It was a long time coming, but finally Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue administered the oath of office to Bill Northey to serve as the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS) at USDA. Northey has served as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, and is a former president of the National Corn Growers Association.
“After months of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally have Bill on board at USDA,” Secretary Perdue said. “The patience he displayed throughout this process is an indicator of what kind of steady leader he will be on our team, and we are eager for him to get to work. Bill comes to us at an important time, as farm incomes are down and expected to fall further. Additionally, with work on the 2018 Farm Bill already underway, Bill will play an integral role in the advice we offer to Congress.”
However, there is still a little work to do when it comes to that title, and it is a little confusing right now. Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), the position for which Northey is intended, is a new position created by the realignment of agencies to encompasses the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency. The realignment was necessitated by the creation of Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, as directed by the 2014 Farm Bill. So USDA is working with Congress to formally change the name of Northey’s mission area to FPAC. One step at a time.