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Dairy Facts 2016

White House Aims to Fill Key USDA Posts for Dairy

Sep 06, 2017

The Trump Administration last week announced nominations for three positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and two of these positions will oversee programs that affect the dairy industry. Gregory Ibach was nominated as undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Bill Northey was nominated as undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. The third nominee, Stephen Vaden, was tapped to serve as USDA’s general counsel.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Gregory Ibach is the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, currently overseeing Nebraska’s plant and animal heath regulatory functions. If confirmed, Ibach would oversee USDA’s marketing programs, including the Agricultural Marketing Service and its dairy program, which administers the Federal Milk Marketing Orders, develops dairy grading standards, issues dairy export certificates and houses dairy promotion programs. AMS also administers the National Organic Program and is the department responsible for the creation and implementation of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.

Ibach is a former president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). He is also an inductee into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement.

Farm Production and Conservation

Bill Northey is currently serving his third term as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. If confirmed for the undersecretary position, he would be responsible for USDA’s Farm Service Agency, which includes the dairy Margin Protection Program. He would also oversee the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency.

Northey also is a past president of NASDA and the National Corn Growers Association. In addition, he has served on the Iowa USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee.

General Counsel

Stephen Vaden currently is acting general counsel for USDA. As general counsel, he would provide legal services and oversight to agency policy and guidance. Vaden previously practiced law at Jones Day and Patton Boggs.

Confirmation Timeline

Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who returned from recess on Monday, are now tasked with confirming the three nominees. Three other nominees for USDA leadership positions also await Senate confirmation: Steve Censky as deputy secretary, Ted McKinney as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs and Sam Clovis as undersecretary for research, education and economics.

For more information, contact Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs, at

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