Torres Small confirmed as Deputy Ag Secretary

Xochitl Torres Small has been confirmed as the next deputy ag secretary for USDA.

The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination by a vote of 84-8 on Tuesday, and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley tells Brownfield, “I’m just looking at her overall qualifications and I think they meet the needs of the organization.”

Torres Small, a Democrat from New Mexico, is the current Under Secretary for Rural Development.

During her confirmation hearing, Torres Small said the deputy ag secretary serves as a critical ambassador for agriculture.

“It means being a representative in front of Congress,” she said, “in front of our sister agencies to make sure they understand farmers and ranchers’ needs, and in front of the people that we serve.”

She’s expected to be sworn into office next week.

Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says Torres Small has a proven track record as a strong leader with a deep knowledge of farm, food, and rural policy.

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman says Torres Small is more than prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with being the top deputy at USDA.

House Ag Committee Ranking Member David Scott says he looks forward to working with Torres Small as lawmakers craft the 2023 Farm Bill.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says Torres Small is the granddaughter of migrant farm workers and has experienced firsthand the challenges that many producers and rural communities face.

American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky, who served in the position from 2017-2020, says Torres Small’s comprehensive background in D.C. will bring great value to USDA.

Ethan Lane, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, thanked the Senate for confirming such a qualified nominee who will support the nation’s beef farmers and ranchers.

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