USDA executive Bill Northey to be sworn into office in Des Moines

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue plans to be at the Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner in Des Moines this evening to give the oath of office to Undersecretary Bill Northey, who will oversee the crop subsidy, crop insurance and land stewardship programs. He will be fifth Trump nominee to go to work at USDA out of 13 senior positions subject to presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. "I expect to see him on Wednesday," said Deputy Secretary Steve Censky during remarks at a school nutrition conference. Censky is in charge of day-to-day operation of the USDA.

Cruz urges Trump to overhaul biofuels mandate

At a bankrupt Philadelphia oil refinery, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called on pro-ethanol President Trump to protect blue-collar jobs by reforming the federal biofuels mandate.

Midwestern senators try to force vote on Northey for USDA post

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz thwarted an attempt by midwestern senators for an immediate vote on the nomination of Bill Northey of Iowa to be the No. 3 official at the USDA, in charge of farm support and land stewardship programs.

His eye on USDA office, Northey hears electoral clock ticking in Iowa

President Trump's nominee to run USDA's farm subsidy and land stewardship programs has waited for three months for a Senate vote, and acknowledges he faces a decision: To file for a fourth term as Iowa state agriculture secretary in this year's elections or wait for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to end his opposition to a vote on him. "I believe there is still hope right now," said nominee Bill Northey told Successful Farming.

Senate confirms Ibach as USDA undersecretary for marketing

On a voice vote, the Senate confirmed Gregory Ibach, the state agriculture director in Nebraska, as agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Ibach is the third member of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's executive team approved to take office; five slots remain empty.

Northey nomination for USDA may move in December

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won’t let go of his “hold” on USDA nominee Bill Northey, said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, so he and fellow Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst have appealed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to arrange a vote. “We want to do it as soon after Nov. 30 as we can,” Grassley told ag reporters.