More from Perdue and Northey on possible USDA position

As part the USDA reorganization announced last week, the missions of the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency will be combined and put under a dedicated Under Secretary.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the purpose is to give those agencies a common voice and streamline operations.

“Hopefully soon, a common database where our electronics can talk together, which is not very helpful right now,” Perdue says. “Where a producer wouldn’t have to fill out multiple applications for a common thing—that we can share that information.”

According to several media reports, Iowa ag secretary Bill Northey is Perdue’s choice for the Under Secretary position. Northey confirms his interest in the position and says he would be comfortable leading those agencies.

“I served on the Farm Service Agency board, a chance to be able to see some of that in practice as a farmer myself,” Northey says. “On the Natural Resources Conservation side, we’ve worked with them a lot at the Department of Ag as partners on water quality and all the conservation work.”

Northey says he also has some history with the crop insurance program as well, “both as a participant and I know a lot of the folks and some of the particulars as we tried to encourage them to expand some of their offerings in Iowa.”

Northey says he isn’t certain when a formal announcement on USDA positions will be made. Perdue says he has sent staffing recommendations to the White House and hopes to have them on board as soon as possible, but adds “it’s not a fast process”.

Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars, Iowa contributed to this story.

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