Confirmation hearings for Trump administration cabinet members have been moving slowly, so it may be toward the end of February before Sonny Perdue is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, but he has been meeting with lawmakers in the meantime.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) “had a good conversation” with the former governor of Georgia last week where they discussed “regional differences in agriculture” and the importance of sound policies. “I am confident that Governor Perdue’s experience and unique perspective will prepare him well to take on the critical role of leading the USDA,” said Fischer.
You might be wondering just who’s minding the USDA during this transition time. According to a USDA memo, various career department staffers were named by outgoing Secretary Tom Vilsack to perform critical duties in the transition period. No acting secretary was named but Michael Young (Director of the Office of Budget and Program Analysis) has the title of acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture so is the de facto head of the department without cabinet status. Michael Scuse, who was named acting secretary for the week between Vilsack leaving and the inauguration, was just confirmed as Delaware Secretary of Agriculture last week.
Working on the transition is Dr. Sam Clovis, a political science professor and talk show host from Iowa who was named Senior White House Advisor for USDA.