Trump announces nominations for 3 USDA posts

By Erin Voegele | July 20, 2017

President Donald Trump has announced his nominations for three USDA posts, including deputy secretary and two undersecretary positions.

On July 13, Trump nominated Stephen Censky to serve as deputy secretary of agriculture. Censky has served as CEO of the American Soybean Association for the past 21 years. Before joining the ASA, he worked as a legislative assistant and held several posts at the USDA. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded Censky’s nomination, noting he “will bring enthusiasm and a dedication to this country which will be great assets to USDA’s customers.”

The National Biodiesel Board has also spoken out in support of Censky’s nomination. "President Trump’s pick of Steve Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture is an outstanding step forward for agriculture and the countless related markets, like biodiesel, that play a key role in supporting our economy,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the NBB. “Steve implicitly understands the immeasurable benefits that agriculture and related products deliver, as well as the ongoing challenges we face. We are thrilled to see Steve take on this new role with the administration, and we know he will continue to advance America’s successful efforts in renewable energy and sustainability.”

On July 19, Trump nominated Ted McKinney to serve as the under secretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs and Samuel H Clovis Jr. to serve as under secretary of agriculture for research, education and economics.

McKinney is director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. He has held the post since 2014. He worked for 19 years with Dow AgroSciences and 14 years with Elanco, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co.

“For our new under secretary position emphasizing international trade, I have always said that I want someone who wakes up every morning asking how we can sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets,” Perdue said. “Ted McKinney is that person. His longstanding background in agriculture, economic development, and global issues will make him an unapologetic advocate for U.S. products in the world marketplace.”

Clovis currently serves as the senior White House advisor to the USDA, and recently served as chief policy advisor and national co-chair of the Trump-Pence campaign. He was previously a professor of economics at Morningside College.

“Dr. Clovis was one of the first people through the door at USDA in January and has become a trusted advisor and steady hand as we continue to work for the people of agriculture,” Perdue said. “He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need. Dr. Clovis has served this nation proudly since he was a very young man, and I am happy he is continuing to serve.”