Indiana farmer Kip Tom was spotted at Trump Tower on Thursday as the search for an ag secretary continues. Tom is a 7th generation Indiana farmer from Kosciusko County who lost a Republican primary bid to represent the 3rd Congressional District. Tom was also a member of the Trump Ag Advisory team and, in recent days, has been outspoken in his call for a strong advocate for agriculture to head USDA. “We need a leader at USDA that gets this right,” said Tom on his Facebook page.
This week members of the Trump team said the President-elect is searching for the “most qualified” person to run the department. Former California Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado was also considered to be the leader of the pack earlier this week. However, some lobbyists have pointed out that Maldonado supported the Humane Society of the United States in the fight over the housing for egg-laying chickens in California. Meanwhile, two more have joined the Trump USDA landing team: Russell Laird, vice president for federal relations at the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp., and Lance Kotschwar, chief ethics & compliance officer and vice president for government and industry affairs at the Gavilon Group. Former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue is still the front runner according to media speculation.