Censky to leave USDA post to return to ASA

USDA deputy secretary plans to return to helm of American Soybean Assn. on Nov. 9.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

September 18, 2020

3 Min Read
Censky flag USDA.jpg
USDA photo by Tom Witham

After serving as the U.S. deputy secretary of agriculture since October 2017, Stephen Censky, who led the American Soybean Assn. (ASA) for 21 years, is returning to the helm of the grower group. Censky will leave the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assume the role of chief executive officer at ASA.

Censky will come on board Nov. 9 to resume his ASA post following the June departure of Ryan Findlay, who is credited with helping the organization restructure internally and establish an independent government affairs office in Washington, D.C.

Of Censky’s time at USDA, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said: “There is no doubt that I personally, as well as the whole USDA family, will miss Steve’s experience, preparedness and steady leadership. During his tenure as deputy secretary, we accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time, even in the face of serious challenges in American agriculture. Steve’s roots are in agriculture, and he is one of the best and most professional public servants America has.”

Perdue added that Censky’s “wise counsel helped us make USDA the most efficient, effective, customer-focused department in the entire federal government, and I am forever grateful for his invaluable guidance and input.”

Censky said it has been a true honor to serve his country on behalf of American agriculture. “These past few years have seen tremendous developments, and I am humbled to have served a role in implementing a farm bill, launching the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, supporting America’s farmers against trade retaliation and now assisting farmers and ranchers and feeding families affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Censky thanked Perdue for trusting in him and giving him the opportunity to conduct the important work that affects the daily lives of so many Americans. “It has been tremendously rewarding to also work as chief operating officer of one of the largest departments in the federal government to assist Secretary Perdue and our team at USDA in greatly improving customer service, operational effectiveness and efficiency,” he said.

Censky was sworn in on Oct. 11, 2017, after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

Censky began his career working as a legislative assistant for Sen. Jim Abdnor (R., S.D.). Later, he served at USDA in both the Reagan Administration and the George H.W. Bush Administration, eventually serving as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, where he was involved in running the nation’s export programs.

While with ASA, Censky helped establish soybeans as the leader in U.S. agricultural exports. In addition to foreign market expansion during his tenure, use of soy in biodiesel and bio-based products grew into significant markets, soybeans became a program crop under the farm bill and ASA’s long-term foreign development arm, the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, helped build soy demand in emerging markets.

Censky received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from South Dakota State University and his postgraduate diploma in agriculture science from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He grew up on a soybean, corn and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minn. He and his wife Carmen have two daughters.

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.

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Feedstuffs is the news source for animal agriculture

You May Also Like