Trump announces intent to nominate ag undersecretary
President Donald Trump on Saturday announced his intent to nominate James Hubbard to be Agriculture undersecretary for natural resources and environment.
Hubbard worked for the Colorado Forest Service for 35 years, serving as state forester from 1984 to 2004. During his 20 years as state forester, he served on multiple National Association of State Foresters (NASF) committees, most notably as chair of the legislative committee.
In 2004, Hubbard was named director of the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination at the Interior Department. In 2006, Hubbard was appointed deputy chief for state and private forestry at the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Agriculture Department.
As deputy chief he was responsible for fire and aviation management, the national fire plan, cooperative forestry programs, forest health protection, conservation education, urban and community forestry, and the Office of Tribal Relations.
In 2011, he was the recipient of the NASF Lifetime Achievement Award, and last year the group and its foundation named its internship the NASF Foundation James Hubbard Internship for Policy and Communications.
Hubbard received a bachelor of arts degree in forest management with honors from the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. He grew up in Neodesha, Kan.
The position requires Senate confirmation.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the nomination in a news release on Saturday.
“I am very excited by the selection of Jim Hubbard for this leadership role at USDA,” Perdue said.
“Congress passed and President Trump signed into law meaningful reforms and forest management tools that will help us better maintain our national forests,” he said. “Under Jim Hubbard’s leadership, we will put these tools to use, restore our forests to health, and get them back to work for the taxpayers.”
“Jim’s service with the Forest Service and the Department of Interior makes him exceptionally qualified for this post, and I am eager to have Jim join the team.”
If confirmed, Hubbard would supervise one agency, the U.S. Forest Service. In the past, the undersecretary for natural resources and environment has also supervised the Natural Resources Conservation Service, but the Trump administration has moved that agency under the undersecretary for farm production and conservation.
The U.S. Forest Service is currently under the leadership of Interim Chief Vicki Christensen, who took the position in March following the resignation of Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke amidst sexual misconduct allegations. The Forest Service website now features an anti-harassment statement on its first page.
Hubbard was featured in a short profile in a publication of the Council of Western State Foresters in 2016, and an interview with him about land management and firefighting was featured in Treesource in 2017.
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