Perdue swears in Northey in Des Moines | TSLN.com

Perdue swears in Northey in Des Moines

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue swore in Bill Northey as an Agriculture undersecretary on Tuesday evening at the annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner in Des Moines.

Northey, who has been the Iowa Agriculture secretary for more than 11 years, will have the technical title of Agriculture undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, a position that has existed since a reorganization of the Agriculture Department in the 1990s, but will function as the undersecretary for farm production and conservation, a position the Trump administration created as part of a reorganization following the implementation of a provision in the 2014 farm bill to create an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

As USDA explained in a news release, "The creation of the new mission area prompted the realignment of several agencies under a newly named Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), the position for which Northey is intended. FPAC encompasses the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency. USDA is working with Congress to formally change the name of the mission area to FPAC."

"After months of waiting, I'm thrilled to finally have Bill on board at USDA," Perdue said. "The patience he displayed throughout this process is an indicator of what kind of steady leader he will be on our team, and we are eager for him to get to work. Bill comes to us at an important time, as farm incomes are down and expected to fall further. Additionally, with work on the 2018 farm bill already underway, Bill will play an integral role in the advice we offer to Congress."

Northey, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, is a former president of the National Corn Growers Association and served in state and local roles for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement, "Bill Northey is a highly qualified and honorable man. His experience in soil conservation and renewable fuel development has helped grow and improve Iowa's agriculture sector. I have every confidence he'll use that expertise to do the same for the entire country."

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