It’s been months in the making, but Bill Northey, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, has been confirmed to the USDA post of Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service.
Northey was nominated in September by President Donald Trump, however, his confirmation had long been held up by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, apparently as leverage in a dispute over federal ethanol requirements that Cruz says are hurting oil refineries. The vote commenced Tuesday once Cruz lifted his objection. Northey is now the third-highest ranking member of the USDA and will oversee the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service.
In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA. We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation. Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers. In addition, his leadership will be key in the newly-constituted mission area, where the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency will be providing an even better customer experience. I am excited to finally have Bill on board.”