Tuesday the Senate Agriculture Committee conducted their hearing to consider the nominations of Steve Censky of Missouri to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Indiana’s Ted McKinney for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs within the USDA. McKinney, current director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, was introduced by committee member Senator Joe Donnelly.
“Ted and I have gotten to know each other really well over the past years, and I have enjoyed being partners advocating on behalf of Hoosier farmers with Ted,” Donnelly said. “Ted comes from a farm in Tipton, Indiana and has strong roots in agriculture. He is a hard worker, he is dedicated to agriculture, he is going to do a terrific job in this position, and is going to work really, really hard to help American farmers all over the world. So, to the family thank you for the sacrifice in lending Ted to us during this time, and to Ted, thanks for you service. We have a lot of work for you to do my friend.”
Ag committee chairman Pat Roberts then asked McKinney how he, as the top trade voice at USDA, will work with other agencies and individuals to make sure agriculture is strongly represented in trade talks.
“The first think I’d say is get it right at home, so I’m going to work with hopefully approved Deputy Secretary Censky and Secretary Perdue to make sure we have our house in order. But, about teamwork, all my life I have practiced teamwork. In the private sector I’ve managed sideways far, far more than I have up or down to subordinates or superiors, and I think the same skill sets will apply as we work with the many partners. You mentioned USTR, State, Commerce, and others, and I think that’s what we have to do. I think there is something that comes with the position you’ve created, a standalone undersecretary for trade, and I hope that gets us something. I hope it gets us a lot, that they’ll look first to us. but I think we have to earn that trust and that’s what I intend to do with a passion.”
By rule, the Senate Ag Committee vote on the nominations will occur in a separate business meeting of the Committee.