11.28.18

Chairman Roberts Holds Hearing on Three USDA Nominations

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing to consider the USDA nominations of Mindy Brashears, Naomi Earp, and Scott Hutchins.

Mindy Brashears, of Texas, is the nominee to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Naomi C. Earp, of Maryland, is the nominee to be an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights. Scott Hutchins, of Indiana, is the nominee to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.

“Each of these positions require unique qualifications and experience to best serve their individual mission areas,” said Roberts. “There is no shortage of experience on this panel of nominees, and I look forward to hearing more detail about how they would lead their respective agencies and handle these responsibilities.

“All of these positions require an unwavering dedication and commitment to serve constituents – our farmers, ranchers, consumers, businesses, and employees that are impacted on a daily basis by the decisions made at the Department of Agriculture.”

Click here to watch Chairman Roberts’ opening statement. Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

I call this hearing of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee to order.

I thank my colleagues for joining me in reviewing the nominations of the individuals before us today—Dr. Mindy Brashears of Texas for the position of Under Secretary for Food Safety; Mrs. Naomi Earp of Virginia for the position of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights; and Dr. Scott Hutchins of Indiana for the position of Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

Secretary Perdue, his team across the Department’s 29 agencies and offices, and nearly 100,000 employees have been working hard on behalf of the American farmers, ranchers, consumers, and businesses that rely on their services.

However, these very important missions will be even better served with the necessary key leadership in place.

The position of Under Secretary for Food Safety, to which Dr. Brashears has been nominated, oversees the Food Safety Inspection Service, or FSIS. 

This Under Secretary is tasked with ensuring the safety and the wholesomeness of meat, poultry, catfish and egg products that households around the world prepare for their families.

If confirmed to this position, Dr. Brashears will lead the federal inspection responsibilities at more than 6,000 meat and poultry processing plants in the U.S. and its territories.

The position of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights to which Mrs. Earp has been nominated, leads the Department of Agriculture’s civil rights programs, including matters related to program delivery, compliance, and equal employment opportunity.

If confirmed to this position, Mrs. Earp will be responsible for the leadership, coordination, and direction of the numerous divisions and offices at USDA that ensure the fair and equitable treatment of both customers and employees.  

And finally, the position of the Under Secretary of Research, Education, and Economics, to which Dr. Scott Hutchins has been nominated, leads the critical agricultural research mission of the Department.

This position serves as the “Chief Scientist” of USDA and is responsible for the coordination of research, education, and extension activities, including the Agricultural Research Service, or ARS, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, or NIFA. 

Each of these positions require unique qualifications and experience to best serve their individual mission areas.

There is no shortage of experience on this panel of nominees, and I look forward to hearing more detail about how they would lead their respective agencies and handle these responsibilities.

All of these positions require an unwavering dedication and commitment to serve constituents – our farmers, ranchers, consumers, businesses, and employees that are impacted on a daily basis by the decisions made at the Department of Agriculture.

I’m pleased the Committee is considering your nominations today and it is my hope that we approve your nominations as quickly as possible so we can send them to the full Senate for consideration.

I look forward to your testimony, and I now turn to my distinguished colleague, Senator Stabenow, for her opening remarks.    

-30-

Press Contact

Meghan Cline