American agricultural exports, and foreign markets abroad have been greatly expanded through trade agreements and marketing, especially in China. The use of soy in biodiesel and biobased products has grown from virtually zero to become significant markets, and soybeans have become a program crop under the Farm Bill. We’ve seen the widespread adoption and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology, and built soy demand in markets around the globe. These are the good works and the legacy that Steve leaves at ASA. They are his successes and ours.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee has not announced when it will hold a hearing on Censky’s nomination.