Ranking Member Stabenow Statement on Recent USDA Nomination Announcements

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, today issued the following statement regarding recent announcements of nominees to fill key Senate-confirmed leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). President Donald Trump has formally nominated Steve Censky for USDA Deputy Secretary and has announced his intent to nominate Ted McKinney for USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and Sam Clovis for USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

“While Steve Censky and Ted McKinney stand out as experienced candidates to serve in USDA leadership roles, I have strong concerns that Sam Clovis is not qualified to be USDA Under Secretary of Research, Education, and Economics, which dually serves as the Department’s Chief Scientist. This nominee seems to lack the necessary agricultural science and research qualifications that are required by the Farm Bill. I also have many questions about his troubling views on climate change and providing public investment in crop insurance and education.

“Over the past six months, there have been too many vacant leadership positions at the USDA. Our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities deserve strong and experienced leaders at the Department to make sure their voices are heard in this administration. I intend to take a close look at each nominee to ensure they are up for the task."