More than agriculture at USDA, but not in its name

It took little more than a shake of the head and a few reproachful words for House Agriculture chairman Kika de la Garza to sink a Clinton-era proposal to change the USDA's name to the Department of Food and Agriculture. "It would better reflect what USDA actually does and where the dollars are spent," said Dan Glickman, the agriculture secretary who brought the idea to Capitol Hill as part of a reorganization of the department and its myriad duties.

Merrigan, former No. 2 at USDA, ‘would welcome the opportunity’ to lead agency

Kathleen Merrigan, the deputy secretary of the USDA during the Obama era, said on Tuesday she “would welcome the opportunity to be considered” for agriculture secretary in the Biden administration. “Honestly, it is the job of a lifetime and I have been in training for it my …

Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent, says Fudge, potential USDA nominee

On the same day President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress to pass additional coronavirus relief, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge said on Monday “it is long past time to increase SNAP benefits by 15 percent” and devote additional funds to other public nutrition programs. Fudge, a leading …

Perdue’s spotty past presents ongoing ethics concerns, advocacy group says

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue brings with him a legacy of ethics violations, climate denialism, and deregulation, all of which could threaten the future of the Department of Agriculture, argues a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report, out today, gathers information from Perdue’s past political career and his current administrative and policy choices to analyze whether and how the Secretary’s tenure could have a long-lasting negative affect on agricultural research and policy.

Perdue ‘can’t do it alone,’ say farm groups, asking Trump for USDA appointments

U.S. farmers and ranchers, among President Trump's strongest supporters, are “at a disadvantage” because Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is running the USDA by himself, said 17 powerhouse farm groups in a letter to the president. It was one of the first expressions of discontent with the administration from the politically conservative farm sector.

Field of candidates for USDA posts becoming clearer

The White House has settled on Steve Censky, a top foreign trade official at the USDA before becoming a farm group executive, for the No. 2 job at the department, according to published reports.

Perdue races into action after overwhelming Senate confirmation

Newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's first day on the job will be a busy one, following the 87-11 confirmation vote in the Senate that ended more than three months of waiting. Perdue scheduled a start-of-the-workday speech to USDA employees this morning and is to join President Trump for an agricultural roundtable discussion at the White House in the afternoon.

A sea of issues await Perdue when he walks in the door at USDA

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is hours away from becoming U.S. agriculture secretary, with the Senate expected to confirm the nomination by a solid majority this evening. Perdue will enter the job on a tide of goodwill and risks inundation by a flood of issues from budget cuts and agricultural trade to expanded subsidies for cotton and dairy producers.

Perdue ‘faces a real set of challenges’ due to late start, says Vilsack

Since January, Sonny Perdue's job has been simple yet slow to come into reach: Win Senate confirmation as agriculture secretary. Perdue's predecessor at USDA, Tom Vilsack, said during a public radio interview, "Gov. Perdue faces a real set of challenges because his confirmation has been delayed as long as it has."