It’s been a long and busy year for Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, but here at the end he is still short-staffed at USDA and could use some help from Santa to get the job done.
“I had no idea we would be delayed like this and it’s unfortunate,” said Sec. Perdue in a recent interview with Iowa Agribusiness Network‘s Ben Nuelle. “We have seven or eight different mission areas that need leadership, we’ve got less than half of those filled.”
One of the delays continues to be Bill Northey as USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation, who was nominated over three months ago but put on hold by Sen. Ted Cruz over ethanol politics. “The senate has its rules where one member can hold a nominee in this way, it has nothing to do with Bill Northey’s qualifications,” said Perdue. “But there is a provision where the majority leader can bring his nomination to the floor…over the objection of Sen. Cruz.”
During an appearance at the National Press Club last week, Perdue was asked how refiners concerns over the Renewable Fuel Standard and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) could be resolved. “The president understands that we’ve got to do something about RIN prices, the good news is, there’s a win-win here,” said Perdue. “We’re working with Sen. Cruz, EPA and others to help resolve the RIN prices that some to believe to be very speculative.” Sec. Perdue RFS comments at National Press Club
Ben Nuelle’s interview with the Secretary was conducted earlier this month, but all of Perdue’s comments are still pertinent – Iowa Agribusiness Network interview with Sec. Perdue