Today by voice vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey to the position of USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued this statement regarding Northey’s confirmation:
“I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA. We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation. Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers. In addition, his leadership will be key in the newly-constituted mission area, where the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency will be providing an even better customer experience. I am excited to finally have Bill on board.”
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see Bill Northey finally confirmed by the Senate. This is long overdue. Bill is eminently qualified to help our nation’s farmers, but unfortunately his nomination fell victim to political games. There is no better champion for farmers than Bill Northey. He is the right man for the job and will be an enormous asset to USDA Secretary Perdue.”
“We would also like to express our gratitude to Senators Grassley, Ernst, Stabenow, Klobuchar and other champions in Congress for their persistence to ensure the hold on Bill’s nomination was lifted.
“In 30 years advocating for ethanol, I have met and worked with hundreds of state AG secretaries. I can tell you without question or hyperbole that Bill has been the hardest working, most knowledgeable, and most committed to farmers of anyone I have ever known. He will now bring that passion and expertise to farmers all across the country. Congratulations to Bill and we look forward to working with him on behalf of rural America.”
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:
“Today’s vote was long overdue, but very welcome. Under Secretary Northey has been an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa and he will undoubtedly be an excellent leader at USDA. The Trump Administration needs more voices that echo, not contradict, Trump’s own support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today’s confirmation marks a victory for farmers and biofuels supporters across the country.
“For four months, Senator Ted Cruz has used his hold on the confirmation vote as a political football in an attempt to undermine the RFS. While it took too long, Senator Cruz finally realized that Northey had no interest in being confirmed on the back of dismantling the RFS. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst head to the White House today determined to push back against the false narratives Cruz continues to push in his efforts to gut the RFS and preserve the petroleum monopoly on our fuel supplies.”
Northey was nominated to fill the position in September 2017. His nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Agriculture Committee. After a 4-month hold by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Iowa’s agriculture secretary has finally been confirmed to fill the USDA position. Cruz released his hold earlier today.