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Censky nominated as USDA deputy secretaryCensky nominated as USDA deputy secretary

Current CEO of American Soybean Assn. tapped to serve as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s right hand man.

Jacqui Fatka

July 14, 2017

3 Min Read
Censky nominated as USDA deputy secretary
American Soybean Association

Thursday President Donald Trump officially nominated Stephen Censky to be deputy secretary of agriculture, months after reports indicating he was to be named to the No. 2 spot at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said USDA has only begun its work in delivering results for the people of American agriculture and noted the experience and leadership of Censky will only enhance those efforts.

“He will bring enthusiasm and a dedication to this country which will be great assets to USDA’s customers,” Perdue said in a statement. 

Censky currently serves as the chief executive officer of the American Soybean Assn. (ASA).

“Steve has guided our organization for 21 years and in that time he has proven himself as an effective, dedicated and visionary voice on behalf of soybean farmers nationwide. Nobody in agriculture is better equipped to assist Secretary Perdue in meeting the needs of farmers with practical solutions than Steve. He is a perfect fit for this role and we give him our strongest endorsement,” said Ron Moore, ASA president from Roseville, Ill.

The transition would mark a return to both Washington and USDA for Censky. Prior to his service at ASA, he served at USDA in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. Censky came to Washington originally as a legislative aide to then-Senator Jim Abdnor of South Dakota.

Censky grew up on a soybean, corn, and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minn., and holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from South Dakota State University, as well as a Master’s Diploma in Agriculture Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The National Assn. of Wheat Growers (NAWG) also extended congratulations to Censky on his nomination. Chandler Goule, NAWG CEO, said, “His experience as a farmer and vast understanding of agriculture sector make him an ideal candidate for this role.”
“I’ve worked with Steve for years and over the last year as a fellow commodity organization CEO. I have seen firsthand his dedication to American agriculture,” stated Goule. “He is an aggressive advocate for farmers and truly understands how important international trade is to the ag economy, and how critical a strong crop insurance program is for farmers to farm another year when they experience a weather or economic storm.”

National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen added the pick “is an outstanding step forward for agriculture and the countless related markets, like biodiesel, that play a key role in supporting our economy. Steve implicitly understands the immeasurable benefits that agriculture and related products deliver, as well as the ongoing challenges we face. We are thrilled to see Steve take on this new role with the administration, and we know he will continue to advance America’s successful efforts in renewable energy and sustainability.”

The Senate Agriculture Committee has not announced when it will hold a hearing on Censky’s nomination. Perdue said he was hopeful that the Senate will take it up in short order, however ahead of the August recess may prove difficult.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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