Legislative Activity

Cabinet Confirmation Hearings

This week, the Senate will be busy holding confirmation hearings for at least seven of President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. The president-elect’s choice for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, has yet to be named. As history has shown, it is not unusual for the agriculture secretary to be one of the final cabinet posts to be named by newly elected U.S. presidents; however, President-Elect Trump has taken longer to choose the person responsible for leading the USDA than in recent past election cycles. In fact, the past three secretaries of agriculture named by newly elected presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all occurred during the month of December, following the election.

As we are more than a week into 2017, and less than two weeks away from Inauguration Day, the agriculture community is anxious to learn who will be appointed to USDA’s top spot. Some are voicing strong opinions that President-Elect Trump’s delay could be representative of where agriculture resides as a priority for him. Others are choosing to remain optimistic, speculating that President-Elect Trump could be taking a very deliberative approach to ensure that rural America, which is widely-argued to have been responsible for catapulting President-Elect Trump to victory in November, is pleased with, and confident in, his choice.

Although President-Elect Trump has not given many specific details concerning his views toward current food or farm policies, the incoming agriculture secretary’s background, past experiences, and advocacy work may prove to exemplify the types of changes to food and farm policies we can expect to see under a Trump administration.