The Agriculture Department and the Small Business Administration agreed on Monday to increase investments in small and underserved rural communities, said agency leaders. The USDA has a portfolio of billions of dollars in grants, loans and loan guarantees for rural housing, business development, and electricity, internet, and water and sewer projects.
Minutes after taking the oath of office on Monday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said the USDA should help farms of all sizes and types of production be successful. "That's why I'm so excited to have this job," said Torres Small, who received Senate confirmation last week for the No. 2 position.
By more than a 10-to-1 margin, senators confirmed Xochitl Torres Small, the granddaughter of migrant farmworkers who became a lawyer and a U.S. lawmaker, as Agriculture deputy secretary on Tuesday. She is the first Hispanic to hold the No. 2 post at USDA, overseeing day-to-day operations at one of the largest federal departments.
President Biden's nominee for the No. 2 post at the Agriculture Department, Xochitl Torres Small, easily cleared a procedural hurdle on a 79-8 Senate roll call on Monday, opening the door to a confirmation vote expected on Tuesday. The granddaughter of migrant farmworkers, Torres Small would be the first Hispanic deputy secretary of the USDA.
Pressed by the United States to act, agriculture ministers from most of the world's leading economies condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said in a statement that Moscow should allow Ukrainian grain to flow through the Black Sea unimpeded. Agriculture undersecretary Xochitl Torres Small said on Tuesday the expression of world support for Ukraine was a U.S. priority at the meeting of G20 agriculture ministers in India over the weekend.
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.