Biden nominates Torres Small for No. 2 USDA post
President Biden chose Xochitl Torres Small, the granddaughter of migrant farmworkers, as his nominee for Agriculture deputy secretary, the second-ranking post at the USDA, announced the White House on Wednesday. Torres Small has served as USDA undersecretary for rural development since October 2021.
Senate confirms U.S. ag negotiator and USDA food safety chief
In some of its final actions of the year, the Senate approved by voice vote on Thursday the nominations of Doug McKalip as chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. trade representative’s office and Jose Esteban as Agriculture undersecretary for food safety.
Senate confirms Taylor as USDA trade chief
On a voice vote on Wednesday, senators approved the nomination of Alexis Taylor, Oregon state agriculture director for the past six years, as USDA undersecretary for trade. Taylor has said her priorities would be opening foreign markets to U.S. farm exports and the diligent enforcement of trade agreements.
Senate confirms Logan to FCA, USDA nominees wait
Despite having the support of the Senate Agriculture Committee, two Biden nominees to the Agriculture Department must wait until mid-November, at the earliest, for a Senate vote.
USDA trade nominee would pair market opening with enforcement
Asia is brimming with opportunities to win lifelong consumers of U.S. food and ag exports, said President Biden’s nominee for USDA undersecretary for trade on Thursday. At a Senate nomination hearing, Alexis Taylor said her priorities would be opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and the diligent enforcement of the rules governing trade agreements.
Half of USDA’s undersecretary posts are yet to be filled
Nearly a year after Tom Vilsack became agriculture secretary, his corps of sub-cabinet executives, the eight undersecretaries who oversee each wing of the USDA's activities, is just half filled. The White House has yet to announce candidates for two of the posts, and two other nominations await Senate action.
Nominee would build ‘civil rights culture’ at USDA
Declaring "there is no place at USDA for discrimination," University of Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger told senators on Wednesday that she would build "a civil rights culture" at the USDA if confirmed as assistant secretary for civil rights. At the same confirmation hearing, Chavonda Jacobs-Young said she would be an advocate for advanced technology, such as gene editing, if confirmed as undersecretary for research.
More USDA nominees in the pipeline, says Vilsack
The White House is currently vetting possible nominees for key sub-cabinet positions at the USDA, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a teleconference on Thursday. "I suspect we will be seeing nominees soon on some of those vacancies."
Wildfires and workplace are top priorities for Biden nominee to oversee U.S. forests
President Biden's nominee to oversee the 193 million-acre national forest system said on Thursday that he would focus on wildfire management and prevention and on eradicating racial and sexual discrimination at the Forest Service. "If confirmed, I will be the person responsible for providing leadership to ensure that everyone is treated fairly," said Homer Wilkes, a 41-year USDA employee.
Climate programs will be voluntary, incentive-based, says USDA nominee
The USDA's climate mitigation initiatives will be built on a simple rule: "If they don't work for producers and landowners, they're not going to work for the climate," said Robert Bonnie, the Biden nominee to run the USDA's crop subsidy and land stewardship programs, on Thursday. "Making sure we get that right is going to be a high priority."
USDA nominees Bonnie and Torres Small are cleared for Senate vote
Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said the Senate Agriculture Committee is making progress on stocking the USDA with President Biden's choices for sub-cabinet posts. The committee advanced two nominations to the floor on Tuesday, creating the possibility of confirmation votes before the Senate adjourns for its summer recess.
USDA nominee will seek fair livestock marketing rules
Biden nominee Jennifer Moffitt said she would strengthen USDA rules to give farmers more muscle in dealing with meat processors if she is confirmed as agriculture undersecretary for marketing. "Should I be confirmed, I do commit to supporting trade, to supporting fair marketplace practices," she told senators on Thursday.
RFS ‘is definitely a priority for this administration,’ says EPA nominee
The Biden administration plans a thorough review of recent EPA decisions involving the federal mandate to mix corn ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline, said Michael Regan, the White House nominee to run the agency, at his Wednesday confirmation hearing. "The RFS is definitely a priority for this administration."
Vilsack: Get stuff done quickly
President Biden's nominee for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said he would arrive at the USDA with a "serious focus on getting stuff done quickly," considering the many challenges facing the department, from the pandemic to racial equity and rural development.
Confirmation hearing Feb. 2 for Vilsack
The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Feb. 2 for Tom Vilsack, President Biden's nominee for agriculture secretary, said the panel's Democratic and Republican leaders on Wednesday.
Shea is acting chief of USDA; Biden freezes regulations
Kevin Shea, a longtime USDA official, became acting agriculture secretary with the arrival of the Biden administration on Wednesday, said a USDA spokesman amid the appointment of several new officials. The White House also announced a freeze on new federal regulations.
Back to square one for USDA nominees
Three nominations for senior USDA posts overseeing research, food safety, and civil rights died with the 115th Congress on Wednesday, and the path forward for those nominations in the two-year session that opened on Thursday is unclear.
Wary Democrats slow path for USDA civil rights nominee
The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared three USDA nominees for a floor vote on Wednesday, but significant Democratic opposition could prevent a confirmation vote this year on Naomi Earp, President Trump’s pick to be the agency’s assistant secretary for civil rights.